Town’s narrow defeat in season opener

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FOR the first fixture of the new Northern League season, Morpeth Town manager Nick Gray included recent signings ex-Ashington defender Marc Walmsley and former Seaton Delaval Amateurs midfielder Eddie Dines in his 16 man squad.

After an even first five minutes Morpeth were the first to show as an attacking force.

Andrews broke down the left and played in Dormand whose shot from the edge of the box flashed just wide of the near post.

In Washington’s first attack of any substance after good link up play on the left they forced a corner.

Centre forward Johnson directed a powerful header towards the far post where Keenan cleared off the line.

Morpeth full back Wilson gained possession and carried the ball to the half way line where he slid the ball through to Dormand. Striding past the full back Dormand drew the keeper and shot narrowly wide.

With Morpeth in the ascendancy Dormand flicked on a quick free kick and Andrews header narrowly cleared the bar.

On fifteen minutes Keenan pulled up with an injury and was replaced by Stephen Anderson. Washington gained the ball in midfield and won a free kick out on the right.

Richardson fired in a hard low shot round the wall which Hogg did well to turn round the near post.

Morpeth cleared the ball from the resulting corner Wilson played in Dormand who laid the ball into the path of Fry. His diagonal ball picked out McAlpine whose shot at goal was diverted wide by a last ditch challenge by Patterson.

With Morpeth on top Dormand ran onto a defence splitting pass from Fry with Reagan in the Washington goal saving bravely at his feet.

At the start of the second half Washinton gain a free kick 25 yards from goal which Richardson powered narrowly over the bar.

Morpeth played the ball out of defence down the left McAlpine played the ball through to Anderson who with defence appealing for offside dragged his shot wide.

On 55 minutes in a rare Washington attack they won a throw in on the right. Latimer rose and connected with the long throw to divert the ball past Hogg to open the scoring.

For the remainder of the half as Morpeth pressed for the equaliser manager nick Gray introduced new signing Dines for Fry and Patrick for Andrews.

Hall headed just over the bar from an Anderson cross and Anderson narrowly failed to connect with a Dines cross that flashed across the six yard box.

With the game entering stoppage time Hall’s shot was charged down at the far post.

The last chance of the game again fell to Hall whose powerful header from a McAlpine cross agonisingly cleared the bar.

Though disappointed with the result, Gray, who received his UEFA B Licence in the week, could take many positives from the performance and the first league victory of the season can not be far away.

The next home fixture for Morpeth Town is against Alnwick Town on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29.