Alnwick Town...0 Morpeth Town...3
STL Northern League, Division Two
THERE was little festive joy for Alnwick Town as they lost 3-0 to Morpeth Town on Boxing Day.
It could have been a different story though, had the St James’ Park side not extended the season of goodwill by gifting their Northumberland neighbours two goals and even scoring another for them.
This Christmas cracker of a fixture was always going to be a tough task for an Alnwick side who had lost two of their last three matches – albeit coming into the December 26 encounter on the back of a 2-1 home win over Chester-le-Street.
The hosts were also missing captain Bryan Murray, who was serving a one-match suspension – giving Chris Moffett a place in the first team – and welcomed a Morpeth side who have climbed to the higher reaches of Division Two following a slow start to the season and were unbeaten in their last four matches.
A good crowd turned out for the festive fixture and the early exchanges were fairly even.
The first real chance fell to Alnwick after 24 minutes. Jon Colley charged down a back-pass and attempted a sliding tackle to reach the ball.
Morpeth keeper Steven Mundy missed the ball only for Alnwick to see it miss the goal.
A minute later, Morpeth nearly profited from Alnwick stopper Jamie Walton’s poor clearance but he made up for it by pulling off a point-blank save.
Morpeth did take the lead in the 35th minute.
Following a defensive mix-up and failure to clear, Gary Patterson stopped the ball on the line but when he went to clear the ball, it spun back and, carried by the wind, it found its way into the net (0-1).
Alnwick deserved to equalise and came within inches of doing so when Tom McPherson’s shot went through a packed area and was stopped on the line by Morpeth’s Shaun Henderson.
The hosts went into the interval one-goal down – unlucky to be behind at the break in a game spoilt by the conditions and mainly played in midfield.
Shortly after half-time, Alnwick had another chance to level the score as Kris Willis broke clear from a good cross-field pass and, with only the keeper to beat, he decided to chip, only for Mundy to read it and catch the ball.
Morpeth increased their lead with 20 minutes to go.
Alnwick full-back Kieran Hogg was robbed and Connor Andrews slotted the ball cross-field to Ashley McAlpine, who scored with the easiest of tasks (0-2).
The home side changed their line-up by bringing on Ben Keenan, Chris Kidd and Jake Lowes
But they were unable to find a lifeline and Morpeth wrapped up the points in the 90th minute, when substitute David Dormand broke clear and converted to make it 3-0.
Alnwick had their chances but failed to take them as Morpeth made sure they took theirs, with Alnwick’s help.
Alnwick: Walton, Iredale, Hogg (Keenan), Moffett, McPherson, Patterson, Willis (Kidd), Brown, McFarlane, Colley (Lowes), Catlow. Subs: Brooks, Hodge.
Alnwick’s next match is away to North Shields. The Division Two fixture is on Monday, kick-off 1pm.