Stockton Town’s Division One debut ended in defeat against a classy Morpeth Town outfit.
A first half goal from Joe Walton and second half strikes from Luke Carr and Mark Davison put Morpeth into a commanding lead.
Stockton did leave with something when Jamie Owens bagged a consolation.
Both sides entered the game looking to bounce back from an FA Cup exit. Stockton had lost at Guisborough, while Morpeth lost out at Shildon.
Chris Stockton didn’t let Division One football faze him and he pelted forward with the same vigour as usual putting in a low cross that was narrowly missed.
The visitors were almost ahead when Walton lobbed Stockton goalkeeper Liam Jordan but Tom Coulthard was there to clear it off the line.
Jordan then stood strong to deny Jordan Fry after he was played through one on one.
The Highwaymen got themselves in front when Sean Taylor’s cross was flicked onto the head of Walton at the back post.
Morpeth looked to extend their lead throughout the rest of the half. First Wayne Phillips effort from outside the area was held by Jordan, then Davison’s turn and shot went narrowly wide.
At the end of the half, Stockton showed their capabilities as Kallum Hannah shot narrowly over the bar after an inside ball from Stockton.
In the second half, Stockton upped their game and crafted the first chance when Hannah forced Morpeth goalkeeper Karl Dryden into a save from Stockton’s cross.
Substitute Owens then weaved forward and shot wide to send another warning to Morpeth.
But typically, as a quality side, the visitors showed their ruthless side as Carr fired home from outside the box after a poor clearance.
Morpeth struck again when a fine passing move was finished by Davison.
But fair to Stockton, they stuck at it and managed to grab a consolation when a long range effort bounced over Dryden and Owens tapped home into an empty net.
It was certainly a respectable debut from Stockton and they take pride in the fact they will face few of Morpeth’s quality.
Next up is a trip to Whitley Bay, while Morpeth face another Teesside team in Billingham Synthonia.