Spoils shared in eight-goal thriller

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Thornaby 4 Morpeth Town 4 STL Northern League Division Two

MORPETH travelled down to Teesside on Saturday to take on Thornaby, looking for the three points that would move them into the top four in the table.

After an uneventful first five minutes where both sides were coming to terms with windy conditions, Thornaby broke the deadlock. Baverstock let fly with a speculative shot from 25 yards. The ball swerved in the wind deceiving Mundy in the Morpeth goal to give Thornaby the lead (1-0).

With the strong wind at their backs, Thornaby started to dominate play.

On 15 minutes, Laing burst through on goal and was only denied a goal by fine defensive play by captain Walmsley.

Three minutes later, Clark fired a free-kick from distance into the penalty area.

Lofts rose, and directed his header into the net via the far-post to make it 2-0.

Thornaby were now in the ascendancy and laid siege to the Morpeth goal. However, the Highwaymen’s defence, expertly marshalled by full-back Wilson and centre-back Johnstone, prevented Thornaby from increasing their lead.

Morpeth started to gain confidence and, on the half-hour, keeping the ball on the ground, they played it out of defence.

Walmsley played the ball up the line to Henderson, who tricked his way past the full-back and played in Dormand. He flicked the ball across the six-yard box to Anderson, who smashed it into the net from close range to make it 2-1.

For the remainder of the half, Thornaby came back at Morpeth and Mundy twice denied Lofts when he was played through on goal.

Fortunate to be only 2-1 down, Morpeth came out for the second half, with the weather conditions in their favour, determined to get control of the game.

Cartwright, Grant and McAlpine linked on the left, playing in Dormand, who rolled his shot just wide of the far post.

On 55 minutes, Anderson’s corner from the right found McAlpine, who shot narrowly wide.

A minute later, a long through-ball from Dormand created havoc in the home defence. Anderson laid the ball back to Grant, whose shot was well saved by Davidson in the home goal, but the advancing Dormand was on hand to fire the ball home to make it 2-2.

On 58 minutes, the hard-running Anderson collected an incisive pass from Keenan and calmly rounded Davidson to give Morpeth the lead (2-3).

The lead was short-lived. In a rare foray forward, Baverstock went down in the box and the linesman signalled a penalty which Skelton converted comfortably (3-3).

Morpeth again came forward and Dormand made space for himself in the area. His rasping shot was diverted onto the underside of the bar by Davidson.

Thornaby cleared their lines and broke forward in numbers.

Laing raced onto a through-ball and placed the ball into the net to make it 4-3.

However, Morpeth are a resilient lot and debutant Lunn, a recent signing from Hebburn Town, slid the ball home from close range to give Morpeth a share of the points.

Morpeth Town: Mundy, Wilson, Walmsley, Grant, Johnstone, Henderson, Keenan, Cartwright, (Lunn), Anderson, Dormand, McAlpine, (Patrick). P Gillan & Sons man-of-the-match: Tom Wilson.