Yellows suffer penalty shoot-out heartbreak in FA Trophy

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WARRINGTON Town suffered penalty heartbreak as they were knocked out of the FA Trophy by Morpeth Town.

The Highwaymen took five virtually perfect spot kicks to win 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Cantilever Park.

It was a reward for them making the long journey with makeshift goalkeeper James Anderson on a day littered with postponements due to Storm Arwen.

Anderson, who has been on dual-registration with Whickham, was only selected on the morning of the game when Morpeth’s regular stopper was stuck at home due to the weather.

They never showed any signs of their arduous morning and took the lead, albeit against the run of play, midway through the first half.

Impressive centre forward Liam Henderson dispossessed Mitch Duggan on the edge of his own box, rounded the goalkeeper and though Mark Roberts got back to block the shot, the ball fell for Ben Sayer to tap in to the unguarded goal.

The Yellows had enjoyed an element of control other than that, with Stefan Mols and Luke Duffy linking up well without creating any clear cut opportunities.

The hosts wobbled after going behind but eventually steadied the ship, forcing Anderson in his first real save, low to his left to deny Sean Williams.

Williams turned provider for the equaliser on 37 minutes, putting in a delightful cross for Jamie McDonald to expertly head home on his first start since returning to the club.

The Yellows had countless corners and set pieces throughout the match and shortly before half-time, almost took the lead when Ben Ramsey cleared off the line from a Williams corner and then Duffy’s acrobatic effort flew over.

Their best chance came minutes in to the second half when substitute Jack Mackreth, on for Duffy who had taken a knock at the break, pulled back for Mols who forced Anderson in to a fine flying stop.

But that aside, Morpeth looked the most likely in the second half and the introduction of Jack Foalle on the right stretched the Yellows.

Ramsey found the side netting from a good position before Foalle forced a fine one-handed save from Atherton with 15 minutes to play.

Another Foalle run carved the Yellows open again moments later, and he squared the ball past Atherton this time for Henderson, who was somehow denied by James Baillie’s last ditch block.

A big block by Roberts denied Henderson before the Yellows’ last chance, an overhead kick by Mols which came off the outside of the join of bar and post.

The final whistle blew and penalties followed, when Anderson was the hero – saving Bohan Dixon’s spot kick, with Sam Hodgson and Ryan Donaldson converting the subsequent penalties to send the visitors through to the third round.

Warrington Town: Atherton, Baillie, Regan, Williams, Roberts, Duggan, Grivosti (Harris), Mols, J McDonald (Buckley), Dixon, Duffy (Mackreth). Unused subs: Hough, Reid, M McDonald.

Morpeth Town: Anderson, Walton, Reid, Sayer (Noble), J Henderson, Turner, Ramsey, Hodgson, L Henderson, Donaldson, Johnson (Foalle). Unused subs: Phillips, Oliver, Ward.

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Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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