Highwaymen eye top spot and another promotion

Action from Morpeth Town's pre-seaon game at AFC Killingworth. Picture by George Davidson
Action from Morpeth Town's pre-seaon game at AFC Killingworth. Picture by George Davidson

Jeff Henderson has revealed some lofty ambitions as Morpeth Town head into the opening of the new season in Evo-Stik East.

Making their debut in the division, The Highwaymen would be forgiven for looking to settle in and consolidate as a newly-promoted outfit.

But Henderson has insisted an ambitious group of players are eyeing top spot and promotion once again.

Town begin their league campaign at Belper Town on August 18 – seven days after an FA Cup tie at Goole – but they’ll head into battle with no fear and a firm belief that they are on track for a strong season.

“You want to finish as high as you can so we have got to look to win it,” the former Sligo Rovers centre-back told the club website.

“The set-up we have got, the facilities and the group we have together, we have got to be looking at the top of the table.

“I think we are where we should be at the end of pre-season; there are a lot of positives.

“We looked sharp, especially against Sunderland, in terms of with the ball and without. It’s just about putting two halves together.

“Against Gateshead we were outstanding in the first half and not so in the second half.”

Morpeth completed their pre-season schedule with a competitive work-out at AFC Killingworth on Saturday, which ended in a draw.

Town hit the front in the sixth minute when Adam Burnicle’s acrobatic volley, following David Carson’s blocked effort, found the back of the net.

But that lead would last just 12 minutes as the hosts found a leveller courtesy of a goalkeeping error when trying to play his way out of trouble.

Despite holding the majority of possession throughout the contest, Morpeth didn’t hit the front again until the 84th minute when Sean Taylor took a cross-field ball in his stride before lashing home.

However, there was still time for Killingworth to draw level as a header rebounded off the bar and hit Morpeth’s trialist keeper before trundling into the back of the net.

Although the score-line meant little, this was a useful exercise as Ben Sayer and Jordan Fry gained valuable minutes on the pitch, while David Carson continued to impress. Keith Graydon’s second-half display showcased his undoubted passing array, with Wayne Phillips and Chris Reid looking assured on the ball.

Henderson, who only joined the club over the summer, insisted the result should not be viewed as disappointing.

“Any game is better than training and that is what it was at Killingworth,” he continued.

“Most players got at least 45 minutes and it is just that; getting minutes into your legs.

“I’m loving it here and really enjoying it.

“We have a great set of lads and I have been made to feel really welcome since starting training; now I can’t wait to get started.”

Town can now turn their attentions to the FA Cup, where they journey to Goole on Saturday for a much-anticipated clash to open the campaign.