Morpeth Survive With Late Equaliser From Glorious Gayner
Steely Performance Earns Machin Man Of The Match
Morpeth welcomed high flying North Shields to Longhirst, looking to carry on building momentum from the previous 2 games. In seasons gone by when the sides had met, it had been a competitive fixture, and this one looked like it was to be no different.
The game started with both sides looking to assert themselves and gain the upper hand. The away side looked to play direct and put Morpeth under pressure. However, the home side played to their strengths and were happy to soak up the pressure and look to hit Shields on the break. Early on there was very little for Morpeth to worry about, the backline of Evan Mulligan, Adrian Dye, Rob Machin and Ian Kendall were very well organised and made life difficult for the North Shields forwards. Meanwhile the Midfield trio of Tom Carmichael, Bruce McPate and David Breakey held firm in the middle of the pitch and stopped any direct attacks. As the half progressed it was evident that the away side began to get frustrated at the lack of opportunity. Morpeth however looked to use this to their advantage and catch the opposition off guard. They were looking the more creative of the sides, particularly when the ball was played from the back to the front through use of Rob Machin’s thunderous hits. The forwards were able to gain possession on a number of occasions, but unfortunately couldn’t find the finishing touch in front of goal. Half time and the game remained goal less, and everything still to play for.
The Longhirst based outfit came out in the second of looking to maintain their impressive levels of discipline and organisation, but more importantly wanting to get themselves in front. Tempers soon boiled over for the opposition as one of their players received a yellow card for dissent. Morpeth now had the clear upper hand and looked to move forward. They nearly broke the deadlock when David Calder found the ball at his feet in the D, and it took a good save from the keeper to deny his reverse sweep from hitting the back board. Not long after, a ball was flashed across goal by skipper Ritchie Brown, however no one was there to get on the end of it. No sooner had North Shields got 11 men back on the pitch, they hit the home side on the break. The ball was hit across the D from the right hand side towards the back post. Keeper Steve Jackson got down to make a smart save and clear, but the ball rebounded straight to the left winger who hammered it in to the net. Keeper Jackson could consider himself desperately unlucky, seeing as he’d had very little to do but also didn’t get the slice of luck needed to avert the goal. Despite the set back, Morpeth knew they could create enough chances to get back into the game. Once again the away side found themselves down to 10 men, with another player being yellow carded. At this point they took full advantage of the numbers game. David Calder found himself on the end of an aerial ball which had bounced up. He in turn skilfully deflected the ball on to Andy Gayner, who drove in to the D and hammered the ball in to the bottom corner. The equaliser gave Morpeth a huge lift as they searched for a winner. Once again North Shields were back to 11 and both teams were going hammer and tongs looking for the goal that would give them 3 points. Then unfortunately moments from the end, Skipper Brown saw Yellow which left Morpeth down to 10. Thankfully this didn’t cost Morpeth too dearly, and as the final whistle blew the game finished 1-1, all in all a fair enough reflection on two sides competing in the top half of the table.
Another solid performance by the 1st XI who are starting to show a level of consistency that will serve them well going forward.
Scorer: Andy Gayner
Man of the Match: Rob Machin
Starting Line Up: Steve Jackson (GK), Adrian Dye, Rob Machin, Ian Kendall, Evan Mulligan, Tom Carmichael, Bruce McPate, David Breakey, Ritchie Brown (C), David Calder, Ian Foster
Subs: Paul Danecki, Andy Gayner