Ten-man Town march on at top of the table
Morpeth Town extended their unbeaten league run with a 2-1 win over Stocksbridge Park Steels at Craik Park.
Following an impeccably marked minute’s silence for Remembrance Day, Morpeth raced into the lead through David Carson on four minutes prior to Jeff Henderson’s 17th minute goal.
Despite numerous chances to stretch their lead, Luke Manghan set up a nervy final few minutes with a late goal which proved a mere consolation.
Morpeth started brightly and looked to unsettle their visitors with a high-pressing, quick tempo opening. It paid dividends four minutes in through Carson. The midfielder, netting his second goal of the campaign, found himself with too much space on the edge of the box and sent a low drive into the bottom corner.
The hosts duly set about scoring a second, which arrived on 17 minutes. After pinball in the box, the ball dropped invitingly for Henderson, who thumped the ball into the turf so it looped into the top corner.
Morpeth looked threatening every time they strode forward, which was regularly by the midway point of the first half. Stephen Forster and Michael Turner’s both shot wide.
Stocksbridge, stunned to be two down, sent a free-kick past the post as their only real impact going forward in the opening half hour.
But their best chance arrived on the half-hour mark when a defensive mix-up allowed Brodie Litchfield a clean run on goal. However, the forward could only chip the ball well over the top from 20 yards.
Morpeth continued their dominance with the ball finding the feet of Carson 20 yards out, but the midfielder couldn’t find the net.
Two minutes later and Tom Potter had his head in his hands as his glanced header, destined for the back of the net, was pushed over the top courtesy of a fine Jordan Amissah stop.
The game threatened to turn against the Highwaymen on 37 minutes when Sam Hodgson was shown a straight red card for a lunging challenge.
Faced with the prospect of playing against a side with 10 men for 53 minutes, Stocksbridge came out of the traps with more purpose in the second half, Reece Fielding smashing low but finding Turner on the line to clear.
Despite the disadvantage, Morpeth continued to press and should have added to their lead on 53 minutes, but Carson’s rasping, rising drive struck the underside of the bar. Tom Potter then sent a curling shot inches over the top.
Potter could have added to the score-line on 62 minutes, but his shot was deflected wide and Ben Sayer hit the inside of the post.
Manghan reduced the arrears to 2-1 with a low strike across goal. But it wasn’t enough to stop Morpeth marching on at the top of Evo-Stik East.