Baptists squeeze through to second round

Bethshan 2 Morpeth Baptist Church FC 3 (aet) NECFL League Cup

MORPETH were back in action following the match postponement due to heavy frost last week, as they entered their third cup competition of the season.

This first round League Cup tie saw them travel to Bethshan, who are at the foot of Division One.

On a day when all seasons of weather were experienced and a strong gusty wind blew throughout, a closely-fought, physical cup game developed.

Morpeth introduced a new four-one-four-one formation with player/coach Curry playing in his season debut in the middle of defence.

And it was Curry who was found lacking in pace and match fitness when he lost the home striker after a easy ball was played over the top, putting Morpeth a goal behind after 15 minutes.

But Morpeth replied immediately with midfielder Johnson hitting the post with a looping header.

Carmichael whipped another ball across the goalmouth from the right and this time Johnson made sure to put the scores level.

Bethshan came back into it with pressure and possession and again the route-one ball fell to their striker and his powerful shot left debutant keeper Cooper no chance.

Once again, Morpeth reacted and, after a good move initiated by Johnson, Lavender (B) crossed a good ball from the left and this time it was midfielder Garbutt who climbed above his defender to score with his head from four yards.

The second-half saw Morpeth dominate possession, despite playing against the wind, and create numerous chances.

With Bird replacing Curry in defence, the back four looked better organised.

There were no further goals though and, after 90 minutes, the scores remained level and the game went into extra-time.

Again Morpeth dominated and man-of-the-match Chambers was chopped down in the opposition’s box, for what looked to be a stone-wall penalty. Inexplicably, the referee waved play on.

Finally Chambers, whose play as a lone striker for the majority of the game had been exceptional, got his reward in the dying minutes.

After receiving a ‘delicious’ ball from Garbutt over the defence from the halfway line, Chambers rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home to give Morpeth the win and entry to the second round.

Team: Cooper, Curry (T Lavender), Dewhirst, Fletcher, Elliott (Richardson), Carmichael (Snowball), Garbutt, Johnson, B Lavender, Bird, Chambers.