Town get back on track with derby win

Action from Saturday's derby match, Ashington v Morpeth. Picture by Ian Appleby.

Action from Saturday's derby match, Ashington v Morpeth. Picture by Ian Appleby.

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Ashington 0 Morpeth Town 2 Northern League, Division One

Two second-half goals gave The Highway Men a league double over The Colliers, writes David McMeekan.

Town dominated the early exchanges on Saturday without seriously threatening the home goal.

As the half wore on, Morpeth were unable to gain any reward for their neat approach play, although they were composed at the back as Ashington rarely threatened.

Five minutes into the second period, the game burst into life. Michael Chilton’s through-ball found Steven Anderson on the edge of the penalty area and his firm shot found the back of the net.

Ten minutes later, Sean Taylor almost doubled The Highway Men’s advantage when he rounded home goalkeeper Grant, but his effort just cleared the crossbar.

Morpeth were not to be denied a second goal. After a flowing move from the back, Steve Anderson turned provider.

His cross was controlled by Chilton, the division’s leading goal-scorer, who then unleashed an unstoppable shot past Grant.

Morpeth line-up: Dryden, Henderson (Keenan), Lancaster (Dunn), Hall, Grieve, Jewels, Taylor, Grant, Anderson, Chilton, Bell (Fry). Techflow Group Qatar man-of-the-match: Matthew Grieve.

Town manager Nick Gray showered high praise on his players following their derby victory, writes Brian Bennett.

The boss asked his players to put things right following the 2-1 defeat against Bedlington Terriers last week.

He said: “We were poor in the match with Bedlington, so I asked the players for a response today and was delighted with what I saw.

“Credit to each and every one of the squad today, even the lads who didn’t get off the bench because they were supporting and encouraging their teammates and that’s what you need at this level.”

Gray analysed the display and was more at ease after Chilton’s strike ten minutes from time had doubled their lead:

“We were a bit lacklustre in the first half but stepped it up after the break,” he said.

“Ashington are a good side but appear to be playing with a lack of confidence at the moment and because of that you have got to go on the front foot.

“In the second half we got the goal early and then had a couple of good chances to make it two or three. You are always nervy holding a one goal lead but after we got the second, I thought we looked comfortable and thoroughly deserved our win.”

The Highway Men are currently seventh in the first division of the Northern League – a position which Gray would be happy to take come the end of the campaign.

He added: “Last season our target was to stay in the division, but our goal this year is to be in the top half of the table.

“I have seen about 12 teams so far, with no-one outstanding, and if you set your mind to it, have believe in yourself, set your stall out and have a good team spirit, who knows what you can achieve.

“Team spirit is massively important and I thought my lads showed today that we have one in our camp.”

Morpeth travel to Jarrow Roofing BCA on Saturday for a Northern League, Division One fixture.

Kick-off is 3pm.