Morpeth back on track with derby win

Morpeth Town 4 Alnwick Town 1 Ebac Northern League Division Two

MORPETH’S end-of-season promotion charge got back on track last night with a convincing 4-1 derby victory over Alnwick Town.

The Highway Men’s push for the three automatic spots has taken a dent in recent weeks, with the Craik Park side losing their last two matches.

But victory over their Northumberland rivals stopped the rot, ending a four-game winless streak.

Morpeth are fifth, eight points away from the top three, but with games in hand over their fellow high-flyers.

And with eight matches to go, including five against sides in the bottom half of the table, a late surge could still be on the cards.

It’s a different situation for Alnwick. The derby defeat was their third loss in a row, a string of results which has seen them fall back into the relegation zone.

Dunn put the home side 1-0 up in the fifth minute and although Alnwick held out for the rest of the first half, Anderson got the crucial second soon after half time to leave Alnwick with a mountain to climb.

The deficit was reduced by an own goal following a goalmouth scramble, but the Highway Men sealed the victory with further strikes by Anderson and Dunn.

On Saturday, Morpeth suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat at fellow promotion contenders Jarrow Roofing.

After a cagey start to the game, with neither side in the ascendancy, they were undone by two uncharacteristic defensive lapses in the space of five minutes.

Town defenders failed to deal with a long through-ball and Smart was able to capitalise, driving a hard low shot into the bottom of the net. In the home side’s next attack, with the ball appearing to be running out for a goal-kick, McBryde went down under a challenge from Hiftle and he scored with ease from the resulting spot kick to make it 2-0 to Jarrow.

Stung into action, the visitors went to three at the back with the introduction of Wright and Keenan on either flank.

Committed to attack, Morpeth drove forwards and on 50 minutes Dines was upended in the penalty area, however the Roofing keeper pulled off a fine diving save to deny Chilton.

The Highway Men were able to pull a goal back on 70 minutes when Anderson ran onto Keenan’s throughball to score from the edge of the box.

Throwing caution to the wind, Morpeth were caught short at the back and McBryde was able to beat Wells at his near post to make it 3-1. As the game entered injury time, Benjamin headed home an Anderson corner, but it was too little, too late.

• Morpeth host Birtley Town on Saturday, kick-off 3pm, and Thornaby on Monday evening, kick-off 7.30pm, before travelling to Esh Winning on Wednesday night.

Northern League Division Two results on Wednesday, April 10:

Darlington RA 1 Jarrow Roofing 0

Horden CW 1 Northallerton Town 4

Morpeth Town 4 Alnwick Town 1

North Shields 0 Tow Law Town 2

Ryton and Crawcrook Albion 0 Ryhope CW 3

West Allotment Celtic 2 Seaham Red Star 1