Durham Uni IV 1 Morpeth I 0
WITH a hugely-valuable three points from the previous result, Morpeth Hockey Club’s men’s first team were looking to build on the promising performance in what would prove to be a tricky game at Durham.
It’s been a funny season for Morpeth. Most will look at the league position with disappointment and with closer inspection you will see that Morpeth have one of the best defensive records in the league. It’s just the goal-scoring that has been few and far between, which has caused their league placing to suffer.
So, with a strong squad and confidence in their defensive talent, Morpeth set out with the emphasis on keeping possession and making use of their time in the final third of the pitch.
Durham’s main efforts in the game were to keep Morpeth out of their D, something which they did well for the entire 70 minutes.
What would eventually prove to be the winning goal came early on in the first half when a parried save from the Morpeth keeper found a stray attacker on the back-post to slot the loose ball home.
This was one of very few shots from Durham, but unlike their opposition, they took the chance that was gifted to them and made the Morpeth men suffer for it.
There were strong performances from Dye and Fairbrother in the centre of defence. Carmichael did a great job marshalling the play in the centre of the pitch too. Jack Murgatroyd also showed some great signs of the great things to come with his time on the pitch.
Despite it being another loss for the Green and Gold, there was a marked improvement in their performance all over the pitch and some great signs to take forward into the remaining six games of the season.
If each Morpeth player were to be honest with themselves, they just weren’t quite up to speed with the students in all areas of the pitch. Despite playing one of their better games of the season, the way the eventual result went shows how important it is to keep hold of the ball as the loss of possession and cheap turnover of the ball was far too frequent, and became really costly.
The Morpeth defence were again at their best in most areas of the pitch and dealt well with the sprightly student surges, all marshalled fantastically by man-of-the-match Stu Fairbrother.
A double header next weekend sees two crucial games come up in which Morpeth must pick up points to relieve a little more pressure from the threat of the bottom of the table.
Man-of-the-match: Stu Fairbrother.