Northumberland Senior Cup Final
MORPETH TOWN 2-0 BLYTH SPARTANS
By Jack Bramley
A goal at the start of each half condemned Spartans to defeat to Morpeth Town in the Northumberland Senior Cup Final at St James’ Park.
Graham Fenton named a rotated line up for the match, with the final game of the season against Hereford on the horizon in mind. Choosing to give Jay Errington his 3rd start in green and white and giving crucial minutes to Richardson, Gillies, Round, and Dopson.
Within the first 2 minutes, Morpeth Town stole possession from Matty Elsdon and sent Donaldson through on goal, with just the keeper to beat, he failed to change the score line, hitting the post.
Blyth’s clean sheet didn’t last for long though as on the 5th minute of play, former Spartan Sam Fishburn received a long ball from the right in the box, took a touch, and got a shot away which Blyth blocked for a corner. The resulting corner was delivered perfectly onto the head of Jeff Henderson who buried his header into the top corner.
Another former Spartan, Connor Thompson was causing a nuisance for youngster Matthew Dopson down the left wing during the duration of the game too, in the 13th minute he skipped past Dopson and played a ball across the box towards Donaldson who went down in the box, penalty claims were waived away by the referee.
Blyth’s first chance of the evening came in the 17th minute when Matthew Dopson managed to make his way into an area of space on the right side of Morpeth’s box and played it to Michael Richardson on the edge of the area, Richardson pounced at the opportunity but unfortunately his shot went over the target.
The game slowed down for the next 15 minutes, becoming a bit of a battle in the middle. In the 32nd minute, Spellman crossed in a fantastic ball to Errington, who won the ball, and it went up in the air towards JJ O’Donnell who tried a spectacular overhead kick which went straight into the hands of Lowson in the Morpeth goal.
A similar situation presented itself just 2 minutes later when Spellman put in yet another cross from the left hand side which this time was missed by all the players in the box but was picked up by a lurking JJ O’Donnell, the ball came to him at an excellent angle and position in the box that he had the time and space to angle up a shot, when it came to pulling the trigger, unfortunately he fluffed his lines and sent the ball flying over the Morpeth crossbar.
A few minutes later Morpeth nearly double their lead by simply trying what worked earlier again. With an in-swinging corner, Henderson out leaps everybody in the Blyth box and fires a bullet of a header towards Mitchell’s goal, fortunately this time it was saved well by the goalkeeper.
Blyth’s best chance of the first half came in the 44th minute when Will McGowan carried the ball towards the Morpeth box, snaking between defenders and working towards the by line, he managed to get into a prime crossing position but unfortunately the ball bounced off a Blyth player for a Morpeth goal kick. A moment later McGowan received the ball again on the edge of the box and was immediately fouled before he could make a similar move. Blyth’s freekick on the edge of the box was hit against the wall by Gillies and we went into the break, 1-0 down.
Morpeth started the second half similar to how they started the first. A long ball cross into Blyth’s box was pounced upon by Jack Foalle, doubling the Morpeth lead and putting all the pressure on Blyth to respond.
After a period of end to end football where neither side really threatened each other, in the 62nd minute Blyth came close to adding to the scoresheet when Curtis Round worked his way down the left hand side of the pitch, beat a couple of Morpeth defenders and crossed the ball onto the head of Errington who unfortunately couldn’t keep the header down.
The chances that Blyth had started to create had given them a bit of momentum in the game. In the 68th minute Blyth’s attacking line applied pressure to Morpeth’s defence causing a poor back pass to be intercepted by Errington, with just the keeper to beat Errington couldn’t quite get the shot around the keeper who parried it straight to McGowan in the box. McGowan got caught in a moment of indecision whether to play the ball or shoot and in doing so, shot just wide of the post.
After a period of battling for chances in the midfield, in the 83rd minute Michael Spellman managed to collect the ball and drive dangerously towards the Morpeth goal, being stopped only by a strong professional foul by Liam Noble.
In the 88th minute a cross was whipped into the box from the left hand side, a contested Errington managed to win the header and nodded it down to Rhys Evans, Evans shot was low and powerful but was saved well by Lowson at the bottom right corner.
In the dying embers of the game, Round battled for the ball on the left side and managed to create some space for himself to drive into, he played the ball onto the edge of the box which Michael Richardson stormed towards and thundered a rocket straight at the Morpeth goal, unbelievably Lowson tipped it over the bar for a Blyth corner, which came to nothing.
In the end, the game ended with Liam Noble smashing a freekick into the fans for the referee to blow the full time whistle crowning Morpeth champions of the Techflow Marine Northumberland Senior Cup. Blyth now move onto the final game of the season against Hereford in the battle for survival.