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Morpeth I 5 Stockton II 0 North East Hockey League, Division One

THIS was going to be a huge game for Morpeth.

Struggling in the league so far, Stockton travelled north being the only team that Morpeth had taken three points from this season.

Having suffered from poor starts, Morpeth were keen to start the game at a high tempo and at a pace that they could dictate in the hope that they could get an early lead.

Things couldn’t have gone better for Morpeth. With only minutes gone, a long ball was picked up by Danecki with only the keeper to beat. Having got around him for an easy finish, the keeper dived and sent Danecki tumbling for a penalty flick. Ogden despatched the effort clinically.

This was a gift of a start, but Morpeth wanted more.

Shortly after the great start, the home team were awarded a short-corner.

McLean sent the ball accurately to the top of the D for Ogden to flick it in off the crossbar with superb accuracy. Ten minutes gone, 2-0 to the good. Just what was asked from Morpeth.

The men in green continued to press, and could well have hit double figures before half-time were it not for slippy conditions and premature finishing. However, the 2-0 score led Morpeth to realise that the tie was there for the taking and only composure and concentration were needed to take the much-needed points.

Stockton knew that they had to start the second half flying if there was any chance of rescuing the points, but Morpeth had different plans and soon made it 3-0 when a period of prolonged pressure saw Ritchie Brown finish.

Ogden completed his hat-trick with another near-perfect short-corner, his low shot deflected past the stranded keeper to make it 4-0.

The points were put beyond doubt when Paul Danecki ended a superb passing play to get his name on the scoresheet.

The Stockton keeper continued to play heroically and were it not for him, then Morpeth would have easily made the scoreline a cricket score. Ogden’s hat-trick deservedly earned him the man-of-the-match award, which someone had to take, but the entire squad played well.

Scorers: James Ogden (three), Ritchie Brown, Paul Danecki. Man-of-the-match: James Ogden.