Morpeth Town bounce back from big defeat to put three past struggling Stafford Rangers
The Highwaymen made a handful of changes from the side that was taken apart by Worksop Town earlier in the week, looking to bounce back from the 7-0 defeat in Nottinghamshire.
In came Chris Reid, Josh Robson, Andrew Johnson and Jack Foalle, as manager Craig Lynch sought a reaction from his team. And they certainly delivered.
The game started with their struggling hosts using the height of striker Nathan Blissett to good effect, their direct style of play nearly exclusively relying on his aerial presence.
On 21 minutes a ball into the Stafford box was looped back across goal by Robson. Sam Hodgson looked like he was shoved over at the far post as the ball wormed back into the six-yard box for Reid to nod home. The referee, though, called it back for the ball going out of play to chalk off the goal.
An even game ebbed and flowed without either keeper being really tested.
Then, on 41 minutes, the Highwaymen came close to breaking the deadlock through Middlesbrough loanee Fenton John. The midfielder, in his last game of his loan spell, darted forward through a congested midfield area before driving low. However, Stafford keeper Cam Belford gathered at the second attempt.
Morpeth scored on the stroke of half time through Johnson.
The forward, netting his ninth goal of the campaign, latched on to a tame clearance from Stafford to smash a low shot into the back of the net.
The hosts came out fast at the start of the second half as they went in search of an equaliser.
Despite an increase in the pressure, Morpeth stayed resolute and scored a second on 62 minutes through Liam Noble. A raking cross-field ball was chested down by Foalle, with Will Jenkins running on to it before returning the ball to Foalle. He teed up Noble to rifle a low shot past Belford.
Morpeth’s third came on 71 minutes.
Noble sprayed a ball wide for Foalle. The winger fed Jenkins, who slipped a through ball to John and he slammed a shot into the roof of the net.
The Highwaymen played league leaders Radcliffe on Tuesday.