Wigton Ladies 1 Morpeth Ladies 3
THE first match of the new season saw a few changes to the girls in green and gold from Morpeth – for a start, they were playing in white.
New recruits have been added to the strong team that left the ladies fifth in the league last season. First up against this formidable force was recently-relegated Wigton.
Skipper McLean made it clear in the pre-match talk that a strong start was needed. From the off, Morpeth were offensive, dominating the play from the midfield, with A Blissett and McLean putting pressure on.
Excellent linking between the midfield and forwards created lots of opportunities to score. Some brilliant balls were crossed in from O’Mahony on the right, but struggled to be converted.
As the first half progressed, a few breaks from the opposition tested the new partnership of Watkins and C Blissett at the back.
Extra support from Hamilton and Bryson made it clear that Morpeth’s defence was too strong to let in Wigton.
As the half-time whistle blew with the score goalless, Morpeth knew that the match was theirs for the taking.
Although the first half had been dominated by the away side, the home team were keen to make their mark.
Some fast-paced play from the opposition caught the defence on the back foot. Despite great efforts from the visitors, C Blissett was caught out and saw the ball fly past her and Halliday into the top corner.
Going one goal down fuelled the trailing side. However, the Wigton forwards also picked up their game and were a challenge for the defence, who gave away the first short corner for the home side.
A shot on goal didn’t reach the debuting keeper, being deflected off the back line by C Blissett. Some great connecting play on the right, between Oborka-Letman and Dakin, pushed the ball up the pitch to threaten the opposition’s defence.
It wasn’t long before the hard work paid off and Morpeth were duly rewarded by a seamless goal from Blades.
The team breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed back in to the game.
Level pegging, the game had opened up again. The Wigton forwards came close to scoring from another short corner, but the goal-post was in favour of the visitors.
A battle for goal was fought and the home side gave away a penalty-flick, which was effortlessly put away by Pollock. Now in the lead, Morpeth held strong and defensive to make sure the only goals scored were from them.
It paid off and a strike from Pollock saw the visitors go 3-1 up with five minutes to go.
The team remained defensive with some excellent pressure on the home side forcing errors and meant the visitors could keep possession until the final whistle.
With a win for the start of the season, it looks promising for the Morpeth Ladies.
Man-of-the-match was closely contested, but captain McLean clinched the title.
Team: Halliday, Watkins, C Blissett, Hamilton, Bryson, Simpson, Oborka-Letman, A Blissett, McLean, Pollock, Dakin, Blades, O’Mahony.