Whickham & Fellside U12 1 Morpeth Lions U12 8
THE Lions returned to league action after the distraction of two cup games with an away trip to Whickham & Fellside.
A dry sunny day saw a good turn out, especially with a strong away support for the Lions. Bottom-of-the-league Whickham were an improving team and had only been beaten by a single goal in their previous game and were looking to improve on that performance.
It appeared that it could be a difficult afternoon for the Lions when Whickham took an early lead with a good finish past Magneron in the Morpeth goal. The Lions continued to struggle with the regular back four of Bowden, Campbell, J Thompson and Brown all having to be alert to the pressure being exerted on them by a lively Whickham attack.
The pattern of the game was, however, about to change with a piece of brilliance from D Thompson, who collected a pass from Milburn out wide on the right and, spotting the Whickham keeper off his line, struck a thunderbolt into the top left-hand corner of the net.
This settled the Lions and they started to pass the ball, stretching the Whickham defence, and it wasn’t long before the Lads took the lead when D Thompson latched on to a through-pass from Hill to fire in his second of the game.
The Lions were now looking very confident, with the back four finding the time to knock it around along the line in order to open up space across the field for the midfield to exploit.
The Lions extended their lead when Campbell and Young combined to feed Bowden, who broke out of defence to go on a searching run down the right and his pin-point cross found Nicholson, who coolly slotted in for his 17th goal of the season.
It wasn’t long before Nicholson added to his tally for the season when he took a return pass from Young to play a one-two with D Thompson which created space for him to burst into the box and rifle his left-foot shot into the roof of the net.
Half-time arrived with the Lions in total control at 4-1 up and the second half was to see a similar pattern emerge with D Thompson, the first to secure his hat-trick after taking a pin-point pass from the impressive Smith to race clear of the home defence and find the bottom corner to make it 1-5.
The Lions’ sixth of the afternoon arrived with Nicholson securing his third hat-trick of the season when he picked up the ball from a Whickham goal-kick to race unchallenged into the box and chip the advancing goalkeeper.
The Lions weren’t finished there and a flowing move between Campbell, Young, Robson and Smith found Strong on the right. He turned the ball infield to Hill, who in turn fed Milburn on the left to find Nicholson at the edge of the box. His shot on the turn was well saved by the Whickham keeper but D Thompson was alert to side-foot his fourth of the game.
D Thompson finished the afternoon off in style when he smashed Bowden’s corner into the roof of the net for his fifth and the Lions’ eighth goal of the afternoon.
This was the Lions’ best performance of the season with some slick passing and good running both on and off the ball causing the home team problems all afternoon.