Picture: George Davidson
An own goal ensured Morpeth Town progressed into the third round of the League Cup at the expense of Blyth AFC.
James Harmison – booked seconds earlier for the foul that lead to the goal – diverted the ball into his own net to provide The Highwaymen with a 46th minute advantage which the home side never relinquished.
Morpeth made some changes to the line-up from Saturday, with David Carson making a first Town start, while management duo Nick Gray and Dave Malone found space for Danny Carson in the same team as Chris Reid and Curtis Coppen, three players usually vying for two centre-back spots.
There was also space on the bench for Town youth team products Simon Farrier and Thomas Hizzett.
The hosts were dominant in possession for spells and created the first opportunity of note on nine minutes, but a Liam Henderson cut-back couldn’t be converted by David Carson, the latter scooping rather than driving his shot straight at Chris Bannon in the Blyth goal.
The visitors gradually gained a foothold in the game and started to create opportunities, but Karl Dryden tipped over Liam Gillesphey’s 28th minute speculative long ranger after pushing clear Sean McRoberts’ fierce drive.
With plenty of effort, but little impact, in the attacking third, Morpeth came out stronger in the second half and hit the front within minutes of the restart. After being booked for a challenge on Liam Henderson, Harmison, while attempting to clear the resulting cross, diverted the ball into his own net.
Town were a different side to the first half and should have doubled their advantage on 54 minutes but Henderson sent a rising drive over the bar.
They were then given a 63rd minute reminder of the opposition’s talent when Bobby Taylor was played clean through on goal. However, with only Dryden to beat, Taylor dragged his shot wide of the far post.
It was a jolt to the Morpeth system as the visitors looked to open up, posing a different kind of threat to the first half.
But Morpeth maintained plenty of promise in attack and went within inches of scoring on 75 minutes when Ben Sayer – making a competitive return to action following hernia surgery straight after the Penrith game – saw his rasping drive tipped past the far post by Bannon.
The game winded down to a victorious conclusion for Morpeth as they did the business in the cup.
The Highwaymen are next in action on Saturday when they travel to North Shields (3pm) in the league.
MORPETH TOWN: Dryden; Forster, Coppen, Reid, Turner, Carson, Turnbull (Walton 90), Graydon (Sayer 69), Phillips, Henderson, David Carson.
SUBS NOT USED: Farrier, Hizzett, Dodds.
GOALS: Harmison OG (46)
BLYTH AFC: Bannon; Harvey, Armitage, Gillesphey, Little (Harmison 46), Parker, McRoberts, Henderson (Day 89), McGorrigan (Norris 69), Robinson, Taylor.
SUBS NOT USED: Sayer, Tumilty.