MORPETH TOWN 3
SOUTH SHIELDS 3
(Morpeth won 10-9 on
Morpeth won a dramatic penalty shoot-out to clinch their place in the next-round of the FA Vase with victory over South Shields last Wednesday.
And their prize was a home tie against the holders, North Shields, which was due to be played off at Craik Park last night (Wednesday, January 27).
The game had been postponed on no fewer than nine occasions, but it finally went ahead at Consett.
And as Morpeth were playing a side who were unbeaten in the last 20 matches they knew they had a tough fight on their hands.
Two goals from Mateusz Halambiec and another from Michael Chilton saw the teams level at 3-3 after extra-time and the lottery that is penalties were called for,
It was goalkeeper Karl Dryden who emerged the hero, making the vital save from Scroggins, which took his side through.
Halambiec had put Moorpeth ahead in the first half, but David Foley equalised for Shields just 12 minutes from time.
In extra-time (107 minutes) Julio Arca fired Shields in front at 2-1, but Morpeth hit back to score twice and seemingly book their place in the next round.
However, the Mariners showed their mettle again as Warren Byrne volleyed in superbly to force a shootout, which ebbed and flowed before Morpeth took it 10-9.
Morpeth had initially started the better of the two teams, and enjoyed good possession in the first 20 minutes.
Shields gradually took control, though, and Ben Riding missed a huge chance to put them ahead as he nodded wide at the back post.
Two minutes later, Morpeth took the lead as Halambiec capitalised on a loose ball after a save by Scott Pocklington. Byrne hit a good chance over the bar before half-time, and Shields went on to dominate the second half.
Leepaul Scroggins hit an effort inches wide, as did Wayne Phillips before Foley levelled when a Riding long throw was flicked on. After that, the Mariners had several huge chances to win it in 90 minutes.
Morpeth goalkeeper Dryden was in inspired from, saving point blank from Lewis Teasdale and Byrne, while Riding and Byrne also hit shots inches wide.
In extra-time, the remarkable saves continued, with Teasdale and Arca denied.
On 107 minutes, the hard work appeared to have been done as Arca fired home through a sea of bodies to finally reward the Shields dominance. However, Morpeth – having looked down and out for so long – somehow found something left in the tank.
Halambiec fired into the top corner after a scramble in the box, and Morpeth were then ahead again as Michael Chilton rolled the ball past Pocklington.
With two minutes left, though, an incredible volley by Byrne forced penalties.
Riding had a chance to win it for Shields in the shootout, but fired over, and it was ultimately a save by Dryden from Scroggins which sealed Morpeth’s triumph, 10-9 on spot-kicks.