Honours even in tough battle

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Wilton II 2 Morpeth III 2

ALTHOUGH not ultimately ending in a victory, this was possibly the Third team’s best performance of the season thus far.

The game started with only nine Morpeth players on the pitch due to transport problems en route to Teesside.

With Booth starting well in a solo advanced position, the away team avoided becoming too entrenched in their own half due to sheer lack of numbers.

However, the resistance was only to last so long. Before 10 minutes had passed, Wilton broke through from their right-wing to score in a central position following some hesitant defending. This, though, was the exception to the rule and throughout the remainder of the match the Northumbrian team defended stoutly with Holden, Gordon and Durance featuring equally.

Once up to their allowed 11, Morpeth started to exert some pressure of their own.

Ireland, as combatative as ever in midfield, started to not only break up play but initiate progressive movement.

Wilton had already been awarded a few penalty-corners before Morpeth won one of their own through incisive forward play from Macdonald.

This first clear sight of goal was not to be wasted as Renwick fired a ball just inside the left-hand post and, though this part of the goal was protected, the defender was unable to cope with the sheer weight of shot.

Further good play from the away side meant that Wilton were now starting to feel pressured while in possession and especially when in defence.

The second-half saw Morpeth continue to compete on equal terms with a team much higher up their league table.

Wilton clearly possess some players with fine stick skills and good movement but this was matched by sheer endeavour and commitment to the cause, with Foster embodying the same, managing to play through a shoulder injury with good effect.

The Teesside-based team did resume the lead but only as a result of quick play down their left and a very well-taken shot dispatched from a good distance out with pin-point accuracy inside the far-post.

Morpeth refused to let this set them back and they resumed their harrying efforts. This was rewarded by possession being regained on an ongoing basis and ultimately resulted in a richly-deserved equaliser.

Good combined play and finely-timed running resulted in an initial shot from Cook being well blocked by a defender.

But the ball merely rebounded to the Morpeth captain to allow him to strike it past the opposing keeper from six yards out.

There should have been only about five minutes left for the away side to hold out for a well-merited point. However, the umpire decided that earlier minor injuries had caused over 10 minutes of delay.

In fact, Morpeth had chances of their own to edge this hard-fought encounter. Booth failed to score from two separate close-to-goal opportunities, trying to force the ball through the goalkeeper’s pads when laying it off would have been the wiser option.

The final whistle eventually arrived and Wilton had failed to win at the Thornaby ground for the first time – a true indication of the measure of achievement for the fully-determined Morpeth Thirds.

Scorers: Renwick, Cook. Man-of-the-match: P Durance.

Tynedale II 6 v Morpeth IV 4

MORPETH IV travelled to Hexham to face a strong Tynedale side.

The first half was end-to-end, but remarkably, given the final score, neither team were able to get the first goal before half-time.

The deadlock was broken by Tynedale.

Undeterred, Ian Foster smashed home a first-time shot to level the scores.

This rattled Tynedale and from another quick attack, M Bott was there to sweep the ball home and give the away side the lead.

For some reason, Morpeth then lost confidence and soon found themselves three goals down. Morpeth hit a third when Ian Foster pulled the trigger again.

Then Tynedale looked nervous and Morpeth pressed but Tynedale were awarded a penalty flick to make it 6-3.

The game was not finished and Mockett smashed a goal back.