MORPETH TOWN 3
Sean Taylor was the hero for Morpeth Town as they came from a goal down to defeat local rivalsAshington at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday afternoon.
Former Town midfielder Paul Dunn had given the Colliers a 1-0 lead after 3 minutes in a half that the home side thoroughly dominated.
Roles were reversed after the break with the Highwaymen bossing proceeding, Taylor netting a second half hat-trick to secure three points and close the gap to Shildon at the top of the Northern League Division One.
Manager Nicky Gray was forced into one change from the side that beat West Allotment Celtic a week ago, Niall Harrison replacing Karl Dryden in the Morpeth goal.
But it was a disastrous start for the visitors as the Colliers opened the scoring in the third minute of the game. After failing to clear a corner, the ball fell to Kyle Downey whose 25 yard effort fell kindly in to the path of Dunn who turned sharply before firing low past Harrison from 12 yards out.
The lead was almost doubled two minutes later, Chris Moore found Andrew Johnson from the left, Johnson playing a neat one-two with Michael Bell before hitting an effort from just inside the area off the crossbar and over.
The Highwaymen did not help themselves in the opening 10 minutes, unable to string passes together and losing possession cheaply. With 8 minutes gone James Novak was dispossessed by Dylan Williamson who strode into the Morpeth penalty area, denied by an onrushing Harrison. The rebound fell onto the head of Moore who guided an effort just wide.
Ashington were fully in the ascendency and it looked a matter of time before they would double their lead. Williamson broke down the right flank below firing a cross low through the six yard box, a diving Shaun Henderson denying Moore a tap-in.
With 20 minutes gone the Colliers went close once more. Ben Christensen over hitting his right wing cross, Johnson with the pull-back to Moore, who couldn’t hit the target from an acute angle.
At the other end some good play down the left from Lee McAndrew provided a chance for Taylor to level, but he skied his effort from inside the Ashington 18-yard box.
Morpeth began to come into the game for the first time, Novak again providing an excellent cross from the left this time, but just over the head of Jordan Fry.
Ben Sayer went close on 32 minutes when his header hit the side netting.
With just a few minute remaining in the first period, the hosts went close to adding to their lead.
Another corner was only half-cleared, again Downey picking the ball up on the edge of the area, powering an effort millimetres over the crossbar and at the break it remained 1-0.
As disappointing as the first half was from a Morpeth perspective, the second showed why the Highwaymen are flying in the league. It took just four minutes for Taylor to open his account for the day.
McAndrew was played in down the right by Keith Graydon, tricking his way past Paul Weldon to the by-line. He clipped a cross towards the penalty spot where Taylor was waiting to head home past Conor Grant.
Three minute later the Highwaymen almost took the lead with a carbon copy of their first. This time it was Fry who broke down the right before crossing to Chilton, the striker unable to test the ‘keeper with his diving header.
In the 62nd minute Morpeth’s second half pressure finally told as the visitors took the lead with a stunning strike. Sayer picked up the ball on left wing. He could inside onto his right before finding Taylor 35 yards out. The striker took a touch before pile-driving his long range effort into Grant’s top left hand corner.
The Ashington goal continued to come under siege at 2-1, Sayer combining well with Novak and Taylor to find space in the penalty area, his effort was destined for the bottom left hand corner, Grant sticking a hand out at the last second to turn round the post.
Taylor completed his hat-trick in the 76th minute, Novak winning the ball on halfway, finding Chilton on the left who in turn slid the ball to Taylor who glided past Matthew Grieve and prodded the ball into the bottom right hand corner under the left hand of Grant.