Injuries bring Town downfall

Birtley Town 4 Morpeth Town 2 STL Northern League Division Two

HAVING won their fourth game in succession with the 5-1 demolition of Washington in midweek, Morpeth took on a Birtley side who defeated the Highwaymen 3-0 earlier in the season at Craik Park, on Saturday, writes David McMeekan.

Buoyed by the recent signing of former Newcastle United Reserve captain Callum Morris an Ex Blyth Spartans and Hayes and Yeading player, Morpeth took the game to their opponents from the start.

The opening goal came on five minutes when a pin-point free-kick from Hiftle was headed home by Fry (0-1).

Morpeth controlled the opening phase of the game but could not convert a host of chances and were un-done by a rare Birtley attack. Smith broke free down the right and Wilson, committed to the challenge, conceded penalty that Smart converted (1-1).

Morpeth had already lost the physical presence of Dormand upfront, but they regained their composure to retake the lead as McAlpine headed home from 12 yards (1-2). Ahead at the break, the points were there for the taking but on the hour, in the process of trying to clear a cross into the box, Hall could only divert the ball into his own net (2-2).

Stretching for the ball, he exacerbated an injury picked up earlier and he was replaced by Andrews.

Wilson was the next player injured and the re-jigged defence started to concede possession and ground to a Birtley side, who gained in confidence as the half progressed.

With 10 minutes remaining, centre-half Dixon converted a free header and Darwent wrapped up the points with a neat finish from the edge of the box three minutes from the end (4-2).

This was a disappointing defeat caused by injuries at crucial times in the game but other results mean that promotion is still very much in the Highwaymen’s hands.

Match highlights are now available on line at – the Official Morpeth Town AFC web site.

Team: Mundy, Wilson, (Young), Walmsley, Grant, Hiftle, Morris, Keenan, Fry, Dormand, (Lunn), Hall, (Andrews). P Gillan & Sons man-of-the-match: David Hiftle.

Next matches at Craik Park are: Saturday – STL Northern League, Morpeth Town v Seaham Red Star. Kick-off 3pm.

Wednesday – STL Northern League, Morpeth Town v Esh Winning. Kick-off 7.30pm.