Morecambe Ladies battle freak conditions in Norton stalemate

Morecambe Ladies' Laura Callis battles the snow and the Norton & Stockton Ancients defence.
Morecambe Ladies' Laura Callis battles the snow and the Norton & Stockton Ancients defence.
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Morecambe Ladies battled freak weather conditions to pick up a 1-1 draw with Norton & Stockton Ancients at Lancaster and Morecambe College on Sunday.

Hannah Paling had cancelled out Jessica Dawson’s opener for the visitors in the first half before heavy rain turned to sleet and snow in the second.

Both sides had to settle for a point having wanted more at the start of the day as they bid to secure a place in the Women’s Premier League Northern Division One next season.

On the back of three big away points at Mossley Hill last time out Nick Barrett’s side saw the visitors have the better of the opening exchanges.

Norton’s early progress was halted by Jo Norris and Beth Fisher in the Shrimpettes defence as the hosts struggled to keep hold of possession and make an impression in the game.

Georgia Lupton had the beating of the Norton left back but having got into a promising position her final ball was left wanting.

Megan Doherty, lacking in match fitness on her return to the side, tried to take on the entire Norton defence and did just that only to find ‘keeper Laura Ellison rushing out to deny her.

It was The Ancients who opened the scoring on the half-hour mark.

A cross in from Caitlin Bates on the left was headed out by Jade Thornhill but Jessica Dawson met the ball on the volley with Morecambe ‘keeper Emma Reader only having time to stretch out a leg and watch it into the net.

The goal seemed to bring Morecambe to life with Hannah Williamson to the fore down the right.

They were level on 37 minutes, Becky Whittingham threading a defence-splitting pass through to Hannah Paling who took a touch before placing it past the ‘keeper to equalise.

It was a credit to both sides that so much football had been played in awful conditions in the first half.

The bad news was that things went from bad to worse after the interval.

As rain became snow which stuck on the pitch conditions became precarious under foot with the outcome at times seemingly a lottery.

One slip in either defence could have easily seen a goal conceded.

For Morecambe, Doherty had opportunities to score but she’d not packed her shooting boots whereas Norton’s forwards had some skilful dribbles which may have proved fruitful without the carpet of snow.

Collissa Baines came on for Doherty towards the end but manager Barrett might have had more joy with a snow plough or a gritting lorry as the game ended all square.

Morecambe Ladies, ninth in the table, host Chester-le-Street on Sunday with the North East side a point and a place above the Shrimps in the table.