Persistence The Key As Morpeth Finish Season On A High
1st team fight stage second half fight back to win the game
In their final outing of the 2013/14 season, Morpeth 1st XI faced Stokesley who had been the suprise package of the season, and were only one place below them in the table. Although the Longhirst based outfit were assured of 4th place, they knew that a win would be the ideal way to cap off what had been a very good season.
From the start, it was very evident that it was going to be a competitive game. Both sides played in a similar fashion and were difficult to break down. Morpeth looked to sit off and test the Stokesley attack by having numbers behind the ball. However the plan backfired early on, as the away side were able to get in between the lines of the Morpeth defence with some neat passing before getting the ball into the D and managing to guide it into the net. The home side were disappointed as this was a less than ideal start, and knew that they would have to up their game if they were to get back in it. A change in tactic saw Morpeth press Stokesley high up the pitch which proved to be very effective. The away side struggled to get the ball out of their own half as the Morpeth midfield and forward line put them under some serious pressure. With the home side now firmly on top, they were awarded a number of short corners but couldn’t find a way to score. They also had some good chances from open play, most notably from Ian Foster who’s shot flashed narrowly wide of the post. The returning Ross Valentine also caused the Stokesley defence a number of problems with his surging forward runs. With half time approaching, Morpeth knew that they needed a goal. And they had their best opportunity when they were awarded a penalty flick. But once again they were denied as the Stokesley keeper saved the flick with his glove from Foster. Moments later the half time whistle blew and Morpeth were left slightly dismayed.
The half time chat from skipper Brown kept the team believing that if they persisted and continued to create chances, then goals would follow. The game continued to follow a similar pattern, with the home side enjoying most of the possession, and only limiting Stokesley to chances on the break which the back line of Fairbrother, Dye, Holmes, Mulligan and Cook dealt with accordingly. Then midway through the half, Morpeth finally had their equaliser. Man of the match Ian Kendall was on hand to take the initiative and get the home team back in the game. There was no doubt that the game was now there for the taking, and through sheer hard work and determination, Morpeth edged themselves in front. This time Ian Foster found himself with the ball at his feet, and in turn skilfully found the bottom corner of the net. Stokesley were well and truly rattled and this showed with players pointing the finger at each other. However Morpeth kept their composure, and moments from full time they were able to seal victory. Gareth Mellor collected the ball next to the 23 metre line and played and inch perfect reverse stick pass on to the back post, where Ian Kendall was on hand to deflect the ball in for his second of the game. The game ended with Morpeth coming out 3-1 winners.
All in all a fitting end to a good season for the 1st team, who have yet again improved their final league position. If they do so again next year, they will be in with a chance of gaining promotion.
Man of the Match: Ian Kendall
Scorers: Ian Kendall (2), Ian Foster
Starting Line Up: Sam Read (GK), Phil Holmes, Stuart Fairbrother, Evan Mulligan, Tony Cook, Tom Carmichael, Gareth Mellor, David Breakey, Ritchie Brown (C), Ian Kendall, Ian Foster
Subs: Adrian Dye, Ross Valentine