Good effort not enough

Stockton V 4 Morpeth II 3 North East Hockey League, Division Four

MORPETH faced Stockton on a warm March afternoon, looking to build on their good form from the previous weekend.

The visitors knew they faced a tough task against an experienced side and this showed in the early stages of the game as Stockton stifled Morpeth’s passing game and causing a few problems of their own, drawing early saves from visiting keeper Stewart.

As the away side began to get a foothold in the game, the hosts struck twice in quick succession. Good individual skill from the Stockton forward produced the first goal, with the second coming from a long ball through moments after the restart.

These goals sparked Morpeth into life and they grabbed a goal back just before the interval when good interplay between Mooney and Anderson fed the ball to James and his powerful ball in the circle was tipped past the keeper by Macdonald.

Morpeth knew if they could raise the tempo in the second half they could win the match and they soon equalised from a penalty-corner shortly after the restart.

The initial shot produced a fine save from the keeper, however he was powerless to stop Mooney tapping in at the back-post.

But as in the first half, the visitors were hit with another double whammy.

A long ball found the Stockton forward, his shot deflecting of James’ stick as he attempted to make a tackle, causing the ball to loop over the on-rushing keeper and go in off the post.

Moments later, the home side won a penalty-corner and the ball was powered into the corner of the goal.

With Stockton now content to sit deep and defend their lead. Morpeth struggled to break through and create any chances and it took a moment of individual skill from C Gordon to win a penalty-corner.

The initial shot by Anderson was saved by the keeper, only for Anderson to follow up and smash the ball high into the net to make it 4-3.

The away side pressed forward in the remaining minutes but were unable to find a late equaliser.

This was a good team effort from Morpeth, who will look to win the final game of the season on Saturday at home to Wilton.