Northumberland Senior Cup Semi Final
Morpeth Town 5-0 Whitley Bay
By Peter Fox
Whitley bowed out at the Senior Cup at the semi-final stage to a team two steps above them in the non-league pyramid, and that difference in stature was clear on the night.
Bay made two changes to the team that had drawn 0-0 at Guisborough on Saturday with Daniel Lister replacing Pat Nash in goal and Elliott Day coming in to the starting line-up replacing Cameron Brewis.
As expected, Morpeth made a bright start but Whitley threatened when Luke Porritt got a dangerous cross which no-one could get on the end of.
After ten minutes Lister was called into action when he made a fine save from an Andrew Johnson shot - and we’ll hear a lot of Mr Johnson in this report – but three minutes later he was beaten when former Bay player Chris Reid crossed for Sam Fishburn to turn home from close range.
Day did well to block Ben Ramsey when he looked to break through before a defensive mix up almost let Morpeth in for a second but Lister recovered well. He was back in action soon afterwards when he made a fine save to deny Ryan Donaldson.
Just before the half hour mark Harvey Neary saw Morpeth keeper Dan Lowson a bit far off his line and tried his luck from distance forcing the keeper to keeper to backpedal and touch the ball onto the bar and over.
Five minutes later it became apparent how important that save was as Connor Pye fired in a cross which was blocked by a Bay defender but the ball broke to Johnson and he slotted the ball home to make it 2-0 on 34 minutes.
Pye saw a shot deflected just wide as Morpeth started to turn the screw but Bay made it to half time without conceding further, Lister saving well from Fishburn and then Morpeth having a shout for a penalty turned down.
After 47 minutes Noah Millington came on for Day for Whitley as they looked to get back in the game somehow, but after 50 minutes they were 3-0 down when Johnson was put through by Ben Ramsey and easily rolled the ball past Lister.
Bay made another sub after 58 minutes as Malcolm Morien came on for Porritt, and during the change one optimistic Bay fan was asking if the tie went to extra time or penalties if we were level after 90 minutes!
Even his faint hopes were crushed a minute later when a break down the Morpeth right saw the ball cut back to Johnson to rifle home a powerful shot to complete his hat-trick
With just less than quarter of an hour remaining Fishburn was bundled over in the box by Michael Hall and Johnson converted the penalty. Lister prevented further damage saving well from Ramsey, but overall it was a comprehensive win for the higher ranked home side.
Bay: Lister, Lowery, Day (Millington 47), Turnbull, Hall, Hutchinson, Neary, Richardson, Davison (Ward 71), Gilchrist, Porritt (Morien 58)