A brace from Callum Roberts and a free-kick from Dan Barlaser secured Newcastle United U23s their 15th Northumberland Senior Cup, as they came out 3-1 winners against Morpeth Town.
By Reuben Young
An even contest throughout was decided by Roberts’ second of the night, finishing off a quick counter attack. The midfielder scored the opener after 15 minutes, placing the ball into the bottom right hand corner from just inside the penalty area.
Morpeth Town equalised moments before half time, target man Liam Henderson poking home his 24th goal of the season.
The game was wrapped up though in added time as Barlaser curled in a 25 yard free kick into the side netting.
The cup final started as expected with the Premier League second string side dominating possession, while Morpeth used their physicality to gain an advantage in the midfield battle.
The U23s were unlucky not to take the lead though, when Barlaser spun on the edge of the box, firing against the cross bar in the early encounters.
The home side’s control of the game showed as they took the lead after 15 minutes. Roberts pinched the ball from teammate Luke Charman, who was under pressure from two Morpeth Town defenders on the edge of the box, before placing the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
After the goal, it was the Northern League Division One side that put on the pressure with David Carson causing the Newcastle United under 23’s defence problems. Morpeth then capitalised on confusion in their opponent’s six yard box as a Sean Taylor cross dropped between goalkeeper Nathan Harker and Josef Yarney, both failed to clear allowing Liam Henderson time to poke home just before half time.
After the break, it was Morpeth that looked the brighter of the two sides. Carson calling Harker into a fingertip save, before the midfielder called the United goalkeeper into action once again with a firm strike.
This proved vital as the home side began to regain dominance of the tie with Roberts hitting the crossbar with a curling effort. The pressure paid divide moments though as Barlaser played in Adam Wilson down the left wing, he curled in a pinpoint cross for Roberts, who fired past Karl Dryden on the volley from 12 yards out.
The goal sparked the 2007 Senior Cup champions in a reaction, as the U23s side were forced on the back foot for much of the second half. Nevertheless, the youngsters remained a danger on the counter-attack. Charman and Roberts both went close in the final stages, but couldn’t force Dryden into a save.
The goalkeeper was then left helpless in added time with Barlaser curling in a free kick from 20 yards, sealing the reserve side’s first Northumberland Senior Cup since 2014.