Morpeth Town enjoy big win at FC United of Manchester while women progress in cup
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Town were yet to win on the road this season but triumphed 5-2 in Manchester to push them up the Pitching In NPL Premier Division table.
Vinnie Steels, a Michael Turner brace, Jack Foalle, and Andrew Johnson all notched to surpass efforts from the hosts by Jan Palinkas and Luke Griffiths.
The Highwaymen were stretched resource-wise for this one, with Chris Reid injured, Josh King and Connor Thomson both out on loan, and Liam Noble and Jeff Henderson suspended.
This certainly didn’t help their cause as they fell behind almost immediately to Palinkas’ early strike. The defender, in only the second minute, drifted off a gaggle of players competing for a delivery into the Morpeth box to control with one touch and smash home from six yards to give his side the advantage.
The worst possible start for the visitors, they showed their trademark resilience to respond with an equalising goal on nine minutes from Steels who latched on to a woeful ball across the defensive line by Charlie Oliver to slot a shot between the keeper’s legs and restore parity.
Although FC United were enjoying a consistent flow of set-pieces into the box, Jake Charles among those to spurn aerial opportunities, in truth keeper Dan Lowson had very little to do.
Then came a frantic, and damaging, three-minute spell just before half-time that saw the Highwaymen – seeking to erase a defeat against FC last week that saw them 4-1 down at half-time – go into the interval 3-1 to the good.
Turner was the unlikely source of goals. The first saw him beat keeper Patrick Boyes to an in-swinging Will Jenkins free-kick to nod in from 14 yards, before getting free, thanks to shoddy near post marking from Griffiths, to glance a third in on 43 minutes.
Needing a response in the second half, the home side certainly delivered it with a goal to reduce the arrears on 55 minutes. Captain Griffiths was the man to get it, side-footing a shot off the inside of the post after Michael Donohue had got the better of the hugely impressive Ryan Wombwell, on this rare occasion, on the byline.
The next goal was going to be crucial and, thankfully, it went the way of the Highwaymen with a little bit of luck helping it on its way to Foalle to score on 61 minutes. The forward was able to put the ball into the empty net after Liam Miller’s long hoisted ball forward was spilled by Boyes, with Sam Hodgson smuggling it right to Foalle to add the final touch.
FC were rarely creating too much nuisance in the Morpeth box as they sought a way back into the game. Instead, it would be the visitors who’d add gloss to the scoreline through substitute Johnson.
Scoring his sixth goal of the season, AJ cut inside two tired challenges on 86 minutes to slot a low drive into the bottom corner and seal a superb win for Morpeth.
The Highwaymen host Macclesfield on Saturday at Craik Park.
Meanwhile, Morpeth Town Ladies won 3-2 against Cramlington Town Ladies in the County Cup.