Harleston Magpies see off Norwich City 3-1 in East League top flight derby
- Credit: Archant
Harleston Magpies took the derby honours in the East League Premier Division when they beat Norwich City 3-1 at The Nest.
The win saw the already promoted Magpies take a big step towards securing a second place finish with two games left, while there was also some good news for the losers, with Saffron Walden's draw at Letchworth all but confirming their top flight status for another season.
Magpies went in front when a Norwich free-hit following a penalty corner went straight to Jimmy Gray who fired the ball into the danger area for captain Tom Ridley to convert.
The hosts were pegged back after losing possession, with Josh Bailey powering his way through to equalise, but the hosts regained the advantage from a Dave Gilbert penalty flick after Ben Gowing had been fouled.
Magpies improved after the break and after missing a number of good chances finally got a third when Gilbert produced a cool finish for his second of the game.
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Dereham beat Shefford and Sandy 5-3 to stay fourth in Premier B while Norwich City II showed the first team how to do it as they beat Magpies' seconds 4-1 in a bottom of the table encounter in Division 1N (Will Kidner, Jeremy Elliott, Tom Hindle, Ben Withers).
Norwich Dragons went down 4-2 at Long Sutton in Division 2NE (Rupert Snelling 2) and it was also a blank weekend for Pelicans, who lost by the same score at home to St Ives, and City III, who were beaten 3-1 at home by Dereham II (Rees Leonard).
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East Women's Conference
Harleston Magpies Ladies confirmed their place in next season's National League set-up by beating Sevenoaks 4-2 at Weybread.
In a testing game against a side who had started the day level on points in the East Conference, Magpies turned in their best performance of the season to take the points.
The team were moving the ball around nicely from the off and a slick move that started from the back was calmly converted by Emma Lee-Smith for the opening goal.
Sevenoaks got back on level terms but this only fired up the Magpies up and they continued to play flowing hockey which was rewarded with a goal from Lauren Rowe.
Despite playing some excellent stuff Magpies knew Sevenoaks would come out fighting in the second half. They duly stepped up the pressure but the hosts kept calm and contained any threat. At the same time Magpies kept searching for a third goal to create a 3-1 cushion and this breakthrough came when Lottie Summers picked up the ball in the D and found the net.
Again Sevenoaks stepped up their pressure and were causing a lot more problems and with the hosts conceding a few short corners the visitors converted one of them to reduce the arrears.
The Kent side then tried another tactic to try and get back into the game and went to a kicking back.
However Magpies absorbed the additional pressure of the extra outfield player and Lizzie Clymer managed to score on the break to confirm an excellent win.
Next weekend Magpies travel to Wimbledon for another tough game against a side who currently sit second in the league, with Magpies now fourth. They know they can compete with Wimbledon, after giving them a good game before being edged out 4-3 at Weybread earlier in the season.
Squad: Lauren Barber (captain), Jade Daly, Annie Nunn, Kristine Ayling, Katrina Sitch, Debbie Francis, Charlotte Harrison, Rose Winter, Lottie Summers, Katherine Ridley, Georgie Cantrell, Lizzie Clymer, Lauren Rowe, Emma Lee-Smith, Frances Burrell, Lara Taylor.
Already promoted Dereham are two wins away from winning the Division 1N title following a 7-3 victory over Sudbury at Greenfields Road.
Hayley Toleman, Tammy Dye and Grace Gowing were all on target as Dereham moved 3-0 ahead in the first half. Becca Taylor and Gowing added to the scoreline, with Sudbury replying each time, while goals six and seven were the pick of the bunch as Dereham demonstrated how effective the quick simple ball is, with Taylor and Toleman on the end of it before Sudbury had the final say.
Norwich Dragons had one of their best days of an up and down campaign when they saw off Cambridge University 11 4-0 at The Den thanks a hat-trick from Issy Wolfe and one from Liv Thomas.
It's desperately tight at the foot of the table, with just four points covering the bottom seven, and Lowestoft did their survival hopes a power of good by winning 1-0 at Wisbech.
In the top flight Norwich City had a busy weekend, with two home matches in two days, and took just one point to stay third from bottom in the table. City drew 1-1 with City of Peterborough (Olivia Williams) and then went down 3-0 to second placed Chelmsford.
Harleston Magpies II had a tough assignment at champions Bromley and Beckenham and lost 5-1.
North Norfolk came through a tough test against Norwich City II to take a big step towards clinching the Division 2NE title.
A hat-trick from Hannah Wait and a late goal from Hannah Catling earned them a 4-3 win at Cromer, with the City goals coming from Hannah Bush, Lucy Tilbrook and Annabel Pounder.
The leaders are three ahead of Watton, who won 3-0 at Dragons III, while Bury St Edmunds are three points further back.
Dragons II's promotion hopes suffered a big setback when they lost 4-0 at Magpies III. Joint players of the match for Dragons were Sarah Borrett and Shelly Seaman.
In Division 2NW Pelicans travelled to St Ives with just 11 players and put in a brave show before losing 6-1 (Hollie Nash).
Premier Division champions Broadland stayed on course for a league record as they thrashed UEA II 9-0.
With two games to play the big win took their goal tally for the season up to 112, one short of the current best - while they also have a perfect campaign of 22 straight wins to aim for.
Catherine Brewster set up Lydia Lawrence for the opener and within a couple of minutes Kelly Allen made it two to set up a second half goal rush, with Lawrence and Allen both completing hat-tricks and Nat Brooks, Natasha Blyth and George Stannett also on target. Allen's goals took her tally up to 24, just three behind top scorer Dani Parke.
Loddon are strong favourites to finish second after crushing Norwich City IV 9-0 while rivals City III conceded a late goal to draw 2-2 at Lowestoft Railway (Ellie Hobden, Emily Spencer).
Broadland II picked up another point in their battle for survival when they drew 1-1 at Norwich Dragons IV. Holley Becker picked out Nikki Baker to slam the ball home after just 10 minutes to put Broadland ahead but Caroline Wolfe equalised from a penalty corner.
Elsewhere Magpies IV won 3-0 at Evergreens and Pelicans II beat Dereham III 4-0.
Carrow's hopes of finishing in the top two in Division One suffered a blow when they went down 2-0 at Norwich City V, for whom Lucy McNarry and Carey Briggs were on target.
Leaders Diss beat Norwich Dragons V 2-1 to stay two points ahead of Reepham, who edged past Lowestoft II 3-2.