Champions Stunned By Late North Strike!
A last-minute goal from Danny North earned the Owls a notable double over this year’s divisional Champions. In earlier action, keeper Dan Lowson put through his own net before Jordan Fry levelled for the Highwaymen. In a clear case of mistaken identity, Paul Walker was also dismissed in the 80th minute for a second yellow.
Dave Smith made four changes from last time out at Sheffield. Tim Lowe, SamTopliss, Jack Richardson and Josh Batty all missed out. In came Loz McKay, Lewis Collins, Brody Robertson and Jack Boswell. The last named was making his first Evostik East start, after earning a step-up following an impressive spell with the reserves.
The side lined up in a 4-4-2 formation as follows:
Goal: Theo Richardson
Defence: Jon Oglesby, Paul Walker, Oli Donald, Loz McKay
Midfield: Jack Boswell, Craig Disley, Alex Flett (captain), Lewis Collins
Attack: Scott Vernon, Brody Robertson
Subs: Jack Boswell, Danny North, Josh Batty, Jack Richardson, Matt Bloomer
On a delightfully sunny Easter Saturday, another large crowd was inside the stadium by kick-off and they did not have long to wait to see the Owls move ahead.
In the 4th minute, Collins threaded an inch-perfect ball through to Brody Robertson. The returning striker rounded the on-rushing keeper but had been forced wide. However, the Clee player managed to fire low across the danger-zone, where the back-pedalling Dan Lowson could only divert it home. A clear own-goal for the unfortunate stopper.
Buoyed by this boost, the home side were playing some nice possession football in the early stages. Nevertheless, the Highwaymen gradually began to work their way into proceedings and restored parity on the quarter-hour mark.
Both McKay and Walker did well to make defensive headers as Morpeth threatened but, in the next attack, an attempted clearance only went as far as the penalty spot. Jordan Fry had ample time to drive the loose ball home underneath Richardson.
Even though there was nothing but pride at stake, both sides were contributing to an entertaining spectacle for the sun-drenched spectators. Captain Flett found Collins in the 23rd minute, but the midfielder pulled his shot off-target when well placed. Then Robertson did have the ball in the net but was thwarted by a very narrow offside decision by the assistant.
Morpeth came within inches of going in at half-time ahead, when a fierce daisy-cutter from Walton ricocheted to safety off the inside of the post.
HT Cleethorpes Town 1 (Lowson og 4) Morpeth Town (Fry 15)
In the first meaningful action after the re-start, keeper Richardson was required to spread himself well to block an effort from Carson. Not long afterwards, in the 55th minute, Jack Richardson entered the fray to replace Jack Boswell, who had done enough to suggest that he could become a valuable member of the first-team squad in 2019/20.
The Highwaymen were beginning to look the more threatening of the two sides and almost forced a second, when a sliced clearance from Walker flew a yard over his own bar. The runaway Champions were probing for the decisive moment, but the Owls’ defence was standing tall to the increased pressure.
In a far from bad-tempered encounter, Mr Unwin was now reaching for his notebook with alarming regularity. Loz McKay and Jon Oglesby were booked for Clee. Morpeth were not exempt from the flurry of cards either, with the central defensive pairing of Henderson and Reid incurring the official’s wrath.
With 15 minutes left to play, the management team made a double substitution. Danny North and Josh Batty came on for the withdrawn pair of Scott Vernon and Lewis Collins.
Not long after this change, the afternoon’s most controversial moment appeared. A Morpeth player was pulled back about 23 yards out by Donald. It was a very clear yellow card infringement and the Clee man headed over to the referee to receive his expected punishment. To the amazement of everyone, the official summoned Paul Walker instead and, having already received a caution after 33 minutes, the defender was dismissed.
Cue mass protests, with North and Robertson adding their names to the list of bookings, but there was to be no reprieve for Walker, despite Donald honourably “owning up” to the foul.
There now looked likely to be only one winner, with the depleted home ranks manfully battling to preserve their point. However, in a dramatic finale, the Owls overturned the odds to snatch the spoils.
McKay and Robertson worked the ball well down the left before the ball was flighted in by the full-back. Danny North had cleverly ghosted away from his marker at the far post and connected sweetly to send a right-foot volley beyond Lowson, to the acclaim of the home faithful.
FT Cleethorpes Town 2 (Lowson og 4, North 89) Morpeth Town (Fry 15) Attendance: 404
First things first – it was a clear case of mistaken identity for the sending-off and, having reviewed the excellent video footage courtesy of Mick Parker, our appeal will be going to the FA. All things considered, Paul will hopefully have his red card rescinded. A good performance to complete the double over Morpeth, who are clearly a good team. This should give everyone much optimism for next season. A cracking winner from Danny North too! Pleased to see Jack Boswell make the starting XI and he did pretty well – it is obviously a big step from the Lincs League to the Evostik, but I would have thought that he is likely to be in the first team squad next year. Another tricky choice for man-of-the-match. Jon Oglesby (in an unfamiliar right-back position), Oli Donald and Lewis Collins all showed decent form. However, on balance, the super reliable Alex Flett edges it for me.
Easter Monday in Lincoln – hope to see you there!
Monday 22nd April 3pm
Lincoln United – Evostik East
Sun Hat and Villas Stadium, Ashby Avenue, Lincoln, LN6 0DY
Adults £9, Concessions £6, 5-16 £3, Under 5s free
UP THE OWLS!