Youth shines in baptism of fire

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Morpeth 2 Marton Furness 0 North East Hockey League, Division One

MORPETH knew they were in for a tough, physical encounter with the travelling Teessiders.

Three points were crucial for both sides’ hopes of securing a mid-table position.

Morpeth were looking to continue their recent improvement in form after a disappointing draw against league leaders Sunderland and they put in another spirited performance in what is becoming a hugely cluttered end to the season with many matches remaining to be played.

Suffering with a number of key players injured, this was a chance to bring in some of the younger members of the club and it was certainly going to be a baptism of fire against Marton Furness.

The home side started off brightly and took the game to their opponents right from the off. A series of attacks from Morpeth were broken down and testimony to Marton Furness’ goals-conceded tally, their keeper was playing a huge part in keeping the ball out of the net.

The persistence of the Morpeth attack soon paid off when Ritchie Brown latched on to a through-ball only to be swept clean off his feet by the charging keeper. Stuart Fairbrother calmly stepped up to slot in the resulting penalty flick to give Morpeth a 1-0 lead.

The start of the second half brought the expected high press from Furness and some superb defending from McLean, Fairbrother, Holmes and Mulligan, with assistance from Shafiq, kept the visitors’ hopes of an equaliser alive. Keeper Steve Jackson also made some superb reactive saves to keep Morpeth in the game.

Morpeth were beginning to make each attack count by either getting in a shot, or winning a short corner. Morpeth’s second goal came from a short-corner with Danecki dispatching a drag-flick high and left, much to the delight of everyone involved.

It was key to keep the concentration and efforts to a maximum for Morpeth and frustration soon set in for Marton Furness, with a yellow card ending the game for one of their more skilled players.

Furness tried in earnest to get a goal back and Jackson was in fine form to keep the clean sheet.

A great three points for Morpeth, hugely deserved by every player, especially the likes of Will Mooney and Jack Murgatroyd, who showed fantastic composure under the threat of the Furness sticks flying in from all angles.

Scorers: Stuart Fairbrother, Paul Danecki. Man-of-the-match: Steve Jackson, Paul Danecki.