Comfortable win as firsts run riot on the road

Newcastle University II 0 Morpeth I 5 North East Hockey League, Premier Division

Morpeth kept up the pressure on leaders Durham University III following an excellent team performance on Saturday.

The tactic of pressing the students into unforced errors reaped rewards immediately as Ross Valentine and Luke Hudson repeatedly stole the ball from the opposition back four, with Valentine coming close to scoring in the opening minutes.

Hudson opened the scoring shortly afterwards when the uni side lost possession in their own half and Morpeth flooded the D. With his first shot saved by the keeper, Hudson clinically despatched the rebound.

Newcastle struggled to get through the compact formation employed by the visitors and they continued to have their pockets picked by the energetic forward line.

Valentine again tackled one of the defenders after some loose control and drove towards the D. The keeper was rounded and the shot fired into the back corner for goal number two.

Morpeth were in complete control of the game at this point and what few chances Newcastle created were dealt with confidently by the away side’s defence, with Adrian Dye and Rob Machin turning in typically solid displays.

They made it 3-0 when John Dixon went on a great run to stretch the hosts’ backline and calmly crossed the ball to fellow forward Dom Burrin, who was on hand at the penalty spot to slip the ball into the goal.

In the second half, Newcastle started to get more possession in their opponent’s half, but this was mostly due to some sloppy play from Morpeth.

The visitors conceded a penalty corner, but keeper Sam Read was on top form and saved low to his right to maintain his clean sheet.

With the individual errors reduced and the energy levels raised, it was not long before Morpeth were causing Newcastle more problems on the counter attack.

And they went further ahead when Hudson drifted across the top of the D before moving the ball away from the defender and onto his reverse to rifle another shot into the opposite corner of the goal.

All the Morpeth players continued to put in a decent shift and Valentine, spurred on by some support on the side-line, eliminated a defender and then the on-rushing keeper to sweep the ball into the top corner with his reverse stick and make it 5-0 to Morpeth at full-time.

Man-of-the-match: Stuart Fairbrother.