Sayer’s winning strike retains Morpeth Town’s unbeaten run to season

Ben Sayer, who scored a later winner for Morpeth Town.
Ben Sayer, who scored a later winner for Morpeth Town.

A Ben Sayer strike eight minutes from time condemned Bedlington Terriers to defeat as Morpeth Town kept their 100 per cent home record in a 2-1 win at Craik Park on Wednesday evening.

Sean Taylor had given Morpeth the lead after just 11 minutes, but the visitors replied five minutes before the interval through captain Steven Little.

But for the second time in nine days it was Sayer who stole the headline with a sublime finish to secure another three points for Town.

Morpeth gave a first start of the season to Jordan Nellis against his former club, as well as Chris Jewels and Niall Harrison.

It was Nellis who had the first opportunity after intercepting the pass of a Bedlington defender, and seeing the keeper off his line he went for a 40-yard chip but miss-hit his effort wide.

The Highwaymen then took the lead in the 11th minute after a free-flowing move involving Keith Graydon, Nellis, Sayer, James Novak and Michael Chilton before Luke Carr picked up the ball on the left. He slid it between two defenders into the feet of Novak who took a touch before playing in Taylor with the outside of his boot, and the forward made no mistake with an excellent finish.

To be fair to the visitors, they came into the game over the next five minutes, culminating in an Adam Harvey strike that was well saved by Harrison, the rebound falling to Andy McBride who was closed down well by the Morpeth stopper.

Town continued to squander opportunities, a problem that has haunted the side all season. Luke Carr picked out Nellis on the left hand side but he was unable to keep his left footed effort down.

The home side were given a scare on 25 minutes. After some patient build up play by the Terriers, John Pendlebury whipped a right wing cross into the penalty area and Liam Hudson at the back post able to square the ball to Harvey whose goal bound effort was blocked in the six-yard box by David Hiftle.

At the other end a short corner caused the visitors problems. Novak broke into the penalty area and hit an effort at the near post which was turned behind by Fabian Otte for another corner.

Taylor almost netted a carbon copy of his first goal on the half hour mark.

Carr picked up the ball 25 yards out after Bedlington lost possession in their own half. The midfielder slotted the ball into the path of Taylor who was once again one-on-one with Otte, but this time the keeper came up trumps.

Otte’s save went as far as Michael Chilton to the right of the penalty area, he pulled the ball back to Carr and his shot from ten yards out was blocked on the line by a desperate Bedlington last ditch dive.

Graydon was next to take aim, the ball falling to him on the edge of the penalty after Sayer dispossessed a Terrier defender, but his curled effort went over the bar. His next effort from a 28-yard free kick fell narrowly wide.

Bedlington equalised just four minutes before half-time. After Jewels cleared a Terriers corner, Marc Dummett played in Hudson down the left and his floated cross was powered home by Little with a fantastic header.

Morpeth nearly regained the lead direct from the kick-off. A strong Sayer run saw him enter the penalty area from the left wing before trying to beat Otte at his near post, only for the ball to ricochet off the post and wide.

The opening stages of the second half were cagey with neither side getting on top.

Morpeth’s best chances fell to Taylor, whilst Terriers right back Pendlebury went closest for the away side.

The introduction of Lee McAndrew and Steven Anderson added life to home side’s cause, the latter picking up a Novak cross on the edge of the area but failed to hit the target.

Novak was in the action again minutes later, his free kick was parried by Otte and Bedlington cleared their lines.

Chilton thought he had given his side the lead on 78 minutes. McAndrew’s cross from the right reached Anderson at the back post and his effort bounced of the keeper to Chilton five yards out, but he headed into the ground and the ball bounced over the bar.

Morpeth’s pressure finally told eight minutes from time.

Nellis cleared the ball for the visitors to Novak, who passed to Sayer on the left. The midfielder cut inside, beating three defenders in the process, before unleashing a low strike into the bottom left hand corner.

The remaining minutes were played out comfortably by the home side.

Three points for the Highwaymen, which sees the side remain undefeated in the league after seven games, an excellent start to the season by Nick Gray’s men.