Bad start has Town trailing

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Northallerton Town 4 Morpeth Town 3 Northern League, Division Two

MORPETH made the long trip to North Yorkshire looking for the three points that would move them up into the top four in the table.

But they got off to a bad start when they lost possession on the edge of their penalty area and a Northallerton player was fouled.

Bulmer stepped up and expertly directed the free-kick into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-0 after only 90 seconds.

Despite this setback, the visitors regained their composure and only excellent defending from the Northallerton back line prevented an equaliser as both Patrick and Dormand were denied.

And they got a deserved equaliser from a corner after 20 minutes. Walmsley’s accurate kick was flicked on by Dormand and Johnstone forced the ball home from close range.

This should have given Morpeth a platform to build on, but disaster stuck on the half hour. Bulmer collected a long ball on the left and his cross was diverted into his own net by Walmsley.

On 43 minutes Wilson, who had gone down under a heavy challenge minutes earlier, was replaced by Keenan and at half-time Johnstone also had to be replaced by Robinson, leaving manager Nick Gray to play out the second half with only one substitute at his disposal.

Five minutes into the second half, Morpeth were caught cold. They failed to clear their lines and Bulmer had the easy task of increasing Northallerton’s lead.

The game was now end to end. Hall and Grant linked up and Dormand was first to the ball — he forced it into the net to make it 3-2.

Substitute Robinson bravely won a header but was concussed in the process and he had to exit the field of play, leaving Morpeth down to ten men for the final half-hour.

Gray committed players forward and from a deep Walmsley cross, Shanks placed his header over the home goalie but was denied by the crossbar.

As 10-man Morpeth pressed forward in search of an equaliser they were stretched at the back, Bulmer was allowed the space to complete his hat trick.

But the visitors were not finished and Dormand scored his second goal of the game with five minutes remaining.

Morpeth strived for the equaliser but it would not come and a relieved Northallerton took all three points.

• The Craik Park side put in a good midweek performance against Division One opponents Spennymoor Town in the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup Round Two, but ended up losing 2-1.

Morpeth mainly restricted their opponents to long-range efforts in the first half, but the visitors scored on the half-hour when Cogdon created some space for himself on the right, drifted inside and accelerated into the box where be bent the ball round Mundy into the bottom corner of the net.

They made it 2-0 from a Barton penalty, but the home side came pressed forward and pulled a goal back when Henderson smashed a fantastic half- volley into the top of the net from 25 yards out.

Morpeth almost got an equaliser, but Dormand’s header crashed against the near post.