Magpies battle without success

Harleston Magpies 1, Old Loughtonians 3HARLESTON faced league leaders Old Loughtonians at home this Sunday. The away team arrived at Harleston unbeaten so far during the season, despite this Magpies were confident that they could get something out of the game.

Harleston Magpies 1, Old Loughtonians 3

HARLESTON faced league leaders Old Loughtonians at home this Sunday.

The away team arrived at Harleston unbeaten so far during the season, despite this Magpies were confident that they could get something out of the game.

Both teams started well, moving the ball across the pitch creating spaces when the opportunity arrived.

Despite early pressure from Loughts at a couple of corners it was Harleston who took the lead when Baynes left a ball for Hipwell who turned at the top of the circle before smashing the ball in on his reverse stick.

With the crowd behind them Harleston grew in confidence and started to control the game around the back keeping the ball for as long as possible. Just before half-time Loughts were reduced to 10 men but despite a corner of their own Harleston were unable to extend their lead.

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With half-time over Harleston knew Loughts were going to come after them, the opposition stepped up their pressure, forcing Harleston backwards.

The home team started to give the ball away too easily and were soon punished with a well-taken slipped corner.

Loughts did not stop pressing despite finding the equaliser and soon took the lead when James Steadman hit the base line before pulling the ball back to be smashed home with a first-time shot past Harms.

Again Loughts were reduced to 10 men but Harleston could not capitalise on the advantage and Loughts managed to extend their lead with another corner, which Baynes originally stopped on the line only for the rebound to fall to an attacker to make the score 3-1.

Next week the team travel to Oxted on Saturday hoping to turn their good play into points, again looking to big performances from Harms, Wheelhouse and Ling who were superb on Sunday.

Old Loughts 0, Harleston Ladies 1

HARLESTON Magpies negotiated another difficult away game at Old Loughtonians, taking all three points to maintain second place and keep up pressure on leaders Ipswich, who are one point ahead of them.

This makes for an interesting top-of-the-table clash at Harleston on Sunday (12.30 start), when Ipswich are the visiting team.

Magpies looked anything but a team in form in the opening seven minutes as they allowed Old Loughtonians to camp in their half and the Harleston defending lacked composure.

In fact, they were very fortunate not to concede a goal when Old Loughtonians' shot hit the post and they managed to scramble the ball clear.

After 10 minutes, completely against the run of play, Angie Wheelhouse dispossessed a ponderous defender and ran on to slot the ball home.

This was the lift Magpies needed and they gradually eased their way into the game.

Jas Bartlett, making her second league appearance covering for Cherry Seaborn who was away training with the England U18, came off the bench and in a five-minute spell twice left the Old Loughtonians' defence for dead but her two tantalising crosses just evaded the other Harleston attackers.

At half-time Magpies knew that they needed to up their game if they wanted to win the match and fortunately, despite the terrible weather, they gradually started to dominate midfield.

The home defence were now under pressure and Artemis Clark on the right gave them a testing time. As Magpies turned the screw the Old Loughts defenders were increasingly having their clearances intercepted and chances were becoming more frequent but the Magpies forwards just could not capitalise on these opportunities.

With the Magpies defence hardly being tested in the second half they had a rude awakening when, from a rare home attack, a terrific reverse-stick shot crashed against the bar.

This let-off was good for concentrating the minds but it was probably Old Loughtonians' last chance of the match.

As the water started to lie on the surface of the pitch there was briefly a danger of the match not being completed but luckily the rain eased.

Magpies Ladies IV 0, Norwich Dragons III 0

MAGPIES welcomed Norwich for an early-morning push-back, looking to bounce back after their first league defeat last week.

An extremely wet and windy day pushed the start time back, but luckily conditions improved so the match could go ahead. The opening moments saw possession continually shift as both sides fought to make their mark on the game. Magpies won several short corners, not converting, and Dragons were dangerous on the break, but the first half remained goalless.

Laura Schultheiss worked tirelessly, starting several good plays but the final shot just wouldn't go in. Treacle Snelling and Hannah Booty at the back kept Dragons at bay, with Kristina Erith making some last-ditch saves to keep Magpies in it, and the final score was 0-0, a fair result.