Harleston Magpies hockey round-up

Harleston Magpies Ladies 2, Cambridge City 0

HOCKEY: Harleston Ladies' first team won their first game of the season 2-0 at Cambridge City.

Magpies produced an all-round excellent team performance to pick up a vital three points, which takes them out of the bottom two in the table.

Magpies started the game sprightly, with excellent movement from forwards Verity Blyth, Lucy Fields and Krista Hopkinson which put the Cambridge defence under constant pressure from the start.

Magpies continued to build on the previous week's good performance and took control of the game from the outset.

Cambridge had several breaks in the first half, but solid defending from Katrina Warnes, Louisa Greenacre and Bryony Lund prevented anything coming from the attacks. Charlotte Lee-Smith in goal was only called upon on a couple of occasions to clear any attempts.

Magpies' pressure and hard work was rewarded after 23 minutes when Jess Howland's pace up front broke through the Cambridge back line, resulting in her first ever National League goal. The shot was superbly executed from a narrow angle, hitting the inside of a post before going in.

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Ten minutes later, Debbie Francis won Magpies their first short corner with some sharp stick work in the circle.

Frances Sumner converted the penalty corner shot to put Magpies 2-0 up just before half-time.

In the second half Magpies continued to dominate the possession, with Charlotte Harrison and Ellie Bale causing Cambridge problems down the left and right flanks throughout.

Magpies can be encouraged by their progress being made each game and will be looking to continue building as they host Ipswich in a tough fixture on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Magpies Men take on East rivals St Albans following the Norfolk side's fine team performance in their seven-goal thriller with Wimbledon.

Whilst disappointed to lose in the final minutes this was a thrilling game of hockey which was a credit to both sides and impartial observers felt a draw would have been a fair result.

The London side were a good all round side , the best seen at Weybread this season, and are likely to finish at the top of the table.

St Albans promoted this season from the East Premier league sit just below Magpies in the table but will be a difficult side to beat.

Magpies now in their second season back in the league should have gained enough experience from their time at this level to overcome the newcomers.

If they can repeat their performance of last week then three points will be on their way back to Magpies.

Pete Bale, unable to play in recent weeks, is now available and is added to the squad.

Team from: Richard Harms, David Ling (captain), Andy Hipwell, Tristan Baynes, Mark Wheelhouse, Simon Hipwell, Toby Tibbenham, Carl Sitch, Will Martin, Duncan Graves, Richard Gill, Gareth Furlong, James Fanger, Jamie Legg, Pete Bale.

Harleston Magpies Men 3, Wimbledon 4

The game opened up with both teams playing attacking hockey leading to play flowing from end to end. Andy Hipwell forced the Wimbledon defender into an error. Hipwell then calmly lifted the ball over the advancing goalie, putting the home side into a 1-0 lead.

Magpies were now brimming with confidence, applying pressure onto the back line of Wimbledon but they could not make their chances pay.

Wimbledon still carried a threat going forward and managed to get one back, making it 1-1 with a well-worked move. The two sides continued to compete hard through midfield with each side still showing attacking threat.

The second half was full of incident. Like the first half there was an early goal. Wimbledon worked the ball down the Magpies' left before entering the D and scoring from close range to make it 2-1.

This was a big blow for Magpies but they continued to fight hard. Duncan Graves found space at the top of the D to shot low into the bottom corner to level.

Harleston raised their game again and were rewarded when Simon Hipwell found James Fanger free at the back post to score, making it 3-2 with 15 minutes remaining.

Wimbledon came again and quickly levelled at 3-3.

Harleston then straight away responded as they won a short corner. This was bravely blocked by a Wimbledon defender on the line resulting in penalty stroke to Magpies. The Wimbledon goalkeeper pulled off a good save, keeping the scores at 3-3.

With only minutes left this enthralling game had a final twist which saw the away side cut the Harleston defence open before scoring from close range to win the game 4-3, denying Magpies of any points. Magpies take on East Rivals