It’s a stand, but no delivery

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Team Northumbria 2 Morpeth Town 0 STL Northern League Division Two

MORPETH took the field on Monday evening determined to make amends for the last minute defeat at Chester-le-Street Town on Saturday and keep their promotion hopes alive.

From the first whistle, the Highway Men took the game to champions-elect Team Northumbria. As the students sat back and absorbed the Town pressure Anderson and Young both went close to giving the away side a deserved lead.

Grant and Fry dominated the midfield but the opening goal that Morpeth’s overall play deserved just did not come and this was to prove costly.

On the stroke of half-time, Graham intercepted a stray pass on halfway. The ball was fed out wide to prolific goalscorer Watling and he cut inside and rifled a shot past Mundy to give the students an undeserved lead.

The second half mirrored the first. Playing with three at the back Morpeth were committed to attack. Dormand hit a post, Jennison in the students’ goal denied Anderson and Andrews and when he was beaten, goal-line clearances foiled Young and Grant.

As the game entered stoppage time the students gained possession in the centre circle. The ball was played through to Critchlow and his composed finish found the bottom corner of the net. Despite the scoreline, this was an excellent performance by Morpeth against an impressive Team Northumbria side who now only need two points to be crowned champions.

Morpeth also had their chances on Saturday, particularly Fry in the second half.

But in stoppage time the ball was played through to Chester-le-Street’s Swanston and as he moved into the area, he was pulled back and the referee awarded a penalty. It was converted by Fairley.

Gillford Park’s 2-1 victory against the same opponents on Tuesday meant that they, Team Northumbria and Hebburn Town are the three promoted clubs, although Morpeth have done extremely well to be among the contenders.

Morpeth squad: Mundy, Wilson, Walmsley (Howes) (Dorman), Grant, Morris, Hiftle, Young, Hall, Anderson, Fry, Henderson (Andrews). P Gillan man-of-the-match: Jordan Fry.

The club’s last match of the season is at home to Thornaby on Saturday, kick-off is 3pm. All under 16s will receive free admission and they will all be able to participate in a penalty shoot-out at half-time.