By Dave Rhodes
Morpeth Town provided the opposition at the Look Local stadium today. The 2016 FA Vase winners and league leaders will certainly be a tough nut to crack as Steels look to build on an impressive away victory last time out.
The early stages of the game were even stevens really as both teams tested each other with decent passages play.
Steels can feel unfortunate they were not awarded a penalty when Ruthven was held back in the box and Litchfields one v one was a golden chance to take the lead on 16 minutes after a great Crossfield pass from Swinburn, with Dan Lowson the away keeper, saving with his legs.
Under blustery conditions Morpeth now seemed to settle better and play, picking out pockets and avenues of attacking moves creating numerous opportunities to score.
Steels held firm, looked compact and organised and again were a threat on the break, but a cruel blow on 37 minutes when a long ball from back to front found the home sides back four flat and Liam Henderson, Morpeths burly centre forward, free to bear down on goal. Steels could consider themselves a bit unlucky when the dive at Hendersons feet by Adam Kelsey was seen as a foul. The penalty was dispatched down the middle by the impressive David Carson.
Half Time: SPS 0 – 1 Morpeth Town
At one nil Steels were still it and with a low key opening 10 minutes or so for both sides the game was there for either who wanted to take the initiative. But it was the away side who started to control proceedings with composed, intelligent movement and well drilled passing phases, that Steels found hard to compete against.
On 55 minutes it was Carson who was allowed to run across the 18 yard box who fired in a low cross shot that beat Kelseys right hand, nestling into the corner of the net.
Two nil down and backs against the wall for Steels Morpeth were now starting to show their class and exactly why they are top of the league.
Joe Waltons fine right wing cross found Henderson at the far post who didn’t miss the opportunity as he headed past the helpless Kelsey from close range.
Steels were chasing shadows for the most part of the second half with limited chances to threaten Lowson the away keeper, but at least kept going to a man.
Tired legs, tired minds, Steels couldn’t effect nor get close to a top drawer side as substitute Walton was left free to head home from a right wing corner 8 yards out.
The game ended with a 0 – 4 score line, some may say the score flattered the away side, maybe so, but as a learning curve for many Steels young players it was a priceless experience they can undoubtedly reflect on once the dusts settles.
Full Time SPS 0 – 4 Morpeth Town