Morpeth I 4 Sunderland II 3 North East Hockey League, Premier Division
MORPETH men’s first team went into this game against the bottom-of-the-league side knowing that nothing less than three points were vital in order to keep their season alive.
As expected, the game started in a very open manner with the home side looking to dominate early possession and maintain control through the midfield.
But they suffered a setback after conceding a short-corner, as the away side converted it to take the lead.
Morpeth maintained their belief and were patient in the hunt for an equaliser. Steady build-up play and good off-the-ball movement won the Longhirst Hall-based team a succession of short-corners.
The breakthrough came when Mellor played a pass to Malecki on the left-post. He kept his composure and slotted the ball under the keeper.
Sunderland were reduced to 10 men after a deliberate foul on Brown resulted in the player seeing yellow.
With momentum on their side, Morpeth then took control of the game and pressed high looking for the lead.
It wasn’t long before they went 2-1 ahead. The ball found its way to Mooney, who in turn kept a calm head to finish past an oncoming defender and the keeper.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with both sides looking for goals.
It was the home side who extended their lead, this time a scramble from a short-corner found the ball with Dixon, who cleverly guided it inside the near-post on his reverse stick.
Morpeth were cruising at this point, but a brief lapse in concentration allowed Sunderland to steal another fairly soft goal.
With not long to go, the hosts once again managed to increase the margin when Calder fired home to make it 4-2. A late short-corner allowed Sunderland their third, but it wasn’t enough for them to get anything from the game.
This was a much-improved performance from recent weeks and the much-needed three points enabled Morpeth to go into their encounter with Durham University at the weekend in high spirits.