Morpeth III 1 Sunderland Broom II 0 North East Hockey League, Intermediate 2
MORPETH thirds continued their good form with a narrow victory at their Longhirst home.
They started the game with real purpose as they pressed forward and produced a number of flowing moves.
Superb linking play between the midfield and the forward line, enhanced with superior pace, placed Sunderland Broom under mounting pressure and after 20 minutes, the opposition defence could hold out no longer.
The hosts were rewarded when MacDonald won the first short corner of the match. This was dispatched convincingly – a pinpoint shot by Gilmore arrowing inside the left post of the Sunderland goal.
A string of short corners followed the first as Morpeth continued to penetrate the opposition ‘D’ with relative ease. However, they were unsuccessful in converting any more of these set pieces.
After strong attacking play from the midfield trio of Tomlinson, Page and Renwick, the game began to open up in the second half. Spaces began to appear on the pitch that Morpeth managed to utilise more effectively than the visiting side.
MacDonald, following combination play with Gilmore, came very close to providing a second, pressure relieving, goal with a well struck reverse stick effort – the keeper only just managed to parry the ball away.
The teams found themselves locked in an increasingly-heated contest as the match progressed.
Mackay was awarded a green card for persistent stick tackles, with Sunderland refusing to give up on the game and providing some degree of threat to the home goal.
Morpeth, though, were the team to come out on top through greater determination, desire and work rate around the pitch.
During certain spells of the second half, the away side pushed forwards with real attacking intent.
But the defence remained unwavering and managed to see out the second half in hard-fought fashion. Crucial saves from Stewart, alongside resilient defensive work from captain Durance, Mackay, Mather and Murray, gave the hosts their first clean sheet of the season.
Morpeth’s youthful contingent impressed yet again, including a mature performance in the centre of the park from Shafiq, whose dynamic play and discipline certainly influenced the outcome of the game.
Burrin continued to justify his place in the starting eleven with dogged determination down Morpeth’s right flank. A special mention needs to be made for Jeffries, who made a solid debut in his first match following 16 years away from the game.
Man-of-the-match: Jamie MacDonald
This result for the thirds was followed by an away defeat. They lost 3-1 at Richmond II.