Blyth Town...2 Longhoughton Rangers FC...6
Northumberland Girls’ U14 Football League Shield – Semi-Final
LONGHOUGHTON Rangers came from a goal down to beat Blyth Town and book their place in the League Shield final.
Both teams set out their stalls to attack and, within five minutes, Longhoughton had created two chances, the first saw Keech hammering her shot against the Blyth goalkeeper’s legs and the second from the resulting corner.
Despite Rangers enjoying the early dominance the home side opened the scoring. After a break down Rangers’ left, the pacy Blyth winger’s cross eluded the Rangers defence, leaving the unmarked Blyth forward to crack the ball into the back of the net after seven minutes.
Morrison almost equalised on the 10-minute mark, Rangers’ captain unmarked on the far post unable to steer her header into the net from Keech’s corner.
Three minutes later and Longhoughton did get the equalising goal their play had merited. Another corner, swung in by Ranger’s Keech, curled wickedly in at the near-post despite the best efforts of the Blyth defender.
Rangers took the lead just after the quarter-hour-mark, Morrison blocking a poor Blyth goal-kick and setting up Finney, whose half-volley from 10 yards could only be pushed into the back of the net by the Blyth goalkeeper as she desperately back-tracked trying to keep the ball out.
Longhoughton extended their lead five minutes before the end of the half. A perfect cross from Keech on the left, touched on by Finney and clinically dispatched by Morrison made it 1-3.
Rangers kept pressing, closing down the Blyth midfield and in the last minute of the half, Morrison chased down the ball in the bottom right corner, turning the Blyth defence one way then another, before delivering a peach of a cross to the far post. Rangers’ Finney popped up unmarked to knock home the visitors’ fourth (1-4).
The goal of the game came 30 seconds into the second half. Morrison, picking up the ball from a Blyth throw-in, checked to see where the goalkeeper was, before launching the ball up into the air and audaciously lobbing the Blyth goalkeeper from 25 yards out (1-5).
The goal seemed to sting Blyth Town into action and the next ten minutes saw the home side put Rangers under a lot of pressure. Town did pull a goal back in the 45th minute, the Blyth winger cutting the ball back across the face of the Rangers’ goal to find an unmarked midfielder, who stabbed the ball home with 15 minutes left to play, but it was too little too late.
Keech could have added another for Rangers, but was unable to get the ball out from under her feet fast enough to avoid the challenge, before Morrison secured her hat-trick, and Rangers’ sixth, five minutes from time. The talented forward hammered her initial shot past the keeper only to see it cannon back off the inside of the post, before rather fortuitously striking a Blyth defender and rebounding into the Blyth goal (2-6).
It was an amazing game of attacking football for which both sides deserve applause, but Longhoughton move on to the final where they will meet Cramlington Town on Saturday, May 14.
Next up, away to North Shields.
Longhoughton Rangers FC: H Burn, E Parry (E Davison 40), C Wood, B Lewington, C Hutton, H Parker (E Smart 30), J Morrison, R Keech, H Finney (E Lester 49). Player-of-the-match: Finney.