Morpeth Lions suffer Storm damage in cup

RHF Storm U12s 4 Morpeth Lions U12s 2

THE Lions returned to League Cup action on Sunday with a difficult away game against RHF Storm, a division above the Lions and sitting top of their league after an unbeaten start to the season of seven wins and one draw.

The Lions also had to shuffle their defence in the absence of Bowden, with Gascoigne coming in alongside Campbell in the centre and Brown and J Thompson slotting into the full-back positions in front of Magneron in goal.

In midfield, Hill and Smith resumed their partnership in the centre with Strong and Milburn on the wings with instructions to get forward to support Nicholson and D Thompson upfront.

The game kicked off on a heavy pitch, with RHF putting the Lions under early pressure with a string of corners which were well dealt with by the lads. Magneron was also called into action pushing a fierce shot around the post while at full stretch. After weathering the early storm, the Lions began to settle down and started to play their way into the game with both Nicholson and D Thompson starting to run at the RHF defence.

However, just as the Lions were having their best spell of the game, a harsh decision presented RHF with a corner, from which they scored with a well-struck shot from the edge of the six-yard box.

The Lions didn’t have time to re-group before they found themselves 2-0 down from another well-taken goal from the home team’s centre-forward.

The Lions were in danger of being over-run by the home team but rather than buckle from the disappointment of conceding two goals in quick concession they rallied and after good work from Smith and Milburn in the centre, Strong fired home from an acute angle to bring the lads back into the game.

The half-time whistle gave both teams a chance to catch their breaths with both sides knowing that the next goal would be crucial to the outcome of the game.

The start of the second half saw the Lions nearly draw level when good work in the centre between Smith and Strong released Nicholson through the middle but his well-struck shot was well saved by the advancing home team’s keeper.

As the game wore on, both teams began to open up playing free-flowing, end-to-end football but it would be RHF who would hit first in the second half with another unstoppable strike from the edge of the box which crashed into the top corner of Magneron’s goal.

The Lions introduced Young and Robson into the game to provide fresh legs and it wasn’t long before a crunching challenge from Young released D Thompson down the right but his pin-point cross was superbly turned behind just before Nicholson could pounce.

The home team were to extend their lead further when the Lions were caught on the break after sending everyone forward for a corner.

At 4-1, the game was out of the Lions’ reach but it did not stop them pressing forward and just before full-time, Hill knocked down Smith’s corner to Campbell, who hit a rising shot on the half-volley into the roof of the net.

The final whistle brought to an end a pulsating game in which the Lions were never out-classed by their high-flying rivals.

Ironically, the Lions will not have to wait long to try to get their revenge as they are set to host RHF in the NACYP Cup next Sunday.