First home defeat dents Ladies’ promotion push

Deeside Ramblers Ladies I 4 Morpeth Ladies I 3

AFTER a resilient comeback last week that saw three precious points claimed, Morpeth Hockey Club’s Ladies’ first team were in high spirits and welcomed Deeside who looked to have picked up some interesting results since the two sides met last October.

Morpeth were grateful to see the return of Watkins from injury and, without a few regulars in midfield, there was an opportunity for the young Emma Gibson to step up to the first team and make an impression.

With the confidence to run at her opponents and some great early distributions down the right-flank, Gibson gave Morpeth some impetus right from the start, creating some excellent attacks which ultimately saw her claim the man-of-the-match award.

It was a lively start with both teams struggling to enjoy periods of possession but some good link-up play by the three forwards Hagan, Corbett and Telford-Cooke saw the home-side get a breakthrough.

A penalty corner allowed Hagan to add another goal to her tally with a skilful touch bypassing the defender and a convincing strike that smashed the visitor’s backboard. Morpeth needed to maintain possession if they intended to take control of the game but with Deeside causing Wilson, Bowler and Bell to be stretched in central midfield, this proved quite a challenge.

Rose was brought into action on numerous occasions with the visitors creating chances through the middle and earning themselves a number of penalty-corners.

Some good clearances from Wilson and Watkins denied the visitors a goal and a quick break allowed the mighty green and gold to double their lead.

A great solo effort by the promising Gibson saw her drive towards the D from the right and slip the ball to Bell who with a couple of touches coolly slotted the ball past the keeper’s left-hand side.

Despite conceding two goals, Deeside continued to press and claimed another penalty-corner which got them a reward. With a straight strike cleared by Rose, it was a rebound that allowed the visitors back into the game just before the half-time whistle.

The restart was a promising one with some slick passing across the pitch and great lead runs down the line from Telford-Cooke, who was causing problems for the visitors with her pace.

An excellent run with the ball from Wilson down the right to the edge of the D found Corbett, who managed to slot the ball under the keeper’s legs from a tight angle to give Morpeth their third. But this wasn’t enough to stop a physical Deeside persist with their attacks and give the Morpeth defence a tough time. A ricochet off the left post resulted in a soft goal being conceded between the legs of Rose, who was frustrated at having not cleared the initial attempt.

With a flurry of short corners awarded from some poor umpiring decisions, the visitors were given a penalty-stroke after the ball hit Hindmarsh’s foot on the line.

Despite her agile efforts, Rose was beaten with a well-executed shot into the right-hand corner.

At 3-3 and with 15 minutes still remaining, both teams were confident of claiming all three points but it was a lucky deflection from the top of the D that allowed the visitors to squeeze a victory and result in Morpeth’s first home defeat of the season.

A disappointing result for the home side, who lie in fourth position in the league and two points from the top.

A win at the weekend is an absolute must to keep their chances of promotion alive.

Team: Rose, Hindmarsh, Watkins, Wilson, Bryson, Bowler, Bell, Hagan, Gibson, Telford-Cooke, Corbett, MacDonald. Man-of-the-match: Gibson. Scorers: D Hagan, E Bell, C Corbett.