Morpeth III 0 Stockton V 1
MORPETH III were looking to build on a strong second-half performance against Durham last week.
However, Stockton V were quick off the mark and only a solid defence consisting of Michael Holden, Martyn Bott, Simon Cook and Chris Mather prevented an early Stockton goal.
The match progressed tensely with each side probing at the other’s defences until a Morpeth breakaway when Nick Larvin and Max Renwick looked certain to score, but the Stockton keeper just prevented it crossing the line with an acrobatic save to his right.
Stockton replied by pushing Morpeth hard and the Morpeth defence and keeper did well just before half-time to keep out a string of short-corners to ensure that both teams were still level at half-time.
At the start of the second half, Morpeth unleashed their secret weapon – Alan Evans upfront to get the goals and it looked like it was working.
The midfield consisting of Steve Emery, Carl Tranter, Callum Hinshaw and Adam Brinsdon provided some excellent breakaways and only their keeper once again prevented an equaliser.
Then a firmly-struck 16-yard hit just outside the Morpeth D was suddenly intercepted by the Stockton midfield and, although the defence rallied well, good support play by Stockton resulted in the ball hitting the back of the Morpeth net, with keeper Quinn Fiddler having little chance of stopping it.
Morpeth continued to try to keep piling on the pressure and with one or two cracks being exposed in Stockton’s defence by Evans and Larvin. A great through-ball to Carl Tranter from late substitute Peter Durance gave Morpeth another short-corner and the chance to equalise.
Once again, though, they were kept out.
No matter which way the attack turned, it seemed there was always a Stockton player there to tackle them. After some strong defending by Morpeth and some greats saves by both keepers, the match finally ended 1-0 in Stockton’s favour.
Man-of-the-match: Chris Mather