By Andrew McDonnell (@AndrewSJourno)
Michael Chilton’s first-half goal earned Morpeth Town a spot in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup after a hard-fought victory over North Shields.
The forward helped on Damen Mullen’s strike past the diving ‘keeper on 30 minutes to give the visitors the lead.
A closely-fought second-half saw very little chances occur, with the closest effort coming from Jack Devlin, when he struck across goal and wide with seven minutes left.
Morpeth failed to record a chance in the second-half, but held on for the victory and Colwyn Bay will travel up to Craik Park in the next round of the FA Cup.
After a 3-1 victory over Seaham Red Star in the previous round, Morpeth were looking to get the better of Northern League opposition once more.
It was the hosts who looked a bit sharper in the opening exchanges however, with Karl Dryden having to get down well to save Lee Mason’s strike from the edge of the area.
Marc Lancaster let loose on 14 minutes, but nothing could separate the two sides during a closely fought battle in torrential condition at the Daren Persson Stadium.
The visitors eventually settled into the game, and their first chance came on 27 minutes when a neat bit of play allowed Liam Henderson to burst through on goal.
Chilton nicked the ball ahead of his marker, and the summer-signing took the ball past the oncoming keeper, but his shot flashed across the goal and inches wide of the post.
The Highwaymen created a further chance two minutes later, the ball worked its way to Keith Graydon, who struck an audacious attempt, which sent Kyle Hayes scrambling back to goal.
Hayes managed to tip the shot over the bar, just, and from the resulting corner, Morpeth took the lead in the game.
Mullen received the ball from Ben Sayer and struck a fierce shot at goal, a shot that was on target, but Chilton touched the ball innovatively past the sprawling ‘keeper.
Nick Gray and Dave Malone would have been content with the scoreline at the break, and for the first 15 minutes of the second-half, the game was very contained.
Both sides were defending well in difficult conditions, Shields pressed for an equaliser, but their finishing let them down twice in quick succession.
Substitute Devlin squandered two opportunities to draw his side level around the hour mark, and again on 73 minutes when he failed to trouble Dryden.
Morpeth failed to create anything going forward, but they made sure they were resolute in defence as they managed to hold on to the very end.
After five long minutes of additional time, the referee called the game to and end and the Highwaymen avenged their defeat to the Robins in the semi-final of last season’s Northumberland Senior Cup.
They now face Evo-Stick Northern Division One outfit Colwyn Bay after the Seagulls edged out Shaw Lane 1-0.
North Shields: Hayes, Donnison, Lancaster, Ormston, Parker, Coppen, Taylor (Morris, 58 min), Forster, Bainbridge (Devlin, 60 min), Mason (Wilson, 78 min), Summerly
Subs Not Used: Hughes, Brooking, Carr, McGorrigan
Morpeth: Dryden, Forster, Mullen, Sayer (Bell, 80 min), Swailes, Reid, Taylor (Robinson, 73 min), Graydon, Henderson, Chilton (Carr, 67 min), Fry
Subs Not Used: Provett, Anderson, Fondato, Hall
Goals: 0-1, 30 min, Chilton.