Baptists face relegation battle after defeat

Stockton Churches Portrack 4 Morpeth Baptist Church 3 North East Christian Fellowship Premier Division

MORPETH Baptist Church travelled to high-flying Stockton for the second of their three encounters within a month.

On a bright yet cool morning, Morpeth Baptist Church were forced into a last-minute kit change after the referee complained of a colour clash.

After lengthy discussions and with common sense not prevailing, Morpeth Baptist Church bizarrely were forced to wear the home side’s second strip.

The game eventually began with an open match of quick counter attacking football. Both sides’ defences held strong and the score remained 0-0 at the break.

Early in the second half, the home side broke the deadlock with a route-one goal. But Morpeth Baptist Church quickly got back into it with a whipped corner from Lavender, which was met by the rising Johnson to level the scores with his head.

The home side, who have only lost once this season and are second in the league, kept the pressure on and after creating a number of chances eventually beat keeper Cooper on his near-post.

Morpeth Baptist Church put Brown and Chambers upfront and it was the latter who won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Up stepped Johnson to strike home into the bottom right corner to level the scores again.

Now Morpeth had the bit between their teeth and immediately Carmichael bombed down the right wing and crossed a sweeping ball into the box for the arriving Johnson to leap for a second header into the top right-hand corner to complete his hat-trick.

With 10 minutes remaining, Morpeth tried to set up defensively to hold on for the three points but the pressure piled on and Stockton levelled the scores with five minutes left.

The home team pushed forward to gain the win and were awarded a corner. The ball came in and was scrambled into the net but a clear push on defender Dewhirst was not seen by the referee. The goal was awarded and with that all three points went to Stockton.

Morpeth now find themselves in a relegation battle as they fight to retain their place in the Premier Division. But before that, they face the same Stockton side, back at Pegswood, in the second round of the League Cup.

Team: D Cooper, A Elliott, B Dewhirst, S Bird, P Fletcher, A Carmichael, D Johnson, T Brown, T Lavender (C Snowball), M Chambers (T Quincey), L Tanney (R Garbutt).