Ryton & Crawcrook U12s 1 Morpeth Lions U12s 2
UNSEASONABLY warm weather greeted the Lions on their trip to a much-improved Ryton & Crawcrook team.
Morpeth had run out comfortable winners in the corresponding home fixture earlier in the season, but the home side would prove to be a much tougher prospect on their own patch.
The game started at a good pace and the Lions took control of the midfield with Hill, Milburn, Smith and Young stamping their authority on the game with some impressive movement and passing.
The first clear-cut chance fell to Nicholson, who latched onto a pass from Smith only to drag his shot wide of the left-hand upright.
D Thompson was next to get a sight of the Ryton goal when he picked up a pass from Young to bring out a good save from the home team’s keeper.
The visitors’ pressure would eventually lead to the opening goal midway through the first half.
Hill won the ball with a strong tackle in midfield and fed the ball out to Milburn on the left, who played it into Nicholson just inside the area.
Nicholson turned his marker and fizzed a ball across the Ryton goal which D Thompson met at the far-post to slide the ball into an empty net.
The Lions threatened to run away with the game when Nicholson latched onto a long ball from Bowden out of defence to play a one-two with D Thompson before firing a left-foot drive past the Ryton keeper to make it 2-0.
As the first half was drawing to a close, Milburn fed Hill inside the box and he side-stepped his marker to curl a vicious drive just past the post.
However, using an old football cliché, this was to be a game of two halves with a reorganised Ryton team penning Morpeth back into their own half.
Magneron in the Lions goal had to be at his best to keep the hosts at bay during the early skirmishes of the half.
Brown, Bowden, Campbell and J Thompson would all have to step up to the plate in defence – a task they would stand up to with some strong tackling and last-gasp clearances.
Gascoigne was brought on to add fresh legs into midfield, but Ryton’s long-ball game was making it difficult for the Lions to get out of their own half with Smith, Milburn and Hill all having to drop back to help out the back four to try to preserve their lead.
Strong and Marsh entered the game but with 10 minutes left, Ryton pulled a goal back when a long ball split the Lions’ defence for the home centre-forward to give Magneron no chance in the Morpeth goal.
It would be a nervous last 10 minutes for the Lions but, with some excellent defending, they were able to hold on to register their first away win of the season.