Girls find the going tough at the final hurdle in Shield competition

Longhoughton Rangers FC U15...1 Morpeth SC U15...4

Northumberland Girls’ Football League U15 – League Shield, Semi-final

FOLLOWING last week’s emphatic win over Cramlington Town, Rangers’ good form looked to continue as they took the early initiative against local rivals Morpeth Sporting Club.

Early pressure from Longhoughton saw Keech and Morrison go close before Morrison finally made the breakthrough in the seventh minute. The Rangers captain evaded three Morpeth defenders to fire past Pargiter in goal (1-0).

Keech should have added a second for Rangers just before the quarter-hour mark, but the pacey winger fired over from 10 yards and the chance was gone. Morpeth soon recovered from the early Rangers pressure and, with 16 minutes played, equalised through Newton, the midfielder slipping the ball beyond Burn to score with Rangers’ defence caught ball-watching and unable to recover (1-1).

As the half progressed, Morpeth began to dominate the midfield, Stevenson and Capstar both going close as Rangers failed to deal with the quality of Morpeth’s passing.

Longhoughton crafted one or two chances, mostly from distance, but the Morpeth defence hustled and closed down Rangers’ forwards every time they ventured forward. Morrison should have done better when through on goal in the 20th minute, only to strike the ball tamely at the Morpeth goalkeeper. Robertson put the visitors in front just after 28 minutes, the tall midfielder easily beating her marker to head beyond Burn in the Longhoughton goal (1-2).

Morpeth continued to dominate the opening period of the second half, surging forward to overwhelm the Rangers defence, who were offered little protection by their midfield.

Tayler would have extended the visitors’ lead but for the dynamics of Burn in the Longhoughton goal, but there was nothing the goalkeeper could do to prevent Morpeth’s third. Burn was at full stretch to palm away Capstar’s long-range effort, only to see an unmarked Stevenson tap in the rebound from two yards out (1-3).

Rangers continued to create openings, hitting Morpeth on the counter, but with Wigham marshalling the visitors’ defence, Keech and Morrison were limited to the occasional long-range effort that seldom troubled Pargiter.

Morpeth made sure of all three points with 10 minutes left, Capstar finally getting on the scoresheet, brushing aside two Rangers defenders to hammer the ball into the bottom corner (1-4).

Despite the loss, Rangers can take some positives from the way they played, Davison in particular showing much promise as stand-in right-back.

Longhoughton: H Burn, E Davison, C Wood, E Parry, H Finney, J Morrison (c), E Lester (H Parker 35), R Keech, S Lazenby (B Lewington 25). Player-of-the-match: Morrison. Manager’s player-of-the-match: Davison.