Morpeth fail to keep the lead as they fall to defeat away against Lancaster City

Danny Barlow was part of the Morpeth team last lost at Lancaster City on Tuesday. Picture: Michael BriggsDanny Barlow was part of the Morpeth team last lost at Lancaster City on Tuesday. Picture: Michael Briggs
Danny Barlow was part of the Morpeth team last lost at Lancaster City on Tuesday. Picture: Michael Briggs
Morpeth Town trailed, led, and trailed again as they slipped to a 3-2 loss at Lancaster City in the Pitching In NPL Premier Division.

A notoriously difficult trip for any side midweek, Lancaster posed a predictably combative and intense problem for the Highwaymen, who fell behind as early as the fifth minute after an uneasy start on Tuesday.

Struggling to close the gaps, particularly down the right-hand side, Charlie Bailey profited by delivering into the box. Town failed to clear their lines and Dom Lawson, the Dolly Blues striker, was on hand to smash through keeper Dan Lowson, who did well to partially block the close-range effort but couldn’t keep it out.

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The Highwaymen started to find their feet in the game thereafter, following a similar pattern to the FC United game a few weeks previously, and struck an equalising goal on 15 minutes through Andrew Johnson.

A floated ball over the defence saw Johnson ghost in behind a static backline to control with one touch and fire across the keeper Andrew Mendes and into the far corner with his next and pull his side level.

Both sides traded half-chances, with Fenton John – who looked a real menace in the first half with his pace down the right flank – sending a dipping effort over the top on 31 minutes before some awkward defending from the visitors saw an Andrew Teague close-range cross deflected behind. From the resulting corner on 43 minutes, a Lancaster header was cleared off the line by Liam Noble.

After starting the first half in the worst possible fashion, Town began the second with the exact opposite by taking the lead on 51 minutes.

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Johnson was once again on target, netting his eighth goal of the campaign so far, latching on to Will Jenkins’ precise through ball to fire into the far corner and give his side the advantage.

Despite looking calm and organised for the following 10 minutes, Town would concede midway through the second half as Lawson grabbed his second of the game, being played into a big pocket of space in the penalty area before firing past an exposed Lowson.

The Highwaymen were putting in plenty of effort but a game lacking fluidity on a heavy pitch saw varying stints of quality from both sides. The away side were struggling to contain their hosts and by the 81st minute they were behind as David Norris struck.

Historically, the number 10 has caused Morpeth problems and so it proved again as he scored the winner. Town failed to deal with a ball down the left flank on the halfway line before clearing without conviction further down the channel.

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From the resulting throw-in, substitute Jake Connelly followed the by-line into the near post before lashing a low cross that Lowson could only palm into the path of Norris to score from yards out.

Despite throwing on Vinnie Steels and Jack Foalle, Town struggled to create anything to worry Mendes in the closing stages and fell to defeat in their last game before an enforced two-week break due to fixture postponements.

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