Tricky away tie on bouncy water pitch

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Durham City I 1 Morpeth I 3 North East Hockey League, Premier Division

MORPETH men’s first team started the 2012/13 campaign with a tricky game away to Durham City on an unfamiliar water-based surface.

With some new faces in the line-up, the visitors set their stall out to pass the ball around confidently and keep possession, which is very much the emphasis and ethos for the Green and Gold this year.

Despite not being used to the bouncy water-based surface, Morpeth started brightly and a short corner was converted within the first five minutes of the game with Tom Carmichael coolly smashing home the rebound from the initial shot.

Durham soon found their tempo and managed to dominate spells in the first-half making sure that the Morpeth defence and keeper were kept alert. Most of the home side’s efforts were competently thwarted and the disciplined heads meant that play could then rebuild. The midfield did a great job linking up with the defence and forwards to keep the ball moving confidently.

The away side went 2-0 up, not long before half-time, when great movement from the forwards saw John Dixon with the ball on the left of the D. His reverse shot-cum-cross found Bruce McPate completely unmarked at the back post to guide the ball into the undefended goal.

The second half saw much the same intensity and fluidity of play as there was in the first half and Morpeth were to extend their lead with yet another goal from a midfielder. Great passing saw the ball worked into the D from the right-hand side and despite the melee of players in the goalmouth, Peth debutant Alex Ingram managed to place the ball where he wanted for his first goal for the club.

With a slight case of lack of match fitness, the warm conditions and the bouncy surface, the visitors’ legs began to tire towards the end and an error in midfield allowed the young Durham forwards to pounce on the counter-attack and claim a consolation goal.

Morpeth will look to make it two wins out of two against Wilton at home on Saturday.