Morpeth Town triumph in FA Cup opening round

Morpeth Town's Luke Carr.
Morpeth Town's Luke Carr.

Morpeth Town advanced to the preliminary round of the FA Cup with a 4-1 win at North Eastern Counties League side Garforth Town in Yorkshire on Saturday.

A brace from experienced striker Michael Chilton and a goal apiece from Luke Carr and Sean Taylor secured the win for the Highwaymen.

On the day Morpeth thoroughly outclassed their opposition. The only blemish on the performance was a late Sinmi Oyebanji consolation goal for the home side.

Garforth started the game on top and within the first three minutes Luke Mangham tried his luck from the edge of the area but fired his long range effort well wide.

It was Mangham again who missed the two minutes later after breaking onto a lofted ball from Mark Simpson, this time firing over from the right edge of the penalty area.

From that point on it was the Northern League side who dominated.

Lee McAndrew was the first to test the keeper with a header from a Ben Sayer cross.

Roles were reversed on the next Morpeth attack, McAndrew the provider, picking out Sayer on the edge of the area, but the midfielder was denied by a diving stop from Ben Hunter.

The Highwaymen were playing some excellent passing football from the back and should probably have taken the lead on 20 minutes.

James Novak ventured down the left wing before playing in Sean Taylor. The forward beat one before crossing to Carr who swung a left foot at the ball, but his goalbound effort hit a defender and went behind.

Chance after chance fell to the visitors, but it was not until the 36th minute that Morpeth eventually took the lead.

An over hit Taylor cross was picked up by Carr on the right. He played the ball back to right back Stephen Forster, who in turn found Sayer on the edge of the area. The midfielder picked out Carr’s intelligent run into the penalty area and he took a touch before slotting the ball low past the keeper into the bottom left hand corner.

Sayer found himself in a similar position three minutes later, but this time instead of passing he took aim from 20 yards, hitting a powerful effort narrowly wide of the right hand upright.

Morpeth doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time.

McAndrew picked up the ball on the edge of the penalty area and he found Novak, who combined with Sayer to play in Carr once more. The midfielder tricked his way past one before crossing to Michael Chilton who was on hand to deflect the ball just over the line.

In the second half Morpeth continued to dominate possession, and the third goal came on 56 minutes.

Sayer was again the provider from the edge of the area as his shot was diverted into the net by an incredible back-heel by Chilton.

Chilton should have completed his hat-trick from the kick-off as sloppy play from Garforth allowed McAndrew to cross, finding Taylor at the back post who laid the ball off to the striker who fired just wide.

It was more like a training exercise for Morpeth at this point, but the home side now and again broke on the counter, the best opportunity falling to Oyebanji who was denied a goal by Morpeth keeper Karl Dryden with a one-on-one save.

Town added a fourth on 74 minutes. Steven Anderson beating the offside trap after a Keith Graydon through ball. The striker unselfishly squared for Taylor to tap in from five yards out.

One minute later it was 4-1. A right win corner was not dealt with by the Morpeth defence, allowing Ash Preece to prod a ball in off Oyebanji, although it could be argued the Garforth attacker handled the ball into the goal.

All in all, a professional performance from the Highwaymen who now face a trip to Newton Aycliffe in the preliminary round.

On Saturday Morpeth are away to West Auckland Town and follow that with a trip to Newcastle Benfield on Wednesday, August 26.