By Andrew McDonnell (@AndrewSJourno)
Luke Carr and Michael Chilton’s second-half strikes edged Morpeth Town past Seaham Red Star and into the next round of the FA Cup.
Paul Robinson opened the scored with a spectacular effort on 33 minutes, moments after Liam Henderson’s strike was pushed onto the post by Shaun Newbrook.
Dan Kirkup saw red 10 minutes after half-time, but 10-man Seaham went and equalised after the hour mark through a brilliant Craig Lynch effort.
Carr combined with Sayer for Morpeth’s second and the game was put to bed when Michael Chilton headed home unmarked from a corner with five minutes to play.
The Highwaymen have to wait to find out their opponents for the next round as Jarrow Roofing and North Shields’ match ended goalless.
After an impressive pre-season, Morpeth’s long-awaited return to competitive football returned, as they travelled to Seaham Town Park to face Red Star.
After a fairly even opening 20 minutes, which saw Lee Hetherington and Liam Henderson have efforts go close, the game come to life.
Morpeth started to find their feet and started to turn the screw, and they came close to breaking the deadlock when Henderson’s effort was pushed onto the post by the ‘keeper.
They continued their relentless pressure and eventually went ahead with just over 10 minutes to play before the break.
Robinson picked up the ball 25-yards out, and after he turned, the midfielder smashed his shot into the bottom corner.
The summer-signing could have had a second six minutes later, but his Cantona-esc effort lobbed up and cannoned off the top of the post.
Henderson’s effort in injury time was superbly saved by Newbrook, who produced a diving one-handed stop, which meant the Highwaymen went in at the break one-up.
Seaham came out after the break with a point to prove, and they went close when Darryll Donnelly and Lynch flashed wide in quick succession.
However, moments later Dan Kirkup saw red for his professional foul on Henderson, who was through on goal before being dragged down.
The 10-men of Red Star rallied and drew level on 66 minutes when Lynch curled into the top corner from a good 25-years out.
Morpeth ensured that the hosts weren’t level for long, 96 seconds after Lynch equalised, the visitors restored their lead in the match.
Sayer’s quick corner came to Carr, who carried the ball past three men before firing into the bottom corner through a crowd of players.
Substitute Damen Mullen rattled the crossbar from the half-way line, and Seaham hit the bar themselves eight minutes from time through David Paul.
Newbrook produced another surreal save from Henderson, which would have ensured victory, but Morpeth did find a decisive third from the resulting corner.
Sayer swung the corner in and substitute Michael Chilton, who was left unmarked, attacked the ball and headed home from close range.
Nick Gray and Dave Malone will now have to wait to begin their league campaign due to Jarrow Roofing playing their FA Cup replay on Tuesday evening.
Seaham Red Star: Newbrook, Walker, Price, Gardiner, Kirkup, Donnelly, Kane (Galbraith, 57 min), Kerr, Lynch (Proctor, 79 min), Hetherington (Paul, 62 min), Bird
Subs Not Used: Scorer, Bolam
Morpeth: Dryden, Forster, Reid, Sayer, Hall, Grieve, Taylor, Graydon (Fondato, 86 min), Henderson, Robinson (Mullen, 63 min), Carr (Chilton, 79 min)
Subs Not Used: Anderson, Swailes, Bell, Provett
Goals: 0-1, 33 min, Robinson; 1-1, 66 min, Lynch; 1-2, 68 min, Carr; 1-3, 85 min, Chilton.
Referee: John Mulligan
Assistants: Connor Scott and Phillip Guard
Video – Highwaymen TV