Taylor brace as Morpeth stay top of the table

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Morpeth Town 4-1 Washington

Sean Taylor bagged a brace as Morpeth Town’s midfield once again chipped in on the goal front to secure a comfortable 4-1 win over a spirited Washington.

The winger popped up in the 19th and 38th minute to give his side a solid advantage, before the visitors reduced the deficit through Kristian Sands on the stroke of half-time.

But there would be no comeback at Craik Park as second half strikes from Joseph Walton and Curtis Coppen ensured three valuable points as the Highwaymen maintained top spot in the Northern League.

With Michael Chilton promoted to the starting line-up, instead of Mark Davison, Morpeth made few changes to a side who had demolished North Shields 5-1 during midweek.

The momentum from that game continued into the clash with Washington, with Walton in particular shining in the early stages as he rampaged down the right flank at will.

It was strong work from him, followed by a cross, which allowed Ben Sayer to smash a long-range drive goalwards. But his ninth minute strike was saved comfortably by Dan Gladstone in the Washington goal.

It was merely a precursor for the opening goal as Walton, rampant down the right, once again found the byline before crossing for Taylor to stoop and head home at the far post.

A one-goal advantage was doubled in the 38th minute when a ball over the top found Chilton in behind. He charged goalwards before picking out Taylor in a central position, with the latter able to roll the ball into the net.

Although the home side seemed in complete control, the visitors did reduce the deficit just before the interval through Sands. The midfielder rose highest eight yards out to loop a Rhys Evans corner across goal and into the far corner.

With Morpeth wobbling, they so nearly conceded a second goal as Jake Pickard slammed his attempt into the side netting.

Buoyed by a fresh impetus, Washington came out and attacked in the opening stages of the second half with Ross Gardener showing quick feet in the area to create a yard of space before firing straight at Dryden.

The hosts heeded this warning and stepped up a gear themselves, eventually extending their advantage in the 62nd minute when Sayer hung a corner high in the air. This allowed Walton to leap and power a header into the back of the net from close range.

That goal seemed a definitive blow to the visitors, with a fourth following eight minutes later from an unlikely source.

Centre-back Coppen, who had put in a faultless defensive display, found space in the opposition box to expertly side-foot a Sayer free-kick past Gladstone and seal all three points.

A flurry of late chances presented themselves but Town were unable to add to the scoring.

Morpeth will look to extend their two-match winning streak when they welcome West Auckland to Craik Park on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

This a huge top-of-the-table clash between two of the top high scoring sides, so a cracker is expected.