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Harleston Magpies Ladies round-up off East Conference campaign with 2-2 home draw

PUBLISHED: 08:55 02 April 2019

Harleston Magpies Under-14 girls won the regional title on home soil recently and will now be representing the Eastern Counties in the national finals next month Picture: CLUB

Harleston Magpies Under-14 girls won the regional title on home soil recently and will now be representing the Eastern Counties in the national finals next month Picture: CLUB

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Harleston Magpies Ladies rounded off a highly satisfactory season in the East Conference by drawing 2-2 with Southgate at Weybread.

Up against a side already certain to finish second from bottom in the table, Magpies couldn’t have wished for a better start on Saturday, scoring twice in the first 10 minutes.

Emma Lee-Smith opened the scoring with a penalty corner strike after just five minutes and the lead was quickly doubled when Lee-Smith netted again, this time from open play.

It was still 2-0 to Harleston at the interval and with their comfortable advantage still intact midway through the second period it appeared as though they were on course for a 10th win of the campaign.

But Southgate had other ideas and goals from Emily Ruffell-Hazell (53) and Ella Shearing (64) meant the hosts had to settle for only their second draw.

Magpies finished the season fifth in the table, well above the cut-off mark for entry into the new England Hockey National Division One next term.

In the Premier A Division of Men’s East League Norwich City were thrashed 6-0 at promoted St Albans in their re-arranged final fixture, having already confirmed their top flight status.

Norwich City Ladies III won 2-1 at Pelicans II in another re-arranged game to secure second position in the Empresa Norfolk League Premier Division.

The visitors went behind early on and were then indebted to keeper Sophia Colman who prevented them falling further behind when she pulled off an instinctive save that set up a quick break, resulting in Hannah Bush racing clear of the home team’s defence to win a short corner.

Captain Kim Lusher’s crisp strike headed towards the goal before Caroline Illing sent a cheeky deflection over the stick of the last defender.

The second half saw City have more than 70 percent of the possession but they found the young Pelicans’ goalkeeper in outstanding form. But with time running out player of the match Niamh Campbell received the ball at the top of the circle and, after beating two defenders, slipped the ball to Illing who managed to squeeze home from an acute angle for what proved to be the winner.

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