Pumas force cup victory in extra-time

Morpeth Sporting Club Pumas U10s 3 Blyth Spartans Whites U10s 2

AFTER a difficult first two league games, the Pumas continued their season with the welcome distraction of the Divisional Cup.

Although Morpeth had started their friendlies well, the manager was left disappointed with how slowly the players had started matches since the league kicked off.

This led to a stern pre-match talking-to and the Pumas responded in exactly the right way with a great all-round team performance, which addressed all of the concerns.

The starting line-up for this match was Eadington, Telfer, Walker, Jordan, Sanderson, Barry and Henderson with Brunton, Priest and Yates on the bench.

Captain for the day Telfer lost the toss and Blyth kicked off. In a tough opening few moments during which a lot of work was being put in by both midfields, Sanderson became the first casualty and had to be replaced by Brunton after about five minutes.

As the game settled down, both sides started to look dangerous in attack, with Henderson, Barry, Jordan and Brunton linking up well to create a number of half-chances. At the other end, Eadington, Telfer and Walker were doing well to keep Blyth at bay.

However, it was the visitors who managed to open the scoring after the ball fell to a Blyth striker, who found the bottom corner despite a great effort from Eadington to keep it out.

The battling was taking its toll on the Pumas midfield, so Sanderson and Yates came on for Brunton and Jordan, before Priest came on for Telfer.

As has become the norm this season, Eadington started the second half outfield but was replaced by Brunton this week and Henderson, Walker and Yates were replaced by Barry, Jordan and Telfer.

The home side started the second half how they had ended the first with a number of good moves involving Sanderson, Barry and Eadington.

Jordan, meanwhile, was providing some great help to Telfer and Priest to keep Blyth from having any clear-cut chances.

As the half wore on, the Pumas became stronger and were looking more and more dangerous. It was no surprise when the pressure finally led to the equaliser.

A great move between Barry and Eadington meant the ball ended up with Henderson and he found the back of the net from the edge of the box.

The Pumas continued to press after this but the winning goal never came and, as the referee blew his whistle, the two teams set themselves for extra-time.

Blyth started extra-time well and pressed the Pumas goal. They went 2-1 ahead after the Pumas did not pick up the second ball after clearing a corner and a Blyth midfielder fired it into the net.

Not to be deterred, the Pumas came straight back at their opposition from the kick-off in search of the equaliser and it was not long before it came.

After collecting the ball from a Blyth attack, Brunton released a quick ball to man-of-the-match Henderson in his own half. He ran down the left side of the pitch unopposed before cutting in on his right foot to fire a great shot into the roof of the net.

Shortly after, the whistle went for half-time in extra-time and, after a quick turnaround, the Pumas restarted full of confidence although all shots on goal were either just wide or well saved by the Blyth goalkeeper.

Going into the last 30 seconds with the ball in the Pumas’ right corner, the manager was stressing the importance of keeping the defence tight as the game looked to be heading to penalties.

However, the players had a different idea and, after a switch in play to the left from Eadington, Barry ran at the Blyth defence once again.

Just as it looked as though he was running out of space, he fired a low shot into the far corner to seal the win with seconds to spare and bring an end to a terrific game of football.

The Pumas have a free week next week, but if they play with the same attitude and commitment in their next match, they will be in with a good chance of doing well.

A week last Thursday, the Pumas had a tough league match against Wallsend Boy Club Valencia.

Morpeth were soon 4-0 down but they came back into the game and after Priest won the ball in defence and passed to Barry, a great through-ball was played to Henderson, who ran in on goal to find the back of the net.

Although the defence was tighter, Wallsend managed to score another two to make it 6-1.

The Pumas kept battling and deservedly scored the next goal when Barry controlled a kick from the keeper before firing a shot from distance over the top of him before he could make up his ground.

Morpeth had more chances but could not put them away and Wallsend were clinical at the other end to make the final score 10-2.