Missing key players prove costly for Morpeth first team

Morpeth I 1 Durham University III 7

North East Hockey League, Premier Division

ON a very wet and windy afternoon, Morpeth’s men’s first XI played host to Durham University III and with several key players missing, Morpeth knew that this would be a tough game but were still confident of getting a result.

The first half saw Morpeth largely trying to gain some momentum while attempting to keep the skillful University side at bay.

When the home side had the ball, they were able to find space and get into the final third but couldn’t create any clear-cut chances.

As a result, the Uni side were able to break up the pitch at pace and, with Morpeth struggling to clear their lines and protect their feet, gave away a succession of short corners.

It wasn’t long before team Durham took the lead through one of their well-rehearsed short-corner routines. Then, moments later, under very unfortunate circumstances, a shot from one of the Durham forwards was deflected by Ritchie Brown, and it looped over goal keeper Sam Read’s head into the back of the net.

As the half went on, Morpeth tried to contain the students, but again they picked holes in the Morpeth defence and were able to add another two goals to leave the Peth 4-0 down at half-time.

In the second half, Morpeth knew that they could accredit themselves with 35 minutes of good hockey and get some confidence.

Despite the score, team Morpeth came out looking revitalised and took the game to Durham. The away side seemed startled as Morpeth knocked the ball around and looked much stronger going forward.

Edmunds, Brown and Mellor in the midfield looked a lot more cohesive and, as a result, were able to provide the forwards with opportunities. Unfortunately, with Morpeth going in search of goals, once again they were exposed and Durham manage to score from two more short-corners, Morpeth feeling aggrieved from the build-up that lead to those decisions.

Then, as Morpeth soldiered on, their hard work was finally rewarded with a goal. A quick free-hit was taken by Brown who found Ian Foster in the D, who, in turn, slid the ball through the keeper’s legs to deny Durham their clean sheet.

The goal gave the home side a big lift as they looked for more. It was not to be, however, and the university side managed to score once more moments before the end, to leave the hosts defeated at 7-1.

Although they suffered a heavy defeat, Morpeth have plenty positives to take from the game, particularly in their attitude and determination throughout a very tough game. They will be looking to bounce back at the weekend at Durham City.

Morpeth: Sam Read (GK), Adrian Dye, Callum Hinshaw, Evan Mulligan, Tony Cook, Gareth Mellor, Adam Craggs, Ritchie Brown (C), Jack Murgatroyd, James Edmunds, Ian Foster. Sub: Craig Consitt. Man-of-the-match: Adrian Dye.