Henderson and Graydon goals see Morpeth past league leaders North Shields
First half goals from Liam Henderson and Keith Graydon earned Morpeth Town a 2-0 win over league leaders North Shields at Craik Park on Wednesday evening.
Henderson curled one into the top corner from the edge of the box on 18 minutes and Graydon doubled the lead on 34 minutes when his fierce strike wasn’t held by Shields keeper Sean McCafferty and the ball looped up and into the net.
The Highwaymen controlled the second half and restricted their opponents to half chances as they went on to claim a valuable three points.
Seaham Red Star come to Craik Park on Saturday to complete what has been an important week, and one in which Morpeth have picked up maximum points thus far.
Nick Gray and Dave Malone’s side went into the Shields game having thrashed a depleted Newton Aycliffe 5-0 at the weekend, but it was the Robins who had the first chance.
With only 20 seconds on the clock, Denver Morris broke down the flank and drove a low cross into the area, but Ryan Carr blazed over from close range.
Then Dan Wilson created an opening for himself on 10 minutes as he collected the ball and turned in the area only to strike his shot just over the bar.
Morpeth’s first opening came six minutes later. Jordan Fry crossed for Mark Davison, who back-heeled wide after missing with his first attempt.
Two minutes later Morpeth found the breakthrough after some good play from Joseph Walton. The wide man played the ball to the edge of the box and Henderson produced a stunning finish, curling into the top corner first time.
It was tense before the hosts doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark to settle any nerves around the ground.
Graydon picked up the ball and rifled his shot towards goal, and keeper McCafferty could not hold onto the shot and he pushed the ball up and into the net.
The Robins could have pulled one back nine minutes after the break, but after some good build-up play, the glorious chance went in the blink of an eye.
Wilson picked up the ball and held off his marker, but in a good position, he managed to curl wide.
The hosts could have asserted themselves even more on 66 minutes. Graydon’s free kick was heading for the top corner, but McCafferty produced a brilliant save.
Morpeth were comfortable keeping the ball and it was not until 12 minutes from time that the next chance came about. Shields squandered the opening from a corner and Morpeth continued to dominate in possession.
It was a second half with very few chances, but that will have pleased the hosts, who went close with nine minutes left. Fry broke down the flank and after skipping past three players, but his cross was headed just wide from substitute Steven Anderson.
Morpeth went on to hold out for the victory, and they managed to stop their opponents to having no shots on target in the game.
They now turn their attention to Saturday’s game, which sees Seaham Red Star come to Craik Park in the league.
Morpeth Town: Dryden, Forster, Turner, Sayer, Grieve, Reid, Walton, Graydon, Davison, Henderson (Anderson 78), Fry. Subs not used: Robinson, Novak, Hall.
North Shields: McCafferty, Donnison, Summerly, Coppen (Forster 69), Parker (Bainbridge 86), Hughes, Morris, Ormston, Wilson, Mason, Carr (Holmes 61). Subs not used: McKeown, Taylor.