Chilton hat-trick puts Morpeth through to last 16 of FA Vase

Morpeth Town went through to the last 16 of the FA Vase for the first time in their history on Saturday.

Having being drawn away four times in the previous rounds, Town had the benefit of home advantage against Westfields Hereford of the Midlands Alliance League.

Manager Nick Gray, who had made a 600-mile round trip to watch the opposition in midweek, had a full strength squad to choose from with the exception of centre back Wayne Buchannan, who was still suffering the effects of a hamstring strain sustained against Spennymoor two weeks ago.

The match, which had been in doubt right up until 4pm on the Friday afternoon due to the weather conditions, kicked off on a heavy pitch in front of a crowd in excess of 400.

The home side were first to show when Foster picked up a ball from Taylor and sent in a cross which striker Chilton just failed to connect with.

Then within the space of two minutes Town had two excellent chances, the first through Taylor when he followed up on a half clearance from Westfield defender Jackson to send in a hard low drive from 15 yards which visiting keeper Gwynne did well to hold.

The second chance came following a flowing move involving Anderson and Jordan Fry down the left which ended with Chilton having his shot blocked on the line by Jackson.

Foster was causing problems for the visitors with his pace down the right, and following a scintillating run and cross Chilton headed just over.

Westfields at this stage were growing into the game and it became obvious they were a good footballing side with Haywood and Jones playing some neat interchanging football in the middle of the park with striker Thomas always looking dangerous on the break.

The deadlock, however, was broken in the 34th minute when Hiftle broke down the right and sent in a superb cross with Chilton meeting it perfectly with a looping header which cleared the outstretched arms of Gwynne.

Then just before half-time Taylor broke through the middle at pace to pull clear of the visiting defence to put himself one-on-one with Gwynne which ended with him trying a chip, with the keeper guessing right and parrying the shot.

The second half saw Westfield come out with renewed enthusiasm with Jones outstanding in a number of flowing moves which had Town under a lot of pressure.

It took skipper Jewels and Hall to be at their best to keep them at bay.

Then on the hour Town had a slice of luck when a shot from Jones from the right hit the inside of keeper Steve Mundy’s right hand post before being cleared by Jewels.

Then it took a brave final interception by Jewels which ended up with him being injured and a headed clearance off the line by Taylor to maintain the home side’s lead.

Then Mundy in the home goal had to pull off a great one handed save to deny the dangerous Jones after he let fly with a 20-yard drive from the right.

Town, however, began to play themselves back into the match and they were unlucky not to increase their lead when Taylor thought he had scored only to be caught marginally offside.

But they did increase their advantage soon after following good interplay between Henderson and Taylor saw the latter go clear on the right before putting in a tantalising cross for Chilton to head across goal and into the net.

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Westfields and Morpeth piled on the pressure to make it 3-0 when the powerful Henderson broke into the box on the right before crossing to Chilton who side-footed home for his hat trick.

After the match Town manager Gray paid tribute to the work that had gone on behind the scenes by the committee to get the game on.

He also made special mention to the Sporting Morpeth Juniors who came along in numbers to support the club..

“The lads gave their all today against a strong Westfield side,” he said.

“We now await the draw and at this stage we are confident no matter who we get in the next round.”

Town’s next match is at home to Marske Utd on Saturday in a Northern league game, kick-off 3pm at Craik Park.