Taylor hat-trick sees Morpeth get better of Ashington

Morpeth Town midfielder Sean Taylor scoring his second goal during the 3-1 win over Ashington. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Morpeth Town midfielder Sean Taylor scoring his second goal during the 3-1 win over Ashington. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Sean Taylor bagged a second half hat-trick to extend Morpeth’s unbeaten start to their Northern League campaign to nine matches.

At the same time Ashington suffered their second home reverse of the season.

The cliché of a game two halves was never more evident than at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday.

Colliers boss Steve Harmison, who lambasted his outfit following their dismal display at Seaham a week earlier, got the right response in the opening half.

His outfit bossed the first period, took an early lead, and missed chances to increase their advantage.

Clearly in the ascendancy, it was a half which they did not want to end.

Visitors Morpeth came out for the second period and from the first whistle they were transformed as Taylor tore them apart.

After only 58 seconds, Dylan Williamson found Michael Bell and it took a vital interception from Chris Swailes to clear.

But in the third minute Paul Dunn gave his side the lead with his first goal of the campaign.

Kyle Downey’s effort fell to Dunn who from 14 yards turned and fired wide of keeper Niall Harrison.

It was just the start the home side wanted, and it could have got even better when a minute later a shot from fully 25 yards by skipper Andrew Johnson skimmed the top of the bar.

With Ashington in full flow, the sprawling Harrison was forced to deny Williamson, then a move involving Bell, Chris Moore and Williamson saw the latter’s cross cleared in the nick of time by Shaun Henderson.

On the quarter hour, Johnson did well to turn Ben Christensen’s cross back into the middle with Bell missing the target, then a lovely move ended with Johnson’s glancing header narrowly missing the far post.

Taylor had Morpeth’s first opening, slicing over, then Swailes headed off target from a Novak corner.

A long range snap shot by Taylor had Conor Grant scampering across his goal but the half ended as it had begun with the home side forcing the pace.

And a minute before the interval, a drive from Downey was just too high following a corner on the left by Johnson.

But three minutes into the second period the Highwaymen equalised.

McAndrew delivered a cross from the right for Taylor to beat Grant with a downward header from seven yards.

Michael Chilton placed an effort over then on the hour a cross from McAndrew saw Grant bravely block a certain score from Jordan Fry.

On 62 minutes, the home side conceded possession and paid a heavy price after Ben Sayer had slipped the ball through with Taylor taking full advantage.

Taylor duly fired his side in front with a sublime finish from 25 yards, his right footer beating the despairing outstretched hand of Grant.

The keeper thwarted Sayer, saving with his foot, before Taylor completed his hat-trick with quarter of an hour remaining.

James Novak and Chilton combined to set up Taylor who skipped past Grieve then stabbed the ball wide of the home stopper and inside the post.

Ashington responded with substitute Joe Race latching onto a through ball from Christensen, but when he crossed Bell put his header into the side netting.

In the 78th minute, Race went closer still when he steered his shot past the advancing Harrison but the retrieving David Hiftle made an astonishing clearance off the line.

Ashington: Grant, Christensen, Weldon, Dunn (Williams 30), (Race 73), Atkin, Grieve, Moore, Downey, Williamson, Bell, Johnson. Subs not used: Quinn, B Harmison, Thompson.

Morpeth Town: Harrison, Henderson, Novak, Sayer, Swailes, Hiftle, Taylor, Graydon, McAndrew (Anderson 84), Chilton (Taggart 81), Fry. Subs not used: Carr, Nellis, Forster.

Attendance: 320

Ashington now face two home matches inside four days. On Saturday they are at home to West Auckland (3pm), then they face title chasing Guisborough on Tuesday, September 29, 7.45pm.