Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 8 January 2022
Stafford Rangers were forced to settle for a point after they conceded a late equaliser at Morpeth Town.
On an artificial pitch retaining plenty of surface water, the Boro went a goal down in the 6th minute. A long ball from Joseph Walton found Andrew Johnson who controlled well with his chest before slotting past Luke Pilling.
Jon Moran, making his first appearance for 10 weeks in place of the suspended Jimmy O’Neill, headed wide from a Tom Tonks corner but it was Morpeth who were the most threatening of the two sides with quick movement and passing.
Chris Reid had a shot blocked for the home side before Johnson fired over from 25 yards.
Rangers had another set back when Theo Bailey-Jones picked up a hamstring injury with Joe Cuff coming on as his replacement.
But Cuff took his chance and was a key feature in Rangers’ equaliser on 29 minutes.
Morpeth went within inches of making it 2-0 from a corner but Sam Hodgson failed to connect. Cuff launched the counter attack on the left and nipped past Walton before releasing Joe Kenton who slammed home the equaliser.
It needed timely intervention from Joe Dunne to deny Johnson another opportunity but the half ended with Rangers on the front foot with Tonks shooting wide from distance and seeing a corner flash across the face of the Morpeth goal.
The Boro maintained the pressure in the second half and took the lead on 55 minutes when Cuff played Tonks in and the Rangers’ midfielder chipped home keeper Dan Lowson to record his 8th goal of the season.
A defensive header from Walton almost caused his side to concede an embarrassing third with Lowson forced to head clear.
Morpeth midfield general Liam Noble missed a chance to level when he failed to test Pilling while Cuff went close for Stafford with an audacious shot from just inside the Morpeth half after he had pounced on a loose pass from the home side.
The home side stepped up the pressure on the Stafford goal. Johnson’s well struck volley flew over the bar and Reid headed wide. Ryan Donaldson put the ball in the net with 15 minutes remaining only to be flagged offside while sub Liam Henderson sent a shot over.
Ben Sayer wasted another great chance before Morpeth finally got themselves level with just three minutes remaining.
Pilling failed to hold on to Noble’s free kick and, from the resultant corner, Johnson forced the ball home at the near post to grab a share of the spoils.
Morpeth Town: 1 Dan Lowson, 2 Stephen Forster (12 Liam Henderson 58m), 3 Chris Reid, 4 Sam Hodgson (16 Ben Sayer 74m), 5 Jeff Henderson, 6 Michael Turner, 7 Jack Foalle, 8 Liam Noble, 9 Andrew Johnson, 10 Ryan Donaldson (15 Connor Oliver 86m), 11 Joseph Walton. Unused Subs: 14 Wayne Phillips, 17 Ben Ramsay
Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Joe Dunne, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 Jon Moran, 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Tom Tonks (17 Louis Morrison-Derbyshire 90+2m), 9 Jake Charles, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Theo Bailey-Jones (16 Joe Cuff 22m). Unused Subs: 12 Michael Tait-Moran, 14 Kaiman Anderson, 15 Ben Woods
Cautions: Forster, Reid, Foalle, Noble (Morpeth)
Referee: Zac Kennard-Kettle
Report: Chris Elsley