Morpeth fall to strong rivals

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Durham University III 3 Morpeth I 1 North East Hockey League, Premier Division

MORPETH men’s first team travelled to Durham for their first fixture against Durham University’s third side.

Against a number of teams this Durham side have threatened to reach double figures, so Morpeth expected to spend more time defending than attacking.

With one of the best defences in the league, this was not a great concern for the visitors who were intent on attacking at every opportunity and testing the University side.

But the home side started well and inside the first 10 minutes, a hard flick found the bottom right corner from a penalty corner.

Then a poor pass out from the 16 yard line handed possession back to Durham who were decisive in the turn-over and penetrated the top of the circle to dispatch a solid strike into the bottom left corner that gave the Morpeth keeper, Steve Jackson, no chance even in his current form.

Morpeth came back into the game and enjoyed some attacking possession, although they could not make any of their opportunities count.

The second half was a brighter affair for the visitors. Controlling the ball well, Paul Danecki passed the ball across the face of goal for Will Mooney to slot home on the back post. This provided a timely warning to Durham and a reminder to Morpeth that they should not resign themselves to watching the ball being played around in front of them.

Now a more even game, the two sides traded attacks and possession. But Durham continued to display great skills in all positions and continued to use their pace and movement to test the Morpeth defence without creating clear chances.

Morpeth keeper Steve Jackson was able to deal with those efforts that did come his way, even the occasional goal bound ball from his own player.

The final seconds brought one last period of frenzied action and resulted in a final penalty corner for Durham.

Another strong flick from the top of the circle to the right post caught the defender’s stick then thigh to drop behind the keeper, who cleared the ball into his own goal as he turned to make the save.

Although an advantage would have resulted in a fourth, the early whistle signalled a penalty flick that Steve Jackson saved to make the final scoreline 3-1.