Second-half horror story

Morpeth Men’s I 2 Newcastle Medics Men’s I 3 North East Hockey League, Premier Division

THIS encounter was definitely a case of a game of two halves.

The first half saw Morpeth explode out of the blocks. The Medics were keen to push high from the off and had to resort to relying on the high crash-ball, which the defence did well to deal with and clear.

When the home side had the ball they looked dangerous. They kept possession well and were putting together some great passing moves.

After 10 minutes, Morpeth pressed down the right side, with Valentine and Carmichael linking up well to work the ball into the D.

The cut-back ball found Ayad Shafiq at the top of the D. He took control and had time to pick out his spot as he flicked the ball excellently high and wide into the net.

The lead could have been extended in Morpeth’s best period of play with Brown, Danecki and Dixon all having efforts saved or go narrowly wide. Half-time loomed and despite some good surges and attempts from the visitors, the score remained 1-0.

Unfortunately, the second half turned out to be a completely different story as the good one- and two-touch hockey in the previous two-and-a-half games disappeared and there were far too many schoolboy errors.

The visitors soon notched an equaliser after a series of phases in the attacking 23 metres and Morpeth suffered a further blow when Shafiq was sent to the sin-bin for dissent.

This was the perfect invitation for the industrious Medics to take advantage and they went 2-1 ahead.

There were few of the Morpeth side who had kept their head, but those who did allowed their experience to show and with some hard work Morpeth were soon awarded a penalty-corner.

Captain McLean injected the ball for Danecki to set up the perfect drag-flick for player/coach McPate and the scores were even again with time running out.

But the numbers were in the visitors’ favour and before Morpeth returned to 11 men, the away side scored their third which would eventually prove to be the winner.

The mood at the end of the game was definitely one that the points had been there for the taking and lost through a few moments of madness.

There were still some great periods of play however, and some positives to take forward.