HOCKEY: Redcar I 1 Morpeth II 3
After a strong win for Morpeth seconds last weekend, heads were held high as they trekked down to Redcar to claim another three points.
The game began in the foggy weather on a pitch not suited to the speed and ability of the seconds. Nevertheless, Peth managed to remain strong and deliver an unbeatable performance against Redcar firsts.
Strong defence from Gray and Ash at the back led the team to push further up the field and, with Phelps in the middle, Morpeth were able to stretch the pitch and win a short-corner within the first seven minutes of the half.
With a new corner routine decided on the way to the game, Gilmore managed to strike the ball past the unaware keeper and into the backboard, putting Morpeth 1-0 up against the Redcar opposition.
With Redcar wanting to equalise, Peth held strong in the middle, with Shafiq and Evan making some brilliant runs and opportunities for Gilmore and Jamie.
Unfortunately, Redcar managed to come back and pull the score to 1-1, but Morpeth were not having any of it and, with another short-corner won, Gray managed to squeeze the ball past the Redcar defender’s ear and straight into the top corner of the net.
In awe, Redcar felt pressurised and could not finish the two shorts they received due to some cracking saves by Jackson.
After losing Craggs in the middle due to some friendly head banging, Morpeth managed to keep the pressure on.
With some tactical discussions between Gilmore and Burrin, the forwards pushed high and confused their defence, leading to a sublime reverse-stick hit past the keeper and into the goal by Burrin, putting Morpeth 3-1 up against Redcar.
Morpeth kept up the ante and, with strong defence from Durance and a cracking (literally) tackle from Ash, Peth did not concede any more goals.
With a final push by DJ, Morpeth nearly made a fourth goal but a couple of chances were just slightly missed.
With another game the next day, the seconds were thrilled to take the win as the final whistle determined them as the rightful winners.
This was a solid performance from the visitors that allowed them to take the win two weeks running.
North Shields II 3 Morpeth III 2
A tale of two halves, it must be said. A slow start to the game cost Morpeth dearly, 3-0 down in the first 20 minutes with the North Shields’ centre-forward given too much space in which he duly accepted helping himself to three goals, two from open play and one from a short-corner.
Not the start to the game we had been hoping for, but as the first half progressed, Morpeth grew into it, with special mention to both Neil Grant (birthday boy) and Adam Shafiq whose lively performances nullified the threat of North Shields’ influential centre-midfield partnership, thus allowing Morpeth to press higher up the field and maintain possession for large periods.
With Morpeth keeping possession very well, we began to play our style of hockey quick and direct passing lead to a series of short-corners which were unfortunately not taken advantage of, despite new injector Michael Murray’s pin-point deliveries.
It was a great pass from Hugh Robinson into Ben Palme that lead to Morpeth’s first goal with Ben expertly turning his marker and placing a composed finish beyond the keeper to ensure Morpeth’s first-half efforts would not go unrewarded.
North Shields’s to their credit took every chance that came their way leaving Morpeth 3-1 down at half-time, a stern talking to by captain Michael Murra had the team rallied for the second half.
Morpeth dominance of possession continued in the second half, combined with quick passing and attractive hockey at time, winning several short corners in the process.
One of which we made count, with Max Renwick having previously been denied by a piece of unorthodox goalkeeping, Ben Palmer stepped up to grab his second of the game, making the score line read 3-2, and contributing to a man of the match worthy performance.
Morpeth continued to keep the ball in North Shields’ final third but to no avail as the result ended 3-2, much to the disappointment of the Morpeth players who knew they had been the better side and had it not been for a disastrous 20 minute spell the three points would have been ours.
A special mention to Gregor and Finlay Pearce for their willingness to get on the ball, and not be intimidated by a physical North Shields side, special mention must also go to Paul Finch for his communication with the defensive line throughout the game, which was much-needed at times.
To conclude a disappointing result in which lessons must be learnt from, but the hunger and application of the players at 3-0 down was admirable and if we can cut out silly mistakes and maintain focus for 70 minutes results will come.