Lions roar as they bite Crawcrook

Morpeth Lions U12s 5 Ryton & Crawcrook U12s 0

MORPETH Lions’ season exploded into life with an emphatic home win against Ryton & Crawcrook on Sunday in front of their largest crowd of the season.

The Lions lined up with a new look formation — adopting a 4-1-3-2 system designed to make them harder to break down in defence while offering more flexible attacking options.

Bowden and Campbell formed a new central defensive partnership in front of Magneron in goal with Brown and J Thompson slotting in at full backs and Hill playing in a central defensive midfield role just in front of the back four.

It would be this new defensive backbone to the team which would provide the team with the foundations for the win.

The game started at a high tempo with both teams looking to take control but with Morpeth’s pace and power at the back the lads appeared to be better equipped to stamp their authority on the game.

It was only a matter of time before the Lions opened the scoring when good work from Smith and Milburn down the left provided Nicholson with the opportunity to use his pace to sprint clear of Ryton’s defence and coolly slot the ball past the advancing keeper to make it 1-0.

After a flowing move involving Bowden, Hill and Strong the ball eventually came to Milburn who cut in from the left and rifled the ball into the bottom corner to stretch the home side’s advantage.

While Morpeth were in control, Ryton still posed a threat going forward and it was only some stubborn defending by the back four which prevented them getting back into the game. Just before half-time another good move by the Lions ended with Smith whipping a low cross into the box and D Thompson reacted first to slot the ball past the Ryton keeper to make it 3-0.

The start of the second half saw the Lions making their only defensive error of the game with Ryton springing the offside trap, but to the relief of the home crowd Magneron made a superb one-on-one save to deny Ryton a goal.

Morpeth were still controlling possession and it wasn’t long before Nicholson latched onto a loose ball in the box to make it 4-0 and put the game out of Ryton’s reach.

The Lions brought on Young and Robson which released D Thompson to take up a more advanced role and it wasn’t long before a surging run ended with him being upended in the box, with Smith stepping up to smash the penalty into the net to round off a convincing win for the Lions.