AFTER a two week break due to the bad weather all of Northern’s sides were back in action.
The men’s first XI travelled to Northop Hall with both sides level on points. It was a game that Northern dominated for long periods but they found it was a similar story of costly defensive mistakes and a failure to convert a number of chances in the final third.
A superb tomahawk from Will Beeching, which will be contender for goal of the season, and a well-worked penalty corner converted by Adam Batty were the only occasions that Northern were able to breach the Northop Hall defence.
Speaking after the game coach Andy Halpin was candid in his summary of the game.
“The players need to start learning from their mistakes and quick. It feels like every mistake we are making currently is leading to a goal. However the players need to appreciate that at this level teams are going to take advantage of our mistakes.
“Most of our play is to a high standard and we have dominated most games we have played in. The players need to convert their chances in front of goal and start turning these promising performances in to victories.”
NORTHERN men’s second XI triumphed again, this time securing a great 2-0 home win against Lancaster & Morecambe.
The goals came in the opening half with a great solo strike from captain McCaffrey who scored from the edge of the D with a great reverse strike. The second goal was not as clinical but Will Edwards managed to get the ball over the line and this allowed Northern to go into the break 2-0 in the lead.
The second half was a stalemate. Northern created more chances but did not manage to convert their possession into further goals.
It was also pleasing to see the return of Matt Gotts who had a great game in goal making a number of super saves throughout the game.
NORTHERN men’s third XI played a good game, which saw Preston go ahead through a well-placed strike into the corner.
Northern responded well and piled pressure on the home team, with a succession of short corners. Preston stopped a penalty corner strike with feet, which resulted in a penalty flick and another goal for John Corrin. The first-half ended 1-1.
The second-half was evenly contested with some good play from both teams and a notable performance from Northern's Brendan Kenny who badgered the Preston defence.
A slip by Corrin was wrongly interpreted as an aggressive tackle and earned an undeserved yellow card. In the end, the deciding goal came one minute before the final whistle from a short corner, a defeat that left Northern feeling a little unlucky.
THE Ladies first XI were looking to continue their winning streak as they played Kirkby Stephen.
Having been beaten by Northern at home only a few weeks before, Kirkby Stephen were definitely up for the game and took control early on, passing the ball well and denying the Crosby outfit time and space on the ball. However, Northern held firm and soon hit their stride.
Some fine passing from the home team put Tanya Baucher through one-on-one with the keeper. She calmly rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home. It was a very well-taken goal to give Northern the lead at half time.
Some lax defending early in the second-half allowed Kirkby Stephen to win a penalty corner. Although the initial shot was saved, the rebound was forced home to give Kirkby Stephen the equaliser.
Northern pushed on though, creating chances and putting Kirkby Stephen’s defence under pressure and it wasn’t long before they regained the lead through Nic Lethbridge.
No sooner had they gone 2-1 ahead when Kirkby Stephen forced another penalty corner.
A very scrappy corner routine culminated in the award of a penalty stroke when the ball hit a Northern foot on the line. Despite going the right way Wendy McDowall couldn’t quite get a glove on the flick and once again the scores were level.
A well-worked move from a corner gave Emma Ferguson the opportunity to pull the ball back for Emily Anderson on the penalty spot who made no mistake and fired home to give Northern a 3-2 lead in what turned out to be the final play of the game.
This late winner gave the Ladies first XI a hard-fought but deserved success and a historic double over a strong Kirkby Stephen side.
Northern look to continue their winning run as they return to Moor Park next week to face Wigan on the brand new pitch.
NORTHERN Ladies second team took on Liverpool Sefton thirds for the third time this season.
Northern put out a pretty strong team with only Carrie Fagan, Emma Haynes and Tanya Baucher missing from the usual lineup.
Earlier in the season, Northern had enjoyed a 2-2 draw in the Lancs Cup and a 4-3 victory in the league.
Sadly, Northern’s luck ran out this time around.
After two quick breakaways, Northern found themselves 2-0 down at the interval.
A further two goals found their way into the back of the Northern net in the second-half.
There were some strong performances from Simone McCaskill and Jane Mulcrune and it would be fair to say that the final score did not reflect the effort made all round by all 13 Northern players who turned out on a cold day.