Hockey girls pay penalty

Harrogate I 3 Morpeth I 1

North Hockey Women’s League, Division One

The girls in green and gold couldn’t have got off to a better start as they looked to cause upset in front of a Harrogate crowd that watched on from the comfort of their warm and dry clubhouse.

It was a bitterly cold afternoon in North Yorkshire and the players were not helped by the wet and occasionally snowy conditions.

It was Morpeth who created the early chances, with Bell and Bowler linking up well in midfield and Pollock having the best of the opportunities.

Bryson came the closest after Hagan’s straight strike from a penalty corner went shy of the left post missing the end of Bryson’s stick by millimetres.

But 15 minutes from the interval, it was Hagan who put the visitors ahead after a lifted ball from Bowler into the D was kicked away by the keeper straight into the path of the tall, blonde centre forward who calmly slotted the ball into the backboard.

It was a justified lead, but the visitors still had their work cut out and as half-time approached, the home side grew in focus and forced Watkins and Hindmarch into action on several occasions.

The first half saw Morpeth right their wrongs from last week’s performance with composure on the ball and better decision-making, but they would need to replicate their form in the second half if they were to snatch a victory.

Discipline was what they needed, but two minutes after the break they conceded a penalty corner and a well-worked set-piece brought the home team an equaliser.

This seemed to kick-start Harrogate into life and with a few changes to their formation, they began to dominate possession and secure territory in Morpeth’s half.

It wasn’t long before they took the lead and with a rather harshly-awarded penalty corner, it was yet another set piece that got them ahead much to the delight of their on-looking supporters.

Never going down without a fight, Morpeth preceded to find the fluency and attacking shape they possessed in the first half, but they struggled to work any chances and with some skilful play from the Harrogate central midfielders, a barrage of attacks ensued.

Despite some fine saves from Rose, she couldn’t do much about the third as a scramble in the D saw a forward slot the ball home from only a few yards.

A few sporadic attacks came Morpeth’s way, earning them a couple of penalty corners, but they failed to capitalise.

Even an overturned decision following a protest from Bell that resulted in another penalty corner, wasn’t enough for Morpeth to claim a second and the game finished 3-1 with the home side having outplayed their opponents in the final 35 minutes.

Back-to-back defeats meant that Harrogate had become something of a bogey team for the for the Longhirst-based side this season.

It is hoped that a run of home games will help them get back to winning ways.

Team: Rose, Hindmarch, Watkins, Bryson, Bell, Elliot, Wardle, Bowler, Hagan, Pollock, Telford-Cooke, Steel.