By Andrew McDonnell (@AndrewMcDonnell)
Liam Henderson’s second-half strike turned out to be the decider as Morpeth Town edged out 2-1 winners against Consett at Craik Park.
The Highwaymen went into the break with the lead after Ryan McKinnon turned Paul Robinson’s drilled cross into his own net in additional time.
Consett came out a different side and struck the post just before the hour mark through Michael Sweet.
Henderson calmly slotted under the ‘keeper with 10 minutes to go before Sweet scored a consolation for the visitors deep into injury time at the end of the game.
Morpeth move onto Saturday’s game with North Shields in the FA Cup after a win in their first home game of the season.
The Highwaymen came into the game following a disappointing result against Newcastle Benfield on Saturday, and the hosts thought they broke the deadlock on 15 minutes.
Keith Graydon’s free-kick sailed into the box and Henderson headed past the sprawled ‘keeper, but the linesman had his flag up and the goal didn’t stand.
Henderson forced the ‘keeper into making a fine save two minutes later, as his shot across goal was pushed around the post.
The forward thought he had broken the deadlock
Both sides frustrated one another as such, but Michael Chilton probably should have put the hosts ahead on 27 minutes.
A neat passage of play saw James Novak break through into the box, and the defender crossed for Chilton, but the forward glanced his header wide.
Graydon had a further chance when he curled over seven minutes before the break, but the breakthrough came into injury time at the end of the half.
Robinson drove forward and left his marker behind, the midfielder drilled a cross low and McKinnon slid in at the near post and put into his own net.
Consett came out after the break rejuvenated, having only had one shot on target throughout the first 45 minutes.
Luke Sullivan failed to test Karl Dryden before the Steelmen came within inches of finding an equaliser.
Sweet connected brilliantly with an in-swinging cross, and he hooked the ball onto the foot of the post, and to Morpeth’s relief, the ball was cleared.
The visitors were on top and began to turn the screw, but they continued to fail to hit the target as Sullivan missed a brilliant chance when he headed wide unmarked.
Chris Reid glanced Sean Taylor’s cross just wide, but the Highwaymen found a much-needed second goal to settle a nervous crowd.
Substitute Steven Anderson drove forward and rolled the ball through to Henderson, who opened his body and slid the ball under the oncoming ‘keeper.
The action wasn’t over, Craggs struck a free-kick in a glorious position over the bar six minutes before the end, but Consett did get a goal deep into injury time.
Sweet, who had scored five goals in three games prior to the match, headed home a corner from close range.
However, with seconds remaining, Morpeth kicked off and no sooner had they done that, the referee blew his whistle to confirm the hosts’ first points of the new season.
Morpeth: Dryden, Mullen, Novak, Fry, Swailes, Reid, Taylor, Graydon (Fondato, 73 min), Henderson, Chilton (Anderson, 73 min), Robinson (Forster, 66 min)
Subs Not Used: Carr, Hall
Consett: MacDonald, Hawkins (Nellis, 73 min), Lavery (Ryder, 48 min), Kay, McKinnon, Slocombe, Stafford (Knowles, 90 min), Craggs, Sweet, Sullivan, Teasdale
Subs Not Used: Male, Young
Goals: 1-0, 45+1 min, McKinnon (O/G); 2-0, 80 min, Henderson; 2-1, 90+5 min, Sweet.
Referee: Shane Sugden
Assistants: David Pill and Chris Joyce