Spennymoor Town 1 Morpeth Town 1 Ebac Northern League, Division One
FACING their sternest test of the season so far, the Highway Men came through with flying colours as they pushed FA Vase holders Spennymoor all the way on Saturday.
The hosts, league champions in three of the last four seasons, needed a scrambled goal ten minutes from time to rescue a point.
Playing up the slope, the resolute Morpeth defence, expertly marshalled by captain Jewels, contained Spennymoor’s potent attackers for long periods. When they did find space in the box, keeper Mundy showed expert handling skills to deny Phillips, Cogden and Henderson.
Ten minutes from half-time with the ball running away from goal, Cogden went down in the box with Mundy adjudged to have impeded him.
From the resulting penalty, top-scorer Henderson drove the ball hard and low towards the right-hand corner. Mundy flung himself across the goal and was able to divert the ball onto the crossbar before completing an exceptional save.
The visitors started the second half full of confidence and they began to take the game to their opponents. Their attacking intent was rewarded on 65 minutes.
Spennymoor conceded possession in midfield and the Highway Men quickly broke forward. Forster stretched the home defence before playing the ball into Chilton, whose clever lay-off found Taylor in space on the right.
He cut inside and drove the ball past Jefferies in the home goal to give Morpeth the lead.
The away side continued to defend well and looked to break forward for a second goal, but Moors restored parity in the 82nd minute.
Moore’s header was saved by Mundy at full stretch, however, Henderson reacted first to force the ball home.
The home side pressed for a winner, but Henderson’s bullet header from a corner was cleared off the line and Morpeth were able to see out time to claim a very creditable and fully-deserved point.
Morpeth team: Mundy, Hiftle, Robinson, Hall (Henderson), Jewels, Buchanan (Dunn), Taylor, Fry (Lancaster), Forster, Chilton, Keenan. Techflow Group Qatar man-of-the-match: Sean Taylor.
The Highway Men play Hebburn Town at Craik Park on Saturday, kick-off 3pm, and the home FA Vase tie against Westfields FC is the following Saturday (January 18).