Victory at Morpeth gets Harrogate Ladies off to a winning start

Harrogate Ladies' goalkeeper Caz Hurst was in inspired form to help her team to victory at Morpeth. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Harrogate Hockey Club Ladies’ 1st XI began their 2017/18 campaign with a 3-1 success over Morpeth in North Division One.

The visitors made a strong start to the game, taking the lead inside the opening five minutes when some neat passing up the pitch between Megan Clarke and Lucy Wood eventually saw Freya Wilde afforded a sight of goal and she finished comfortably from the top of the ‘D’ with a fine sweep-shot.

‘Gate maintained the pressure on their hosts, enjoying the majority of possession deep in their oppponents’ territory.

They were rewarded with a second goal from a short-corner when the ball fell into the path of Wilde who calmly put it past the keeper.

Morpeth then came back into the game and turned the tables on Harrogate, thanks to some great movement both on and off the ball.

They pulled a goal back towards the end of the first period from a short-corner when, despite a great initial save from keeper Caz Hurst, the ball then fell to a Morpeth player who sent a strike in to the back of the net.

With the scoreline reading 2-1 at the interval and all still to play for, both teams began the second half battling hard for possession and chances were created at both ends.

The ‘Gate defence remained resolute but were grateful for a number of outstanding saves from Hurst.

Morpeth were awarded a penalty flick after the ball was kept out of the net by a Harrogate body on the goal-line, but the effort was impressively saved by the inspired Hurst.

This stop lifted Harrogate and they began to push forward once again, working the ball up the pitch courtesy of some short, sharp passing.

The visitors were then awarded a penalty-flick of their own following a body save on the line in the opposite goalmouth.

Wood stepped up to the spot and showed Morpeth how it’s done, coolly powering the ball in to the bottom left corner to hand her side a 3-1 lead.

‘Gate knuckled down in the closing stages and kept their defensive intensity high as Morpeth attempted to mount a fightback, but to no avail.

Next up is a first home game of the season, with Chester the visitors to North Yorkshire.

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