A depleted Morpeth Town lose to league leaders Radcliffe after going ahead twice

Morpeth Town lead twice against league leaders Radcliffe before losing to a late goal. Picture: George DavidsonMorpeth Town lead twice against league leaders Radcliffe before losing to a late goal. Picture: George Davidson
Morpeth Town lead twice against league leaders Radcliffe before losing to a late goal. Picture: George Davidson
A late Jordan Hulme goal saw Morpeth Town slip to a 3-2 loss at home to league leaders Radcliffe, despite a whole-hearted display from the Highwaymen.

All the goals came in the second half, with Morpeth leading twice – through Will Jenkins and Jack Foalle – but being pegged back on both occasions through Hulme and Jude Oyibo. Hulme then struck decisively late on.

Town headed into the encounter with a squad stretched to its limits, with only three substitutes as midfielder Liam Noble dropped out through illness and Danny Barlow failed a fitness test on his groin.

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Facing runaway Pitching In NPL Premier Division leaders Radcliffe, the Highwaymen set about their task with diligence and composure, restricting the visitors to few chances in the first half.

The best of those came on 18 minutes when Oyibo drove down the left flank and pulled the ball back for Josh Hancock, who had to score from 12 yards out but instead hit the foot of the post.

Jenkins then cleared an effort off the line on 22 minutes as the away side enjoyed a spell of dominance.

The home side grew into the contest as the first half wore on and created their most notable chance on 40 minutes, when Chris Reid was played in on the left side of the box.

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His fiercely struck rising drive was pushed over the top by Radcliffe stopper Mateusz Hewelt. They’d go even closer to breaking the deadlock on the stroke of half time, but Jeff Henderson’s goal-bound header was cleared off the line by Oyibo.

With the game finely poised at the interval, Morpeth came out of the traps the quicker and took the lead almost immediately through Jenkins.

The midfielder, scoring his second goal of the campaign, latched on to a loose clearance in the box, created a yard of space to shoot before drilling a low shot into the far corner.

That lead would last just three minutes as the visitors restored parity. Oyibo, a constant source of danger who had been covered well by Josh Robson up to this point, played a low ball across the box for Hulme to slot in.

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In a frantic six-minute spell, the Highwaymen got their noses in front once more, this time through Foalle’s third goal of the season. The chance came from good work by Vinnie Steels, the winger delivering a perfect in-swinging delivery for Foalle to nod in on 51 minutes.

Radcliffe’s Nicky Adams was denied by a fine one-handed stop by Town keeper Dan Lowson on 57 minutes and Andrew Johnson saw his shot on the turn pushed away by Hewelt four minutes later as both sides saw the importance of the next goal.

It would go to Oyibo, who stepped in off the left flank on 66 minutes to drill a low shot past Lowson and drag his side back on level terms.

Then came the winner. With Radcliffe breaking quickly on 87 minutes, Hulme created a yard of space on the edge of the area to turn and fire past Lowson and give his side all three points.

Stoppage time saw Oyibo denied superbly by Lowson and Robson loop a header on to the roof of the net.

Town play Ilkeston Town at Craik Park on Saturday.