Hockey: Magpies men throw away lead at Teddington
Teddington 3, Harleston Magpies Men 3
Magpies made a second trip in as many weeks to South West London to play Teddington who were six points ahead of them and had narrowly won at Weybread in the last half of the season.
The team was almost at full strength with only Stuart Leate missing through injury. The game started in bright warm sunshine in the leafy suburb and Magpies came out of the traps in earnest. Good pressing lead to a well won short corner down the left which was well converted low and hard by Elliot Smith past the flailing Italian keeper. Teddington responded to this early goal and pressed high up the pitch looking for any chance to draw level. Initially Magpies' defence stood firm but one of Teddingtons more skill players wriggled his way through on 13 minutes and drilled a back hand strike into the bottle left corner. The home side then dictated much of the rest of the half with only a few breaks by the visitors. The away side went down to 10 men on two occasions when the goal scorer Smith was harshly sin binned with a yellow card only to be send back on by the technical delegate after 2 minutes thinking a green card had been shown. The umpire then realised this error a few minutes later and Smith was left to sit out the remainder of the half.
Magpies regrouped and again started the second half in a strong fashion. Unbelievably they were denied a penalty stroke despite a defender stopping the ball rolling into the goal with his body whilst lying on the ground. A short corner was given which was converted at the second attempt when Tristan Baynes' shot was deflected home by a defender. Soon it was 3-1 when James Fanger stole the ball of a defend down the right, fed Ben Wright who produced a perfect cross which was tapped in, in vintage fashion, by Richard Ling at the back post. Magpies had got themselves into a great position Witt he chance for only their third win of the season but after a facial injury and short term patch up for captain Mark Wheelhouse, Teddington dragged themselves back into the game.
Ex GB international Callum Giles star of the Atlanta Olympics 1996, the same year Rhodrif Furlong of Magpies was born, scored a trade mark short corner to make it 3-2. Only five minutes later a second corner was scored after an initial save by Man of the Match Reese Leonard fell to a forward whose shot took an unfortunate deflection off Baynes to make it all square at 3-3. Both sides had their chances to win the game but in the end a draw was probably a fair result, although Magpies will again be disappointed to have let a two-goal lead slip.
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Next week Magpies have a must win game at home to Indian Gymkana and all support will be most welcome.
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