Crucial victory in difficult conditions

Bolton Ladies I 0 Morpeth Ladies I 3 North Hockey Women’s League, Division One

MORPETH clinched their third win since the Christmas break to open up a bit of a gap between them and the North West sides below them in the table.

With just one point separating them and second bottom Bolton, three points was an absolute must. The conditions were tricky as it was wet and cold and parts of the pitch were affected by standing water.

The visitors started strongly. Although they found themselves on the back foot on one or two occasions in the early stages, the girls in green and gold had much more energy than their opponents and used it to their advantage in the final attacking third.

Corish used her pace well down the right, moving to the baseline and pulling the ball back to Blissett, only for her first time sweep effort to be denied by the keeper.

Morpeth kept the intensity up and the home side grew increasingly frustrated with the high press, which caused them to make errors.

Numerous attacking short corners came and went, with Corbett the closest to scoring, but it was McLean who broke the deadlock with a strike from the top of the D after the ball was fed right to Hamilton and back.

With plenty of cracks now showing in the Bolton defence, it was not long before the away side doubled their lead and this time it came from open play.

Pollock, who looked dangerous from the start, finally saw her hard work pay off with a great run into the D, sweeping the ball first time and leaving the keeper stranded.

The attacking momentum remained with the Northumberland side and they showed some excellent build-up play down both channels – with the forward line of Corish, Blissett and Pollock combining well.

The wind and rain grew even fiercer at the start of the second period and Morpeth knew they needed to get another goal to really put the game to bed.

But the conditions did not deter Bolton and they stepped up their game in the second half, closing play down much more quickly and applying strong pressure down the left flank.

Chances came and the hosts earned themselves a few short corners, but they were cleared away to safety by the ever reliable Hindmarch.

Watkins was also on hand to prevent them from producing any convincing chances and despite Rose being pulled into action on numerous occasions, Bolton failed to get themselves on the scoresheet.

Morpeth had another run of short corners at the other end and yet again the keeper made some notable saves, but it was not long before Dakin made it three with a great surging run into the D.

Although her first shot was saved, she reacted well to put the rebound into the backboard and give her side a comfortable cushion.

To their credit, the home side’s spirits did not drop and they continued to fight hard and create some good chances. Rose made an excellent save towards the end and player-of-the-match Hindmarch showed composure to clear the ball off the line to ensure the visitors kept a clean sheet.

This comfortable victory and essential three points has given Morpeth some breathing space in their battle to avoid the drop.

Team: Rose, Hindmarch, Watkins, Corbett, Hamilton, Elliot, Dakin, McLean, Blissett, Pollock, Corish.