Stockton Churches Hebron 4 Morpeth Baptist Church 3 North East Christian Fellowship League Cup
MBC were knocked out in the first round of the NECF League Cup, losing to a last-minute goal following a great comeback in an exciting match.
After their heavy defeat to the same opposition in the league last weekend, MBC returned to Stockton with a determination to improve on that performance and result.
A number of players returned to the team and Morpeth, on another semi-frozen pitch and in cold but bright conditions, started strongly.
Indeed they took the lead in three minutes when Carmichael smartly finished after some good work down the right. Hebron came back strongly though, and managed to hit the woodwork a number of times during the first half. It was more than 30 minutes into the match though until they equalised when the left-back finished with a good shot into the far corner after ghosting past a couple of Morpeth defenders.
There were some good individual battles taking place across the pitch but it was Hebron who took the initiative in the second half, scoring a couple of quick goals to take a 3-1 lead.
Unlike in previous matches though, when MBC heads have dropped, the team kept going and were having some success down the left wing through the close control, speed and skill of Bellamy.
Striker Lavender brought MBC back into the game with a finely-taken finish. The referee awarded MBC a penalty for hand-ball as Bellamy attempted to cross, and Lavender stepped up to place the ball confidently into the corner of the net from the penalty spot.
Both teams then went for the win
It looked like MBC might benefit from a Hebron goalkeeping error as the ball spun through his legs towards the line after another Lavender shot but the keeper managed to recover.
Man-of-the-match Brown, playing in central defence, was typically strong and combative and marshalled the MBC defence well. Then cruelly, in the last minute of normal time, the Hebron centre forward, looking suspiciously offside, latched onto a through ball and finished well.
Despite five minutes of injury-time, MBC couldn’t conjure up another equaliser and were therefore knocked out of the cup. It was a much-improved performance with strong performances throughout the team. MBC will return to league action next week knowing that if they play in the same way more positive results will come.
Team: D Appleby, A Elliott, P Brooks, T Brown, D Cooper, A Carmichael, D Johnson, C Curry, J Bellamy, B Lavender, M Chambers (C Snowball). Subs: (not used): M Curry, R Garbutt, A Haxell.