Third-placed Brighouse Town were unable to upset Evo-Stik NPL East champions-elect Morpeth Town yesterday, losing 3-2 at home.
Morpeth had a far from smooth afternoon, starting with road closures due to an accident in Hipperholme near the ground which delayed their arrival until 2.20pm.
A red card midway through the second half of the game and a nasty injury added to the north east side’s problems but Brighouse were unable to take advantage,
Vill Powell’s home side trailed to Iulian Petrache’s 21st minute opener and looked out of it when Sean Taylor doubled Morpeth’s lead three minutes after half time.
However, the hopes of home supporters in a bumper 431 crowd were lifted when Aaron Martin scored his 21st goal of the season with a header from Tom Robinson’s cross after 67 minutes and Morpeth were reduced to 10 men by the dismissal of Liam Henderson for treading on a home player two minutes later.
The visitors also lost Jack Foalle with a head injury following a collision with a teammate, prompting a five minute hold up in play.
However, the scales tipped back towards Morpeth on 79 minutes when Ben Sayer stretched their advantage to 3-1, a mix-up in defence giving him the chance to add a fine finish.
James Hurley’s 20-yard shot into the top corner of the net for Brighouse came before eight minutes of added time, in which Powell’s men were unable to grab an equaliser.
Jubilant Morpeth stretched their lead at the top to 10 points, with at least one game in hand on the chasing clubs, while Brighouse are also behind Pontefract Collieries, who drew 2-2 against Frickley Athletic.
Ossett United and Sheffield FC, both contenders for play-off places, won to close the gap on Brighouse to two points.
Brighouse host seventh-placed Cleethorpes Town, who came back from two goals down at half-time to beat visitors Carlton Town 4-2 yesterday, at home next Saturday before heading to ninth-placed Marske United three days later.