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Mens 1sts - Match centre

Morpeth 1
Durham Univ 4
Sat 15 Feb 12:00 - North East Hockey League - Premier Division Full time

Heartbreak For Morpeth As They Suffer First Defeat Of 2014

Valentine Unable To Work His Magic

Morpeth went into their game with Durham Uni 4th XI knowing that another victory would put them in a strong position as they looked to close the gap on 3rd place. Confidence in the camp was high from their emphatic win the previous week, however they knew that this game would bring a new challenge.

The home side started the game in lively fashion, looking to continue their short passing game, in an effort to wear the opposition down and create chances. They came close to breaking the deadlock early on, however Ian Kendall’s shot produced a good save from the Uni keeper. An extended spell of pressure saw more chances come Morpeth’s way, Ian Foster and Ross Valentine both finding the target but again the keeper proved that he was up to the challenge. Luke Hudson was also very unlucky not to score, after skilfully intercepting the ball on the 23 metre line, then rounding the keeper only to see his shot skim past the post. Unfortunately Morpeth were unable to convert, and this gave Durham the opportunity to get up the other end of the pitch and win a short corner. The away side then went ahead as a low flick was deflected in on the right post from one of the forwards. This was a frustration for Morpeth, as those early chances that went begging were proving costly. The lead was then doubled minutes later, as some loose marking from the Morpeth defence allowed Durham to walk the ball into the D and fire home. The Longhirst based outfit had it all to do, but knew a goal before half time would get them right back in the game. And they thought they had it when Stuart Fairbrother put the ball in the net from a short corner, however it was ruled out due to there not being a clear first shot in the lead up to it. They then felt they should have had a penalty stroke as the Durham keeper impeded forward Ian Foster, but nothing was given and Morpeth ended the half 2-0 down.

A rousing half time team talk put Morpeth in a defiant mood as they looked for a way back into the game. Again they created some good chances but just couldn’t put the ball in the net. Most notably Ross Valentine’s first time shot that looked to be heading top corner, only to be tipped away by the arch nemesis that was the opposition keeper. Frustration began to set in for the home side as they started to play some loose passes and gave the ball away. This allowed the away side to create more chances and they effectively killed the game off as they scored their third. A stretched Morpeth defence were unable to prevent a ball being crashed across and in turn being tapped in on the back post. Durham were then happy to sit behind the ball and defend their lead, which they managed to do until the full time whistle went. A frustrating afternoon for Morpeth, who suffer only their second home defeat of the season. The team will have to be more clinical and take their chances in the remaining 3 games of the season if they are to still have a chance of finishing third.

Man of the Match: Luke Hudson

Starting Line Up: Sam Read (GK), Adrian Dye, Stuart Fairbrother, Evan Mulligan, Tony Cook, Tom Carmichael, David Breakey, Ritchie Brown (C), Ross Valentine, Ian Kendall, Ian Foster

Subs: Rob Machin, Gareth Mellor, Bruce McPate, Luke Hudson

Team selection

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League round up

Other Premier Division results

Newcastle Univ 2
Stockton 2
Newcastle Univ 3
Stokesley 1
Wilton 1


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Durham Univ 3 22 60
2. North Shields 1 22 52
3. Durham City 1 22 45
4. Morpeth 1 22 39
5. Durham Univ 4 22 34
6. Stokesley 1 22 32
7. Newcastle Univ 2 22 29

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