SINCE assistant manager Craig Lynch stepped into the breach at Morpeth Town, the Highwaymen have experienced a fine upturn in form.

On Saturday, September 11, then boss Stephen Turnbull tendered his resignation with immediate effect after overseeing miserable Morpeth's 2-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers Witton Albion.

It was their seventh Northern Premier League premier division defeat in eight games, a run which earned them just three points.

Just over a month later, the Highwaymen are looking up, having taken two wins and three draws from their last six games. Only their most recent ended in defeat, a 2-0 loss at North East rivals and perennial promotion candidates South Shields.

In the FA Cup, Lynch is on the brink of history with Morpeth, and for that, he is in one way still indebted to Turnbull.

The Highwaymen have never reached the first round proper before - and have only once cont-ested the fourth round qualifying.

Turnbull set Morpeth on their way in the first round qualifying, when they thumped Hyde United 6-1, but the following two rounds - also against sides from the NPL premier division - are Lynch's work.

He then masterminded a 4-1 triumph over Lancaster City followed by a 3-1 win at Radcliffe. To rub it in, on Radcliffe's league visit to Craik Park three days later, Morpeth recorded exactly the same winning scoreline.

To cement his place in the Morpeth annals, Lynch must now navigate his side beyond their toughest opponents yet, York City.

At his disposal, Lynch has Morpeth's all-time top scorer Sean Taylor. The winger returned to the side ahead of this season to bag his 134th goal for the club.

Adding experience in midfield is Liam Noble - formerly of Notts County and Hartlepool United - while Newcastle United product Jeff Henderson gives solidity to the back line.