Morpeth Town 9 Darlington RA 1 Ebac Northern League, Division Two
MORPETH started the New Year in style after registering a club record score of 9-1 against a Darlington RA side who started the day two places above the Highway Men in the table.
Match referee Mark Hedley gave the game the go-ahead after a lengthy pitch inspection and the hard work of the Morpeth ground staff, who had been working on the pitch since first light, was certainly rewarded with a scintillating display of attacking football.
On seven minutes the Town midfield trio of Grant, Fry and Keenan linked up in a fine passing move to carve open the Darlington defence. Keenan took the ball to the byline and his low cross was turned into the net by Chilton.
The hosts doubled their advantage on the quarter hour when an Anderson corner caused panic in the Darlington defence and Dines was able to capitalise to head home – injured in the process he was replaced by Darwent.
Darlington RA regained their composure and after a period of sustained possession, Butterworth burst into the penalty area and was impeded. Muir dispatched the resultant penalty.
Morpeth substitute Darwent started to dominate on the left and after forcing a smart save from Calvert, his deep cross on 30 minutes was headed home by Anderson to make it 3-1.
Five minutes later, Chilton drove forward from midfield and fired an unstoppable shot into the top left-hand corner of the net. On 40 minutes, Darwent was brought down in the box. Whensley contested the decision and received a red card for his troubles.
Chilton converted the spot-kick to complete his hat-trick.
Anderson scored the goal of the game ten minutes into the second half – bursting down the right he caught Calvert out with a sublime chip to make it 6-1.
The Highway Men continued to take the game to their opponents and on the hour Fry scored from distance. A minute later, Chilton headed against a post but was on hand to bundle the rebound into the net (8-1).
Deep into injury time, Darwent linked up with Walmsley on the right and his low cross found Chilton who scored his fifth goal of the game and Morpeth’s ninth.
This was Town’s largest margin of victory since the 8-0 defeat of Norton & Stockton Ancients in the promotion season of 1995-96.
The Highway Men have now moved up to seventh in the table with games in hand on all the clubs above them, three of whom Morpeth play this month.
Morpeth travel to league leaders Crook Town on Saturday, with the return at Craik Park on the following Wednesday, kick-off is 7.30pm.
Sixth-placed North Shields then visit Craik Park before two fixtures against third-placed Seaham Red Star.
Morpeth Town line-up: Wells, Tumilty, Walmsley, Grant, Hall, Dunn (Henderson), Dines (Darwent), Fry, Anderson, Chilton, Keenan (Scott).
Rusty’s Taxis man-of-the-match: Michael Chilton.