Morpeth work hard to hold league leaders Matlock
Morpeth extended their recent good run of form to two defeats in 16 games with a draw against league leaders Matlock Town at Craik Park on Saturday, writes Sam Donovan.
Chances were at a premium for both sides with Jeff Henderson going closest for the Highwaymen and whilst Alex Wilkes went closest for the Gladiators.
Morpeth made the brighter start and topscorer, Andrew Johnson cut in from the left flank but saw his curling strike deflect over the bar with a deflection coming off a defender’s head.
From the resulting corner, Ryan Donaldson was bundled over on the edge of the box and after an age, a free kick was given despite a good advantage unfolding. The free kick from Johnson was blocked by the wall.
As the game wore on, the away side started to threaten more. Alex Wiles skewed an effort wide of the far post when well placed after Matlock had broke forward on 23 minutes.
Ryan Qualter then headed wide from a free kick on 25 minutes as the away side began to assert their structured approach on the game.
With the game approaching half time, the Gladiators saw three efforts blocked with Alex Bryne denied twice by Sam Hodgson before Matthew Sargent also saw his shot stopped.
Liam Hughes then glanced a header wide for the visitors in first half stoppage time as Matlock looked to go ahead at the interval.
Morpeth began the second half on top with a higher intensity and forcing Matlock to defend deeper.
On 65 minutes, Joe Walton advanced down the right and fizzed in a low cross that was turned behind by the defence.
The clearest chance of the second half came in the 70th minute as a corner caused havoc in the Matlock box. It dropped to Micky Turner who went for a back heel but Liam Hughes was on hand to clear the ball away.
Despite Morpeth continuing to press and get into good positions, they were unable to test Paul Cooper in the Matlock goal despite their dominance in the second half.
After the game, manager Craig Lynch said: “The lads put in a great shift. They have worked really hard and now we look forward to the final 16 games of the season.”
Morpeth are next in action on Saturday when they travel to Warrington in the next round of the FA Trophy.