Team Northumbria 1-2 Morpeth Town
Mark Davison came off the bench to claim all three points as his cameo ensured victory at Team Northumbria.
In a game that failed to come to life until the closing stages, Sean Taylor looked to have given his side the win with a 75th minute strike. But Josh Bynoe – a sub himself – equalised six minutes later before Davison’s late intervention two minutes after that.
With Joe Walton forced to settle for a place on the bench after failing to shake off the ill-effects of the injury sustained at Washington, Luke Carr was given the chance as part of a forward three alongside Liam Henderson and Wayne Phillips in blustery conditions.
It took until the 26th minute for either side to set the pulses racing, but Taylor couldn’t find a way past Team Northumbria stopper Stefan Holden. After Henderson’s shot across goal found Taylor at the back post, the latter could only hit the sprawling Holden with the goal gaping.
Team Northumbria were competent and organised, looking to break quickly. One of those counters nearly lead to the first goal of the game in the 36th minute. But Angelos Eleftheriadis’ rocket of a shot was pushed clear by the full-stretch Karl Dryden.
Morpeth, for all their possession, were finding clear-cut opportunities hard to come by. But Phillips created one of his own following a neat 42nd minute turn on the ball on the byline. After leaving his marker in his wake, the forward could only find the side-netting from a tight angle.
Team Northumbria came flying out of the blocks at the start of the second half, with Ben Dibb-Fuller counting himself unlucky not to break the deadlock with a rasping drive from the edge of the box on 46 minutes.
Having been shaken somewhat, Town stepped it up a gear and should have lead through Taylor in the 55th minute. But his back-post header, following a pinpoint Keith Graydon cross, went across goal without hitting the target.
Frustrations were starting to build in the Highwaymen ranks as they struggled to break down a well-drilled opposition with Team Northumbria looking for one golden opportunity.
One of those arrived in the 65th minute with a free-kick 25 yards out, but Dibb-Fuller’s effort flew inches past the post with Dryden a spectator.
Phillips got in behind the home rearguard but his toe-ended shot was smothered by Holden as both sides went in search of what was looking increasingly like the only goal of the game.
That opening goal arrived on 75 minutes courtesy of the ever-reliable Taylor. Scoring his 11th goal of the season – making him joint-top Town scorer – the midfielder, after gathering Stephen Turnbull’s ball out wide, stormed into the area from the left and slotted the ball into the far corner.
The sheer relief for the visitors was summed up by Phillips’ fist pump toward the crowd as the team celebrated.
That merely preceded a manic two-minute spell where both sides traded goals, sub Josh Bynoe slotting into an empty net on 81 minutes prior to Davison – just off the bench – heading past Holden to restore Morpeth’s lead.
Another vicious Dibb-Fuller free-kick created a moment of panic as it flew just past the far post for the hosts.
But Morpeth held firm to claim three hard-earned points, a theme of matches of late in difficult conditions, and a fourth win on the spin.