Baptists manage a point to keep in the fight

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Morpeth Baptist Church 1 Stockton Hebron 1 North East Christian Fellowship Premier Division

ON the coldest day of March, Morpeth faced a side with who they had shared the spoils earlier in the season in an eight-goal thriller.

They had a number of players back in the squad and on paper looked to have good attacking options.

Morpeth started the game well and got back to their preferred style of play with good, short-passing football and plenty of off-the-ball movement.

The returning Johnson stroked a neat pass to striker Tanney, who struck a sweet shot into the bottom right-hand corner, with the help of a minor deflection to give the Baptists the lead within three minutes.

The early lead gave the home side a much-needed lift and seemed to give Tanney another boost of energy as he chased down every ball, efforts that would eventually earn him a man-of-the-match award.

Chambers, who was playing in his new role on the left-wing, seemed to achieve plenty of success taking on his opponent.

But Morpeth failed to convert possession and pressure into another goal and after 27 minutes a route-one ball from the visiting goalkeeper bounced over all of his own team and came at a difficult height for Morpeth’s goalkeeper Appleby to deal with.

Combined with a lack of communication with midfielder Richardson the catch was dropped, allowing the lingering away striker to tap over the line to bring the scores level.

Stockton had their tails up and maintained the majority of the possession for the rest of the half.

The second half started like the first, with Morpeth dominating possession.

Again Chambers was providing most of the forward play down the left-flank, with assistance from Johnson and Garbutt, who linked up well with Curry and Tanney.

The back four faced very little for the second period and both right-back Elliott and left-back Fletcher were pushing forward to try and gain the three points.

Elliott created the best chance of the half with a first-time cross from the right-wing zipping across the goalmouth but both Curry and Tanney failed to get on the end of the ball.

A late free-kick was delivered in from Bird and Elliott brushed the cross just wide of the right-hand upright.

Morpeth have two remaining fixtures in which they must secure maximum points to remain in the division.

Team: Appleby, Elliott, Bird, Fletcher, Dewhirst, Richardson (Cooper), Garbutt (Snowball), Johnson, Chambers, Tanney (Quincey), C Curry.