Defeat despite positive start

Morpeth 1 Norton 4 North East Hockey League, Division One

A STRONG Morpeth men’s first team squad were looking to get their 2011/2012 campaign off to a positive start against a competent travelling Norton side.

This was the league debut for a few of Morpeth’s summer signings and having had a good summer on and off the pitch, spirits were high in the camp as they waited to get things going.

The home side started very brightly and camped high up the pitch keeping the ball in the opposing half.

There were some early signs of great movement from Valentine, Dixon, Danecki and Brown as all four men linked up well with passing around the Norton D.

But the theme of the day was not to be to Morpeth’s liking and, against the run of play, a short-corner gave Norton the lead.

The Longhirst side quickly recovered from this setback and the scores were soon level when a ball played into Brown was cleverly diverted into the path of Paul Danecki to crash the ball over the line.

It was 1-1 at half-time, however the second half went against Morpeth, with the visitors’ determination to win both on and off the ball proving too much for some of the younger players.

A further three very sloppy goals were conceded from a variety of short corners and controversial decisions by officials contributed to the flattering 1-4 final score.

Two yellow cards did not help the Green and Gold cause, but not all was doom and gloom as there were some positives to take forward.

Posts and crossbars were rattled, as well as the new summer signings showing some class in their attacking approach to the game.

An excellent performance of grit and determination earned defender Phil Holmes the Morpeth man-of-the-match award.