Gritty Defensive Display Keeps Yellows Top Of Table
By Keith Inkster
The pre-match hype of the clash between the top two in Division 1 being an expected belter, certainly lived up to the billing as both sides took part in a hard fought game on a fine morning at Norham.
The Yellows remained top of the league though, despite not playing at their best going forward, but fighting for every ball at the back as they scraped home with a 2-1 victory. The visitors were as much in form as Tynemouth in the run up to the game and both sides had chances in a frantic first ten minutes. The visitors were first to get on the front foot when after some slack defending by the home side it allowed a HFC player time to pick his spot, but it was Zack (pictured) who pulled off a fine save from close range. This spurred the Yellows on with James firing one over after making some space for himself on the edge of the box and then the vital first goal came from top goalscorer Owen. Harry, who was winning every ball alongside Nathan at the heart of the defence, launched a long ball forward, which seen Owen bring the ball down and glide past a defender before slamming a shot high towards the goal which the goalkeeper found too hot to handle and could only parry into the net with Astin waiting to pounce if need be. The away side then began to dominate and were winning most of the ball in the middle of the pitch but defensively United stayed strong and restricted a lot of the efforts from long range, which Zack comfortably held. However, when needed to pull off top saves he did too and on at least two occasions he did that to keep the Yellows lead intact. The second half took on a similar theme to the first half with both sides creating chances and having small periods of possession when they were on top but to their credit the home defence stood firm and continued to frustrate the team from Washington. With 20 minutes remaining Tynemouth got the crucial second goal when Astin played the ball across the six yard box for Owen to eventually bundle the ball over the line from close range, thanks to some poor defending from the opposition. Harry, who had been a rock at the back for the Yellows had to leave the field of play with a back injury which meant some juggling was needed and the last 15 minutes seen the hosts having to defend with everything they had. The visitors were giving a lifeline when they got one back soon after Harry's departure when a rasping shot from outside the box found the bottom corner, even Zack, who was awarded man of the match, couldn't have reached it. The last 10 minutes were nail biting but the reshuffled back four of Nathan, Daniel, Rory and Kip along with Lucas in midfield threw their bodies at every ball and seen the game out to the delight of all the players and parents at the end. This was a huge win for the boys and shows that they can still win games when not at their best but the pleasing thing was their commitment and desire to get this result. Well done boys!