Morpeth win ding-dong match against Aspatria with a penalty kick at the death

Morpeth beat Aspatria with a penalty kick at the death. Picture: Morpeth RFC.Morpeth beat Aspatria with a penalty kick at the death. Picture: Morpeth RFC.
Morpeth beat Aspatria with a penalty kick at the death. Picture: Morpeth RFC.
It was an ice cool Ben Hornby who, with almost the last kick of the game, struck a penalty from some 30/35 metres to seal victory for Morpeth, in a real ding-dong encounter.

This was a crucial win for the home side in a season that has seen them steadily slide down the league. Injuries to some key players, together with some mixed performances, have all contributed to their current position.

It was an entertaining and physical encounter which at one stage threatened to spill over. Both sides contributed fully and overall Morpeth just about deserved the spoils.

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The match began in thrilling fashion with a home score on two minutes. It initially came when flanker Cade Whitfield won the ball on the ground following a disjointed lineout.

The ball finally reached Ben Hornby, who hoisted the ball. Micky Hall then won possession before winger Nathan Arkle kicked the ball on, not once but twice, before diving over the line to score.

Hornby added the points with a good conversion.

Back came the visitors, unleashing their powerful forwards and dominant set scrum, who forced Morpeth to concede a penalty which was confidently converted.

The home side, with the backs looking lively, pressed the Aspatria defence and should have increased their lead on 15 minutes. Skipper Jack Elliott broke through and looked likely to score, but seemed to be taken out high, before the ball was thrown wide, again to Nathan Arkle, who was just held up as he went over the try line.

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The home back row of Josh Williams, Dan Goose and Whitfield was prominent throughout and it was Hornby who provided the reward and increased the home lead with a penalty on 26 minutes.

Due to the fluctuation of both territory and possession, it was no great surprise when Aspatria drew level with a converted try which followed a spell of consistent forward pressure.

Just when you thought to take a breath with half time approaching, Hornby with a home penalty and then another Aspatria try, ended the first half scoring – 13-15.

The second half saw Morpeth playing with the assistance of a strong breeze. Hornby took full advantage with an early penalty on 42 minutes, to take the home side into the lead.

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Better was to come for Morpeth as they increased their lead with a Micky Hall try on 62 minutes. It came after good handling and an Ian Greave break, before the centre crashed through three tackles to power over.

A high tackle saw tempers fray before Arkle kicked ahead, only for the ball to beat him in a race, deep inside the dead ball area. But Morpeth weren’t to be denied. Another Hornby penalty on 67 minutes made the score 24-15.

Game over? Absolutely not!

A Josh Williams sin bin saw Aspatria come fighting back. A converted try on 73 minutes made the score 24-22.

Worse was to come for the home side. On 78 minutes an Aspatria penalty chance was converted making the score 24-25.

But that was all before ice man Hornby finally sealed the deal and a man of the match performance with that final penalty, to make the final score 27-25.

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