Topsy-turvy time for Thirds

Sunderland III 5 Morpeth III 2 North East Hockey League, Division Four

MORPETH lost their third last match of the season on Saturday against an already promoted Sunderland side.

Despite not having anything to play for, the hosts put out a strong side and they managed to score the first goal of the game quite quickly.

The visitors responded positively, creating attacking chances down both wings and eventually Renwick rifled in from an attempted clearance of a short-corner to bring the scores level.

Following this, both teams had their fair share of attacking runs, but the next couple of goals went against Morpeth. One was smashed in from a short-corner and the other added from open play.

However, the start of the second half saw Morpeth playing more effectively than in the first, with the opposition seeming to tire as time went on.

Despite conceding another goal, their attacks continued and earned Anderson a goal that was somehow bundled over the line by a Sunderland player.

Morpeth kept pressing but it was too little too late for a comeback, especially when Sunderland put another past the posts during the last minute to give a slightly flattering scoreline of 5-2.

Morpeth III 3 Billingham 2

North East Hockey League, Division Four

MORPETH gained a crucial victory in their battle to stay up against the newly-crowned league champions on Sunday.

The home side started the brightest and really pushed Billingham back. The midfield pair of Critchley and Tordoff used their pace to control the centre of the park.

But the defensive frailties of Morpeth allowed Billingham to score a soft goal and the visitors soon went 2-0 up.

The players could have let their heads drop, however they came back strongly and quickly pulled a goal back.

From a short corner, Evans played a one-two with Renwick, giving him the space and time to slot home a deserved goal.

Morpeth were now flying and some of their play was at times a joy to watch and Billingham again were defending deep.

This tactic did not work for them and it was not long before a long pass from Bott found Hinshaw on the right-wing. He played a delightful ball into Evans for him to score his second goal.

The impetus was now with Morpeth and it was no surprise when they added a third through a delightful finish by Tordoff.

The second half was all about the stern defending and workrate of a team determined to see out a monumental victory against the strongest team in the league.

For the first time this season, the third team played with belief and their confident play was to see them through. There were some scares, but Morpeth managed to clinch a fine victory.