Experience pays off

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Morpeth Town 1 Gillford Park 1 STL Northern League Division Two

AFTER last weekend’s emphatic victory over Whitehaven, Morpeth took the field against Cumbrian promotion rivals Gillford Park, writes David McMeekan.

The visitors from Carlisle were at full strength and included in their line-up was former Whitley Bay winger Dean Douglas and Spennymoor forward Gavin Barton.

Up against a side packed with Football League and STL Northern League First Division experience. Nick Gray’s young side more than held their own.

In a cagey first half, chances were at a premium as the Morpeth defence, expertly marshalled by Hiftle and Morris, contained their more experienced opponents.

The only clear-cut chance of the half fell to the Highway Men. Walmsley linked up with Keenan, who played the ball through to Anderson. His ball into the box was met by Lunn, who was denied by the crossbar.

Early in the second half, Nick Gray increased his attacking options with the introduction of Andrews out wide and Dormand partnering Anderson up-front.

This tactical ploy paid an immediate dividend as Anderson found some space in the Gillford Park box and drove in a hard, low shot that beat the despairing dive of Smith.

Undeterred by this setback, Gillford Park maintained their composure and from the restart worked the ball down the left wing to the skilful Douglas. He cut inside and despite the valiant effort of Walmsley to clear the ball, his cross-shot found the net to make it one each.

The match developed into a nip-and-tuck affair with both sides being limited to long-range efforts at goal, with neither goalkeeper troubled in the last half-hour.

This hard-earned point kept Morpeth in the top three and with only five games remaining, promotion is still very much in their hands.

Morpeth Town: Mundy, Hiftle, Walmsley, Grant, Morris, Hall, Keenan (Dormand), Henderson, Anderson, Lunn (Andrews), McAlpin (Howes).

P Gillan & Sons man-of-the-match: Callum Morris.

All U16s will be admitted free for the last two home league games of the season and at half-time they will be able to participate in a penalty shoot-out competition. The games are as follows.

Saturday, April 7: Morpeth Town v Northallerton Town.

Saturday, April 21: Morpeth Town v Thornaby.

Morpeth Town AFC is holding a Comedy Night on Saturday, July 14, with Mike Cash, ‘The Ultimate Comedy Entertainer’. Tables of 10 are available for £120 or it’s £15 a ticket. To book, please contact Jim Dawson on 078511 87143. Email jim021260@hotmail.co.uk