Good weekend for Harleston Magpies
HOCKEY: Harleston Magpies Men picked up vital points in a thrilling 3-2 win against Indian Gymkhana.
And the Ladies also got a good win over Old Loughtonians to see them up to sixth in the table.
Harleston Magpies Men 3, Indian Gymkhana 2
The opening exchanges were even but Harleston got the first breakthrough as Gareth Furlong scored from a penalty corner.
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Andy Hipwell made multiple surges, one shot hitting a post from a tight angle. Harleston worked the ball into the Gym left-hand side of the D for Jamie Legg to divert the ball under the keeper for a 2-0 lead at half-time.
Gym started the second half well and they got themselves back in the game as Amrit Singh stroked the ball past Richard Harms in the Magpies goal.
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Harleston were now on the back foot as Gym sensed a comeback with the score at 2-1 to the home side. Gym's progress was halted as continued foul play lead to the away side being reduced to 10 men for five minutes.
Harleston pushed Gym back trying to extend their lead once again playing the ball through Gill, Baynes and Hipwell in midfield. Magpies' task then got harder as they were reduced to 10 men for five minutes.
This just made Magpie's more resilient as Indian Gym pushed once again but without really creating a clear-cut opportunity. But suddenly they were handed a penalty stroke, excellently saved by Richard Harms.
Harleston were then back to 11 players when suddenly a mis-communication between defender and keeper led to Pravinder Hanspal stealing in to level.
Simon and Andy Hipwell combined well before playing in Ben Wright for a running reverse-stick shot and he blasted the ball low past the helpless Gym keeper. Wright supplied a stunning finish.
But Harleston were once again reduced to 10 following another yellow card. The player received his second yellow of the game.
This meant a 10-minute spell on the side, reducing Harleston to 10 for the final nine minutes. Magpies stood firm pulling together brilliantly as Mark Wheelhouse, Richard Harms, Tristan Baynes and the outstanding Stuart Leate were all stand-out performers.
Harleston Magpies Ladies 3, Old Loughtonians 0
Magpies continued their run of form away to Old Loughtonians, winning comfortably. The forwards Sarah Brook, Emily Wilford, Verity Blyth and Jess Howland worked hard all game.
Working together and closing down as a team was rewarded when Magpies presssed enabling Frances Sumner to intercept a ball just outside the circle to put Emma Lee-Smith through. She executed a tight-angle shot.
Jess Howland was quick to react to a defensive error from Old Loughts to calmly slot the ball home. Charlotte Lee-Smith had another good game in goal and pulled off some important saves. Solid defending throughout and key tackles picked off in midfield by Debbie Francis prevented the forwards getting through on goal.
Verity Blyth sealed the victory after a well-worked passage of play between Emily Wilford and Emma Lee-Smith.
HARLESTON Ladies II drew 0-0 at Lincoln. With a long journey to Lincoln, Magpies knew this was going to be a tough match, with their hosts just one point below them in the table. Magpies defended solidly to keep the Lincoln forwards at bay, and a slightly busier than usual Flora Marfleet made some outstanding saves to make sure the teams went into the break level. The second half saw Magpies play some beautiful hockey up the flanks. Laura Tibbenham followed this up with a fantastic individual run around the last defender and was only prevented from scoring by a brilliant save. Some fabulous attacking play down the left from Lauren Barber and Keira Booty continued to put Lincoln under pressure. Lincoln pushed hard but there was some determined defending. Some more great saves from Flora in goal and a heroic goal-line save from a very ill Micayla Tootill made sure that Lincoln would remain goalless. The younger than normal Magpies team did extremely well, a 0-0 draw was thoroughly deserved. PoM: Flora Marfleet.
HARLESTON Ladies IV beat mid-table visitors UEA II 3-0. Magpies had to defend well when UEA won two short corners. But it was Magpies who took the lead, winning their own short corner, which resulted in a Roo Barker goal from close range. The goal seemed to settle Magpies and they began to play their flowing hockey. Karen Absolon got a second goal for Magpies, coming in off the right flank to strike sharply past the keeper from a tight angle. Kay Dennis added a third shortly before the half-time whistle. The second half saw UEA have more of the possession but Magpies stayed strong at the back, with captain Kristina Erith pulling off a magnificent stick save. Credit to all 14 players for effort and determination, but special mention to Bella Hall in defence and Rosie Blackmore in midfield.
HARLESTON Ladies VI beat visitors Norwich City V 2-0. The match started cautiously with Norwich showing their muscle whilst Magpies defended well. Magpies had a whole series of short corners, yet, unluckily could not breach City's defence. If the first half was lacklustre, it was made up in the second half which started with a bang. Katie Webb smashed the ball across to Vanessa Vigrass on the left Wing who controlled it and aimed it back at Webb who sent it flying into the goal. Delighted with the quick result, play became focused and the passing more measured.