Lions tamed by Hall

Morpeth Lions U12s 1 Newbiggin Hall U12s 7

THE Lions faced a stern test at home against Newbiggin Hall, who, although lying fourth in the table, had been beaten by Morpeth on their home ground only two weeks previously.

It looked as though the Lions were capable of repeating their heroics again when a flowing move resulted in them going 1-0 up within the first five minutes as Milburn swept in D Thompson’s cross from the right.

The Lions went close to extending their lead when Young and Hill combined in the middle of the park to send Nicholson free but his low shot was well saved by the Newbiggin keeper.

This early flourish of slick passing football from the Lions was soon to be countered by Newbiggin who started to muscle their way back into the game and it needed a string of fine saves from Magneron in the Morpeth goal to keep the lads’ lead intact.

It was inevitable that the pressure on the Lions goal would eventually pay dividends for Newbiggin and halfway through the first half they equalised from a well-worked corner.

The Lions were finding it very difficult to deal with the away team’s direct style of football and after more fine saves from Magneron and some last-ditch defending from Bowden, J Thompson and Brown, Newbiggin eventually took the lead just on the stroke of half-time.

The Lions started the second half with a bit more purpose and Walker and McCarthy combined well down the right but Milburn was just unable to connect with McCarthy’s low cross into the box.

As the Lions pressed for the equaliser they were starting to leave gaps at the back and these were being well exploited by Newbiggin who extended their lead when a long ball caught the Morpeth defence on the back foot.

This third goal from the visitor’s seemed to dent the Lions confidence and they gave away a penalty. Although Magneron saved the spot kick, he was powerless to stop the rebound being slotted home.

The Lions did carve out another chance to put some respectability on the score when Gascoigne combined with Strong to feed D Thompson who’s low shot went just wide of the post.

Newbiggin, sensing that the Lions were well beaten, went on to score a further three goals in the last five minutes of the game and whil the scoreline may have been a little harsh on the home team they could have little complaints about the defeat.

l A week earlier, the Lions were involved in a see-saw game away to Whitley Bay U12s.

A long ball caught out the Morpeth defence and the home side went 1-0 up, but the Lions were to draw level immediately from the kick-off as Smith sent Nicholson free and his well-timed lob cleared the keeper to nestle in the bottom corner of the net.

As the half was coming to a close, another long ball out of defence caught the lads on the back-foot and with a clinical finish Whitley Bay went into the interval a goal up.

It was the Lions who drew first blood in the second half, with Thompson finishing off a flowing move involving McCarthy, Milburn and Young to make it 2-2.

Both teams had chances as the second half wore on, but just as the game seemed to be petering out to a draw the home team broke away to break the Lions’ hearts with a well-taken last-minute winner.