A well-earned point for Harleston Magpies
Harleston Magpies Ladies 1, St Albans 1
Harleston Magpies Ladies' first team returned to action after a week off to play a crucial game at St Albans.
With only a point separating the two sides in the league, it was vital that Magpies did not gift St Albans with a win which would have left Magpies four points adrift of their opposition.
For large parts of the first half Magpies were stretched and exposed on several occasions after the opposition broke through at pace. St Albans looked dangerous throughout the first half, being able to counter-attack very quickly.
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In spite of this Magpies still created several chances. Verity Blyth produced a pin-point cross from the right for Jess Howland on the penalty spot whose first-time attempt was blocked by the keeper. A free-hit from outside of the circle led to a scrappy goal for St Albans who took a 1-0 lead after 30 minutes.
Magpies knew they would have to dig deep in the second half to get anything out of the game.
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Charlotte Harrison caused the opposition problems throughout, creating excellent passages of play down the left to the forwards.
Magpies were beginning to look more and more dangerous in front of goal with Ellie Bale only narrowly being denied a top-corner goal by a slight deflection from their defender. Magpies' equaliser came after 56 minutes from a short corner when Bryony Lund reacted quickly to put the ball in the back of the net after the initial strike was saved by the keeper.
The last few minutes of the game were tense for Magpies after St Albans broke through on another counter-attack. Charlotte Lee-Smith in goal made an excellent one-on-one save to ensure Magpies held on to their well-earned point.
Harleston Magpies Men 2, Old Loughtonians 5
Harleston Magpies Men's first team welcomed Old Loughtonians to Weybread following a week's break in the league fixture schedule.
The first serious action of the game led to Andrew Hipwell from the home side receiving a head injury after the ball deflected up, ruling him out for the rest of the game. This was a sign of things to come for Magpies as sloppy defending led to a gift of a penalty corner which was blocked on the line by a defender.
A penalty stroke was harshly awarded but despatched expertly by Alex Jennings of Loughts. Magpies responded well by winning a penalty corner of their own, however this was defended well, leading to a fast break the full length of the field for Alex Jennings to convert past the exposed Richard Harms. Old Loughts were now in firm control of the game, leading 2-0.
Harleston had no option but to continue to attacking Loughts, leading to a few opportunities.
Loughts continued to look dangerous in attack, stretching the Harleston defence at every chance. As half- time approached the task got even harder for Harleston as Carl Sitch also got injured.
Harleston started the second half, like the first, slowly. They allowed Old Loughts to press Harleston high up the pitch once more.
Their pressure worked as they were rewarded with two quick goals from James Steadman and Leroy Phillips both from open play as Magpies left holes at the back.
The home side were left reeling but this did seem to galvanise Harleston. Midway through the half Pete Bale found space at the top of the D then lashed the ball home.
Magpies continued to push up, resulting in a penalty corner on 68 minutes which was scored by Gareth Furlong reducing the deficit.
The home side could sniff a comeback and continued to push forward. This left gaps at the back for Loughts to exploit, which they did resulting in a penalty corner converted by Leroy Phillips which put the game to bed at 5-2.