Lions get the blues

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Morpeth Lions U12 1 Prudhoe YC Blues U12 4

AFTER further disruption due to the weather, Morpeth Lions were once again back in action with a home match against top-of-the-table Prudhoe YC Blues.

The Lions started the game missing three of their regular back four but, with Smith reverting from his central-midfield role and Walker and Gascoigne joining Brown at the back, the Lions still looked well capable of holding a strong Prudhoe team.

Prudhoe liked to move the ball forward very quickly, with a number of long balls out of defence causing the lads a number of problems but, with Magneron in inspired form in the Morpeth goal, the lads weathered the early storm.

As the half wore on, it was the Lions who could have taken the lead against the run of play when Strong and Milburn combined well to send Nicholson clear. But just as the 24-goal striker shaped to shoot, a last-gasp tackle cleared the danger.

The Lions defence was eventually breached after Magneron made another fine save but the ball fell kindly to the Prudhoe forward who managed to beat Walker’s attempt to clear off the line to make it 1-0.

The Lions could have fallen further behind when Magneron was unlucky to bring down the Prudhoe striker inside the area. However, the impressive keeper made amends with a fine save to keep the Lions in the game.

Nicholson and D Thompson both went close to bringing the lads level with good efforts on goal, but just as half-time approached, Prudhoe extended their advantage with a well-taken goal, which left Magneron with little chance.

The Lions were in danger of being overrun in the second half but instead of letting their heads go down they started the half in blistering fashion, with McCarthy sending in a cross which D Thompson flicked on to the back-post.

The ball was cleared off the line but as it dropped just outside the area, Nicholson volleyed back over the keeper’s head and into the top corner.

The Lions were now back in the game and were starting to press for an equaliser, however, as they pressed forward, the lads were always in danger of being caught at the back.

Once again, a long ball out of defence did catch the Lions out but Magneron made another impressive save, with Smith clearing the danger and out for a corner.

As the corner was swung into the box, a tangle of players resulted in the referee once again pointing to the spot in what looked like a very harsh penalty decision against the lads.

However, Magneron was equal to the task and tipped the ball over the bar from the spot-kick.

Morpeth were now playing the best football of the game, with some excellent passing causing Prudhoe real problems and the lads looked as though they had drawn level when Smith released Hill down the right.

His cross was met by D Thompson, who slotted the ball home only to see the goal chalked off by a very late offside flag from the linesman.

Lightning was to strike twice for the Lions when Young combined with Milburn, whose cross from the left was once again met by D Thompson, who thought he had put the lads level only to once again see the goal disallowed by another late flag from the linesman.

This second decision hit the Lions’ confidence and they conceded two late goals, which made the scoreline look far worse than the performance from the lads warranted.