Morpeth through to semi-finals of Senior Cup
MORPETH TOWN 2WHITLEY BAY 0Morpeth eased into the semi-finals of the Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup as they started their defence of the trophy with a 2-0 victory over Whitley Bay at Craik Park on Wednesday night.
Liam Henderson and Sean Taylor grabbed the goals as Town overcame a stubborn Bay side.
Morpeth created the first opening of the game after four minutes, when a ball in from the left by Taylor was taken down by Henderson but his shot on the turn was gathered by Dan Lister.
With 17 minutes gone, Henderson again worked space in the area but he got underneath his shot this time and it sailed over the bar.
The Highwaymen were well on top without creating any clear-cut opportunities. Ryan Hutchinson was the next player to go close but his looping header from a corner landed on the roof of the net.
A succession of corners for Town failed to yield the opening goal but Ben Sayer did go closer as he hit a low shot from the corner of the box that skidded off the surface and went just wide.
Morpeth were to go even closer in first half added time when Chris Reid rampaged forward from left-back and his rasping drive crashed off the bar and went over.
If Morpeth were frustrated to not have broken the deadlock in the first half then they didn’t waste much time in the second half as Henderson scored on 49 minutes. Intricate play on the edge of the area from Ben Sayer and Taylor ended with the former crossing for Henderson who cleverly rolled the ball into the net.
Prior to this, Hutchinson had glanced another corner wide of the far post as he made a great run across the box.
Lister was forced into a fantastic save just before the hour mark when Taylor played in Stephen Forster and the full-back fired in an effort at the near-post.
The second goal almost arrived just after the hour mark and it came from some scintillating play involving Liam Noble and Sayer with the latter playing the ball to Henderson. He cushioned the ball on his chest before attempting a delicate chip that had Lister scrambling but the ‘keeper was able to get back and claw the ball away.
After 69 minutes, Hutchinson was again denied from a corner but this time from a point-blank save from Lister.
The lead was finally doubled on 71 minutes when Taylor was played in and from a tight angle, his effort took a deflection off the unfortunate James Martin and into the back of the net.
Jack Foalle was introduced as a second half substitution and he had a flurry of chances but his efforts failed to test Lister.
Morpeth nearly added some gloss to the scoreline late on.
Carl Finnigan had a strike from 30 yards out that was parried away to Lister, but Foalle couldn’t fire home the rebound.
Assistant manager Craig Lynch reflected on the win, saying: “As the holders of the cup it’s always nice to win and go through.
“Whitley Bay made it difficult for us in the first half. They got men behind the ball and tried to frustrate us.
“It was a case of keeping focused, concentrating and being patient.
“Getting the first goal was always going to be important and the second goal killed the game off as far as we were concerned.”