Morpeth grab a draw with last hit of the game

Morpeth Ladies I 2 Wakefield Ladies II 2 North Hockey Women’s League, Division One

With a rocky start to the season, the team’s mental drive has been sorely tested.

It was this clash last year that brought a turning point for Morpeth’s season and the girls were damned sure it was going to happen again.

The first half saw Morpeth rocket out of the starting blocks and like a swarm were all over the visitors.

Morpeth looked like a formidable force and although they appeared to have the upper hand, they struggled to keep possession in the attacking D, rendering them unable to achieve any clinical shots on target. Wakefield, who only looked dangerous on one or two occasions, managed to turn the run of play and win themselves a short corner. With a shot on target, Rose was defeated by a deflection and saw Morpeth go 1-0 down.

They gritted their teeth, took a deep breath and returned fire. Storming runs by the rotating forward line (O’Mahony, Pollock, Blissett and Korish) saw Morpeth back in their attacking quarter.

Dakin swooped in, laying the ball off to McLean who just managed to get enough power on it to get over the line right on the half-time whistle (1-1).

The team talk was positive and the girls knew they weren’t giving this away. With an injection of glucose and much-needed re-hydration, both teams returned to the pitch. It was a worrying first few minutes and Wakefield made plenty of work for Watkins and Hindmarch at the back.

Not shaken, they played a steady hand, moving the ball out to Bryson and Elliott who, in turn, rebuilt the team’s formation, creating more attacking play.

Dictating the play, Morpeth held Wakefield but struggled to score.

With the whole team willing a goal, Morpeth left themselves open and even Hamilton was caught on the back foot. Rose made some fabulous saves, however, one was deemed illegal and a flick was given.

Morpeth’s heads dropped as they found themselves in an all-too-familiar position, it was 2-1.

Rallied on by their captain McLean and with support on the sideline, Morpeth’s never-say-die attitude raised its head. Game on.

Morpeth re-grouped and piled the pressure on Wakefield. Hamilton pushed through, opening up the play. Unable to stop the midfield, Wakefield resorted to late tackles, which saw their captain and another player receiving yellow cards and being sent to the sideline.

Morpeth kept pushing and in the dying minutes of the game were finally awarded a penalty corner.

In the final play of the day, captain McLean struck it cleanly down the keeper’s left-hand side for 2-2 and a very important point.

Morpeth: Janice Rose, Karen Hindmarch, Lyn Watkins, Alison Elliott, Teleri Hamilton, Sally Bryson, Nikki McLean (captain), Lucy Dakin, Kat Corish, Lyndsay Pollock, Arran O’Mahony, Ann Blissett.

Player-of-the-match: McLean.