Blue skies, sun shining and North Shields Ladies 1st team were ready for their first match of the season in a new league, with Marton Furness Ladies providing this weeks opposition.
There was talk of nerves, tactics and plenty empty water bottles after warming up in boiling hot temperatures. The whistle blew for push back and our strong starting eleven were straight on the ball and going for gold. Using Watterson and Nichols as a pivot point when there was no option forward, our wingers Stewart and Mooney had their work cut out ready to drive down the line and inject into the D. After a good spell of end to end hockey, a Furness break lead to a snap shot at the North Shield goal, the shot was heading high and wide until it took and unlucky deflection into the Shields goal, giving Marton a 1-0 lead. Furness tried to seize the initiative, but several good saves from super keeper Massen kept the score at 1-0. It didn’t take long for the Shields girls to find their feet again and to come back stronger than ever taking it to a short corner after a lush run from Mooney down the right wing. A well-practiced routine between Murray and Watterson lead to a fantastic equaliser. Both teams returned to playing some great end to end hockey, until a green card for shields and scramble in the D lead to a Furness short corner taking the score to 2-1. Within minutes Shields were down the other end attacking again, and a another short corner lead to a second shields goal. A Murray injection the ball to the top of the D where the dream team of Stewart and Watterson were waiting, a slip to the left to midfield maestro Nichols who fired the ball to the back post and a first class deflection from Brooke’s who put the ball past the stranded keeper. 2-2, and not even half time!
After a well deserved break, on a very hot September morning, Shields came out of the blocks in the second half. Slick passing, great attacking play pushed the resilient Furness defence further and further back. With Furness pinned in the left corner they tried an ambitious transfer around the back of the D, not counting on the insane speed of Mooney who cut out the pass, played the ball back to Brookes who fired the ball into the goal for her second of the day.
With time running out, tired North Shields legs started to show, and during another green card period. Marton Furness manged to break and get the score back to 3-3. With the momentum swinging back to the Teesside team, a defensive masterclass from Robson, Clarke, Murray, Bolt and Smith held strong.
Then with about 1 minute to go, Marton Furness hit lucky and bagged a short corner. With tensions high and Shields giving it their all to make sure they weren’t going to go 4-3 down. But a foot in the D lead to a retake, and the final whistle blew. 10 Furness players surrounded the D, but a great save from Massen and a top class reflex save from Smith managed to save the day by clearing the ball in time for the whistle. A GREAT first game and loads of fun was had by all!!!