Morpeth Town 4 Chester-le-Street 2 Ebac Northern League Division Two
MORPETH continued their unbeaten league start to the season by winning a six-goal thriller on Saturday, writes David McMeekan.
Full of confidence, the Highway Men took the game to the visitors from the first whistle. With Dines, Fry and Grant controlling the midfield, Keenan and Henderson had a free hand on either flank.
The opening goal of the game came on five minutes when a Grant through-ball released Chilton, whose composed finish from the edge of the box gave Town the lead.
They continued to press forward with Henderson putting in a barnstorming performance on the right, but were pegged back when the visitors equalised with their first meaningful attack. An effort from the edge of the box was blocked but the loose ball fell to Hepplewhite and his first-time shot arrowed into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Chester-le-Street were now playing with increased confidence and took the lead with a neat close-range finish by Lynch. Stung by this setback, Morpeth’s response was immediate. Chilton flicked the ball forward to the on-rushing Fry, who drove home the equaliser from 15 yards.
The home side started the second half like the first by controlling the midfield and utilising the flanks.
They took the lead just after the hour-mark. Centre-back Tumilty drove forward from the half way line and as he entered the penalty area he was upended. Chilton stepped up and dispatched the penalty to make it 3-2.
A minute later Chilton burst into the box and as he was about to shoot he was brought down by Crook in the Chester-le-Street goal, who received a red card for the challenge. Chilton fired the resulting penalty high into the net to complete his hat-trick and secure the points.
Rusty’s Taxis man-of-the-match: Shaun Henderson.
Team Northumbria 0 Morpeth Town 2
Northumberland Senior Cup, Round One
NICK Gray’s young side faced a tough test on Monday evening against a top half team in Northern League Division One.
But by defending high up the pitch the Morpeth back four neutralised the home forwards and they were reduced to shooting from distance.
As the first half progressed, Town started to get a grip of the midfield and on the half-hour Keenan made some space for himself on the right. He picked out Chilton with a pin-point cross.
Chilton rose above the defenders and directed his header into the top left-hand corner of the net to give the Highway Men the lead.
In the second half goalscoring chances were at a premium, but eventually gaps started to appear in the home defence as they committed players forward in search of an equaliser.
Morpeth exploited this when the tough tackling Henderson won the ball on the halfway line. After carrying it forward 20 yards, his high hanging cross created havoc in the home defence.
The ball was only partially cleared as far as Lunn. After taking a touch he fired home from ten yards to double the visitors’ lead.
At 2-0 up, Morpeth comfortably played out time to secure an excellent victory.
Rusty’s Taxis man-of-the-match: David Hiftle.
• Morpeth are at home to Guisborough Town on Saturday in the first round proper of the FA Vase. Kick-off is 3pm.
• The refurbished function room at Craik Park is now open. To make a booking or inquire about availability, please contact Morpeth Town Commercial Manager Jim Dawson on 078511 87143 or email firstname.lastname@example.org