Newcastle Ladies II 0 Morpeth Ladies II 2 North East Hockey League, Division A
MORPETH started their league campaign facing a team that have become somewhat of a bogie side in recent years.
Always keenly contested and with rarely more than one goal in it, the second teams of Newcastle and Morpeth respectively always seem to fight out a tight game.
Without any warm-up friendly and with a couple of new players to integrate, the visitors looked a little disjointed early on but as the match progressed they looked more confident and their play was more assured.
The early pressure was mainly from the home side as Morpeth gradually found their feet.
Younger Dixon on her debut, MacDonald and Hendy marked and tackled well at the back and look like forming a promising defensive line for the season.
Gibson and Telford-Cooke were the outlets for Morpeth on the left side and several promising moves came to nothing down that side of the pitch. Simpson and Wardle slowly asserted their quality in central midfield and the away side started to boss the game.
A pacy break down the right via the elder Dixon (now Smalley) came across the pitch and found Telford-Cooke bursting into the circle on the left. Her first shot was well saved but with considerable composure, she lifted the rebound over the keeper to put Morpeth ahead.
Newcastle’s pace down the right continued to mean that Morpeth were never comfortable in the lead but they were creating more clear-cut opportunities.
The home team’s defence were resolute and held out until well into the second half.
A lovely team move saw the ball passed on by virtually every player, down the right via Simpson, onto the midfield through Wardle and out to the right wing and Smalley.
Her powerful cross to the top of the circle was met perfectly by Dixon, who capped an impressive debut by cracking a first-time belter into the back of the net before the keeper had time to set herself.
With the game lost, Newcastle to their credit continued to push forward and looked like they would get a consolation when their winger broke through the defence.
However, Rose came crashing out and knocked the ball to safety to seal a solid opening victory for Morpeth.
Player-of-the-match: Emma Dixon