THE PREVIEW | Morpeth Town Vs MTFC - Pitching In NPL - 20.8.22
Matlock Town make their longest away trip of the league season on Saturday afternoon as they make a 339 mile round trip to take on Morpeth Town in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
The Gladiators come into this game with a win and a defeat from their opening two games of the 2022/23 campaign. An opening day 1-0 victory at home against Whitby Town last weekend was followed by a midweek 1-0 defeat at Radcliffe.
Morpeth Town currently find themselves second bottom of the NPL Premier Division after losing their first two games of the season. Late conceded goals have already cost Morpeth dearly. Morpeth were on the verge of securing a solid goalless draw away at Warrington Town on the opening day of the season but ended up losing the game 2-0 after conceding goals in the 89th and 90th minutes. Last Tuesday night, Morpeth were leading Guiseley 1-0 at home thanks to a Dale Pearson goal in the 33rd minute. However, quick-fire goals in the 69th, 71st and 75th minutes condemned Morpeth to a 3-1 defeat.
Morpeth Town was founded in 1909 and are nicknamed 'The Highwaymen'. They play their home games at Craik Park in the town of Morpeth in Northumberland. Their ground is the furthest away from The Proctor Cars Stadium out of all the teams competing this season in the NPL Premier Division.
The Highwaymen's manager is Craig Lynch. Lynch has done an outstanding job at Morpeth since taking over the reins at the club on a caretaker basis in September last season before taking on the role permanently a month later. Under his stewardship last season, Morpeth rose from the relegation zone to becoming surprise play-off contenders. Morpeth eventually ended the season in tenth position. Lynch is one of the youngest managers in the sport at only 30 years of age and has a very bright future ahead of him.
It's not just in the league campaign that Lynch has impressed at Morpeth Town. The Highwaymen's best ever runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy happened last season. Morpeth reached the fourth and final qualifying round of the FA Cup for only the second time in their entire history last season while they also reached the Fifth Round of the FA Trophy for the first time ever. Morpeth were eventually defeated 3-2 in heartbreaking fashion by then National League North outfit York City away from home.
The most recent trophy Morpeth Town lifted was back in the 2018-19 season when they clinched the Northern Premier League Division One East league title. The Highwaymen also won the Northumberland Senior Cup in the same season. The Northumberland outfit also won the FA Vase back in the 2015-16 campaign.
One to Watch
Striker Dale Pearson will be a key player to look out for on Saturday afternoon.
Pearson signed for the Highwaymen at the beginning of June this year and this is Dale's second spell with the club.
Pearson previously played for Consett where he scored 67 goals in 84 appearances for the club. Dale played for Consett in the 2019/20 FA Vase final at Wembley Stadium and scored a goal but Consett went on to lose the final 3-2 to Hebburn Town.
Reece Kendall will be unavailable as he serves the last of his three game suspension.
Kallan Murphy and Leigh Whelan are doubts while they await international clearance to start playing for the Gladiators.
These two sides last played each other at the start of April last season in the NPL Premier Division at The Proctor Cars Stadium.
The game ended as a 0-0 draw in front of a crowd of 501.