Morpeth Town 1-0 Tadcaster Albion
Morpeth began 2019 in fine style with a deserved if hard fought victory over Tadcaster to stretch their lead at the top of the table. A bumper crowd saw a workmanlike performance from the Highwaymen to break down Tadcaster Albion.
The only goal of the game arrived in the 53rd minute when Jeff Henderson was able to head home.
Wayne Phillips captaining Town had the first opportunity of the game in the 5th minute when he cut inside and curled an effort narrowly wide of the near post.
Tadcaster responded when Joe Lumsden was able to race clear from halfway but after spotting Dan Lowson off his line, his attempted chip didn’t come off and Lowson was able to gather the ball comfortably.
Anyone who thought these two early chances would be a sign of things to come in the first half were to be left disappointed as both had spells of possession without being able to breach the defence of their opponents.
The officials became centre of attention just after the half hour mark, the assistant flagged for a free kick against Morpeth but the referee overruled him and decided that Liam Henderson had been fouled. Despite it looking like the foul was committed in the penalty area, the officials decided it was outside. However, the free kick came to nothing.
The only goal of the game arrived early in the second when a free kick on the near touchline was whipped into the box by Ben Sayer. Liam Henderson glanced the ball goalwards and produced a stunning save from James Hodges but his saved was only as far as Jeff Henderson who was on hand to head home.
The goal seemed to ease some of the tension around Craik Park as Morpeth took control of the game without fashioning chances with the final ball lacking some of the usual panache. The visitors still didn’t commit bodies forward as they looked for a way back into the game but continued to threaten.
Chris Howarth came forward for the visitors from his position just behind Lumsden and tested Lowson but it was a comfortable save.
Ben Sayer who had provided the ball into the box for the goal was close to repeating his trick when his ball in from the opposite flank was met by a towering header from Chris Reid but the defender could only head wide.
Lumsden, who looked dangerous throughout and with 12 league goals to his credit this season continued to cause problems but his chances were limited to strikes from distance that didn’t cause Lowson into a difficult save.
With a little over 15 minutes remaining, Paddy Miller had a free kick 25 yards from goal that he drove goalwards with plenty of whip but fortunately for the Highwaymen there was too much on it and it cleared the bar.
Billy Whitehouse had the final chance for the visitors as he capitalised on a stray ball hitting Chris Reid and coming forward but he pulled his shot wide of the post.
The full time whistle came as a slight relief to the crowd as Morpeth were able to extend their lead at the top of the table following results elsewhere.
The Highwaymen are back in action on Saturday, January 5 when they entertain Frickley Athletic at Craik Park with a traditional 3pm kick off.