Beaten by the table-toppers

Durham University Men’s III 2 Morpeth Men’s I 0 North East Hockey League, Premier Division

MORPETH put in a decent performance but still fell to a second successive league defeat.

The rolling back four of Mulligan, Dye, Fairbrother, McLean and Malecki stood their ground well and handled all that was thrown at them from the side at the top of the table.

But after 15 minutes, a well-worked set play and through-ball to the Durham centre forward caught the Morpeth defence off-guard and the resulting flick-shot found its way into the back of the net.

The visitors continued to play with passion in their hearts and would not give up and soon enough, the attacking play started to be less one-sided.

Some excellent retention of the ball by the midfield ensured that Dixon, who was roaming alone up front, soon had the chance to make his mark on the game.

The best chance of scoring in the first half came from a well-worked phase of play and Danecki, using the natural bounce of the pitch, re-directed a loose ball into the path of Brown who was unfortunate not to get a clear shot away.

The students continued their strong attacks in the second half, but three penalty corners were handled excellently by the man-of-the-match, goalkeeper Steve Jackson.

Morpeth sensed that they could get something out of the game and a couple of frantic last-ditch defensive tackles by Durham gave them a few well-deserved penalty corners. A slick injection by McLean almost resulted in the equaliser, however an attempted lob of the keeper just went over the crossbar.

In the final third of the game, the Durham boys managed to sneak a bouncing shot into the Morpeth goal to make the final score 2-0, but the away side walked off the pitch at full-time with their heads held high.

l Morpeth Men’s III lost 2-1 away to Durham City IV in the North East Hockey League’s Development One division.

The visitors were the most dangerous side, but could not take advantage of their opportunities in the first half.

They took the lead in the second period when Renwick fed Macdonald and the latter scored from an acute angle five yards to the left of the goal.

However, the cardinal sin of failing to play to the whistle was punished as Durham won a short corner that they converted to equalise and then a defensive error allowed a City player to score the winner.