Thirds in seventh heaven for win

Stockton IV 1 Morpeth III 7

On a beautiful February afternoon in scenic Billingham, Morpeth Hockey Club’s men’s third team struck seven of the best by overpowering a fragile Stockton side.

It was a comprehensive victory, with many chances coming in open play from a well-balanced side.

It was in the final third of the pitch that all the youngsters seem to come alive, linking well on both flanks to send the ball into dangerous areas.

Adam Shafiq and Finlay Pearce caught the eye with increasing confidence up front.

The first-half goals came from Finlay Pearce’s first-time deflection from a Shafiq cross, Tordoff scoring in open play and later slamming home a short-corner and Ben Palmer following up from his own saved shot.

The second half saw tactical changes from Stockton who held Morpeth at first and then scored from a single short-corner.

This stirred the Morpeth captain Mike Murray, who cunningly scored from a short-corner rebound, and later scored again from a short-corner deflected at the near post, breaking his duck with a solid two for the season.

As Morpeth probed on either flank, Peter Durance showed some silky touches with a previously unused reverse side of the stick, moving the ball not only from right to left, but amazingly from left to right, in a slow motion dribble that fooled opposition and team-mates alike.

The resulting short-corner produced the second of Murray’s goals.

There was the usual fiery display from Nick Hamilton.

Yuri and Chris were solid and showed great promise. Ben Palmer displayed his usual flair, scoring once in the first half. Good performances for Gregor Pearce, Neil Grant and Mark Pearse completed the outfield stars mentioned in despatches.

The thirds can be proud of a good performance played in good spirit from which to move on to the next challenge.

Man-of-the-match: Adam Shafiq.

Morpeth IV 4 Gateshead IV 4

Morpeth fourths entertained Gateshead at Longhirst for this development league encounter.

The game started brightly for Morpeth, as Martyn Bott crashed a 30-yard pass to Ollie Scott, whose deft touch, nutmegged the goalkeeper to open the scoring, but Gateshead struck back to level it.

Mo Hamud struck with a fine shot to reclaim the lead.

Morpeth capitulated and a series of poor marking and errors allowed Gateshead to strike back and level the score.

Gateshead found themselves two goals ahead before half-time.

Stern words were said by Martyn Bott at half-time and Ollie Scott managed to score his second goal to bring Morpeth back into the game.

The game seemed to be slipping away from Morpeth as time was running out. It was literally in the final 30 seconds of play did they save their unbeaten run.

Martyn Bott found himself in the D and he cut back and lobbed the keeper with a reverse stick shot.

The game ended 4-4 and Morpeth must play better in the final few games.