Firsts are definitely safe from the drop after away-day win

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Wakefield Ladies II 1 Morpeth Ladies I 4 North Hockey Women’s League, Division One

MORPETH made the trip to West Yorkshire on a minibus for their final away game of the season and the girls were in good spirits, knowing that a win would secure them safety from relegation.

As they stepped onto the ‘Smurf turf’ with the music blaring and the stands filling, the visitors began to adjust to the bounce of the water-based pitch.

Both teams started quickly and, for the first 10 minutes, the game resembled a tennis match. However, the Longhirst-based side soon settled and began to build play and maintain possession. Their first goal came 15 minutes in – Hamilton fired the ball into the D and Blissett deflected it into the top left corner (0-1).

Ten minutes later, Dakin and Blissett hassled down the Wakefield defence on the left to steal possession. The ball was crossed to Hamilton, who skilfully entered the D and, with a strong push to the keeper’s left, managed to double her team’s lead (0-2).

At half-time, confidence was high and ‘the same again’ was the request from captain McLean.

Wakefield came back fighting but the away side responded and, with some textbook play up the right through Elliot, O’Mahony and McLean, the third goal was put past the keeper – McLean adding herself to the scoresheet (0-3).

A lapse in concentration saw the hosts take advantage of a quick break, bringing the score to 1-3. But Morpeth responded positively and returned to their previous form.

Play continued to build well, with Hindmarch, Rose and Watkins remaining solid in defence and there were some excellent clearing balls to Bryson and Elliot on the wings.

O’Mahony, Corish and Blades continued to pressure the defence, which eventually paid off.

An interception by Corish saw her one-on-one with the keeper.

A smooth dodge gave her an open goal and the visitors’ fourth and final of the match (1-4).

On the final whistle, a tired but triumphant Morpeth left the pitch happy in the knowledge they would be back in the same division next season.

Player-of-the-match: Hamilton