North Shields find their form with win at Morpeth Town

North Shields' Curtis Coppen fires home the opening goal against Morpeth Town. Picture by Ian Warde
North Shields' Curtis Coppen fires home the opening goal against Morpeth Town. Picture by Ian Warde

FA Vase holders and Wembley wizards North Shields were back to their best when they travelled to Craik Park to inflict a first defeat upon hosts Morpeth Town on Saturday.

Curtis Coppen and James Luccock found the scoresheet but it was a terrific all round team performance from the Robins who defended resolutely then attacked with gusto on the counter.

Deam Holmes lines up a shot for North Shields in their win over Morpeth Town. Picture by Craig McVay

Deam Holmes lines up a shot for North Shields in their win over Morpeth Town. Picture by Craig McVay

Yet to win at the Daren Persson Stadium, the Shieldsmen have been impressive on the road - this latest success following on from triumphs at Penrith, Bedlington and Norton, plus cup victories at Bridlington and Sunderland RCA.

Assistant coach and Shields stalwart Wilf Keilty said: “Well what a fantastic couple of results in recent days.

“Following on from that gruelling 120 minutes at Sunderland RCA then going to high flying Morpeth and winning just shows how much talent and strength in depth we have, and which is certainly needed as the games rack up thick and fast.”

Keeper Sean McCafferty, League Cup penalty shoot-out hero, took the gloves for his first league game this term, while young Jordan Summerly again slotted in at left back whilst Coppen joined skipper John Parker at the heart of defence.

North Shields' Curtis Coppen in the thick of the actin against Morpeth Town. Picture by Craig McVay

North Shields' Curtis Coppen in the thick of the actin against Morpeth Town. Picture by Craig McVay

In a team performance that exuded quality and grit it was the central defensive duo that shone as the Highwaymen enjoyed plenty possession without making it count.

Morpeth included two former Shieldsmen who gave the club great service - defender and former player of the year David Hiftle and prolific marksman Michael Chilton.

The home side were under pressure early on and Michael McKeown, who bagged the Robins’ leveller in the corresponding fixture last season, was unlucky with a free kick that rattled the bar with home keeper Karl Dryden well beaten.

On 12 minutes the Tynesiders were celebrating as a corner caused confusion in the box. Parker knocked it on then Adam Forster tried his luck before Coppen pounced to bury it with aplomb.

North Shields' Dean Holmes heads the ball into the area over Morpeth Town keeper Karl Dryden. Picture by Craig McVay

North Shields' Dean Holmes heads the ball into the area over Morpeth Town keeper Karl Dryden. Picture by Craig McVay

Shields had to reshuffle with first Ryan Carr forced off then Dan Wilson after a collision of heads with Morpeth centre half Michael Hall.

Ryan McGorrigan came on to lead the line well, foraging bravely up front and Shields all but made it two before the break with Gary Ormston seeing a goalbound header somehow kept out by Dryden.

As to be expected the hosts came out for the second period fired up and exerted pressure, though shots on target were few and far between.

Shields oozed spirit and were not going to let this one slip, and with substitutes Dean Holmes and Ben Richardson getting a grip the Robins were never rattled.

Indeed Holmes had strong claims for a penalty after he was grounded in the box, but Luccock was rewarded for another tireless display as he put the game to bed when his shot flew past Dryden with 67 minutes on the clock.

The hosts never gave up hope of retrieving the situation but there was to be no way back.

North Shields: McCafferty, Donnison, Summerly, McKeown, Parker, Coppen, Luccock, Forster, Wilson (McGorrigan), Ormston (Richardson), Carr (Holmes). Subs not used: Walker, Bainbridge.

On Saturday Shields host Guisborough Town hoping to avenge a 2-1 reverse in North Yorkshire on the opening day of the season (3pm), then its off to West Auckland on Tuesday, October 6, kick-off 7.30pm.

Highlights of Saturday’s win at Morpeth Town are on North Shields TV, where there is also a Goal of the Month competition.