Facing their sternest test of the season so far, Morpeth Town came through with flying colours as they pushed FA Vase holders Spennymoor Town all way on Saturday.
League champions in three of the last four seasons and favourites to retain the FA Vase this year, Spennymoor needed a scrambled goal ten minutes from time to rescue a point.
Playing up the slope the resolute Morpeth defence, expertly marshalled by captain Chris Jewels, were easily able to contain Spennymoor’s potent attackers.
When they did find space in the box, Morpeth keeper Mundy’s expert handling denied Phillips, Cogden and Henderson.
Ten minutes from half-time with the ball running away from goal, Cogden went down in the box with Mundy adjudged to have impeded him.
From the resulting penalty Henderson drove the ball hard and low towards then right hand corner where Mundy flung himself across the gaol and was able to divert the ball onto the crossbar before completing an exceptional save.
Level at the interval, Morpeth started the second half full of confidence as they started to take the game to their opponents.
The breakthrough came on 65 minutes.
Spennymoor conceded possession in midfield and the Highway Men quickly broke forward.
Forsters stretched the home defence before playing the ball into Chilton whose clever lay-off found Taylor in space on the right. He cut inside and drove the ball past Jefferies in the home goal to give Morpeth the lead.
Stung into action Spennymoor launched wave after wave of attack at the Morpeth goal, Henderson shot wide and a deflected free kick by sub Keith Graydon was saved by Mundy.
Moors were celebrating when they restored parity as Daniel Moore’s header was saved by Mundy at full stretch but top scorer Henderson reacted first to force the ball home from close range in the 82nd minute.
Lambert then made a strong run into the box but he went down too easily, Henderson had a weak effort saved under the bar by Mundy and a corner by Graydon was met brilliantly by Henderson with a bullet header that was cleared off the line.
The Highway Men were able to see out time to claim a creditable and fully deserved point.
Morpeth Town: Mundy, Hiftle, Robinson, Hall (Henderson), Jewels, Buchanan (Dunn), Taylor, Fry (Lancaster), Forster, Chilton, Keenan.
Techflow Group Qatar man of the match: Sean Taylor
Next up for the Highway Men are Hebburn Town at Craik Park on Saturday.
The Highway Men then play their biggest game for over a decade when Hereford-based Westfields FC are the opponents in the fourth round of the FA Carlsberg Vase. Kick-off at Craik Park on Saturday, January 18, is 3pm.
Victory will see the Highway Men reach the last 16 for the first time in their history and put them only three matches away from a final appearance at Wembley.