Birtley Town 0 Morpeth Town 3 Ebac Northern League Division Two
THE Highway Men returned to league action on Saturday at Birtley, looking to gain three points to keep their promotion push on track, writes David McMeekan.
Morpeth were soon into their stride, utilising the flanks to put the home side on the back foot.
Anderson put in a series of dangerous crosses and corners in the opening phase of the game. From these, Tumilty almost broke the deadlock on five minutes when his towering header was cleared off the line with the home keeper well beaten.
The visitors held the initiative for the whole of the first half but the packed home defence managed to hold them at bay until the final minute of the half.
Dines burst into the penalty area and was impeded in the process of shooting. The ever-reliable Chilton dispatched the penalty to give the Highway Men a deserved lead.
In the second half, Scott on the left and Anderson on the right continued to stretch the home defence.
Ten minutes in, Scott forced his way to the bye-line and cut the ball back to Chilton who finished from close range.
Twenty minutes from time Chilton completed the scoring and his hat-trick with the goal of the game. After a neat interchange of play on the right between Hiftle and Anderson, Hiftle bent a 25-yard cross between the home centre-backs and the advancing Chilton volleyed home from 12 yards out.
Birtley were now a spent force and long-range efforts from Dunn, Lunn and Anderson almost increased the Highway Men’s lead.
This was an impressive victory that maintains their promotion challenge.
Morpeth travel to Tow Law on Saturday then it’s on to Qatar for an exciting overseas trip where they will play a Qatari Select XI in Doha on Tuesday.
Morpeth Town: Mundy, Henderson (Hiftle), Wilson, Grant, Tumilty, Dunn, Dines (Darwent) Anderson, Scott, Anderson, Chilton (Lunn), Keenan. Rusty’s Taxis man-of-the-match: Michael Chilton.
• Manager Nicky Gray admitted that his side had given themselves an uphill task by going 3-0 down early on against Ashington in the Northumberland Senior Cup Quarter-finals a week last Wednesday, but hopes they will learn from it.
Morpeth did at least come back into the game, as they ended up losing 3-6.
Gray said: “We kept going right until the end but I was disappointed in the manner in which we conceded the goals and we have got to learn from it. If we do so, then we will be all right for the remainder of the season.”
The next match at Craik Park is against Northallerton on Saturday, December 8. Kick-off is 3pm.