Magpies have to settle for draw

Harpenden 1, Harleston Magpies II 1HARLESTON Magpies Men's II travelled away to Harpenden on Saturday and were disappointed to only come away with a point as they were left to rue missed opportunities.

Harpenden 1, Harleston Magpies II 1

HARLESTON Magpies Men's II travelled away to Harpenden on Saturday and were disappointed to only come away with a point as they were left to rue missed opportunities.

With Simon Hipwell being promoted to the first team and captain James Stacey and Matty Steinthorpe unavailable, we welcomed Ben Gowing into the squad as Simons replacement in midfield.

A new-look back four of: Craig Snelling, Dan Legg, Hamish Barton, and Jamie Legg came under pressure from the start with Harpenden starting the strongest and looking to test the defence early in the game hoping that they were still recovering after a long journey down.

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Despite the early pressure Magpies were first to create a chance when good play down the right from Ben Gowing and Jamie Legg released the rocket (Duncan Steven) into the opposing 23, Duncan's ball into Robbie Kinsella was intercepted just as Kinsella was about to pull the trigger.

Despite creating the better opportunities it was Harpenden who finally took the lead, when a break down of a Magpies penalty corner allowed Harpenden to break with number over. As they flooded down the now vacant left-hand side of the Magpies defence, players ran back in order to try and help their defence. The shot from Harpenden flew past the unsighted Livings in goal and gave Harpenden the lead.

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The second half started much brighter for Magpies as they started to get hold of the game and play more attractive hockey. This then gave us more confidence and allowed up to create more problems for the Harpenden defence after good work from our wide men Ben Wright, Ben Gowing and Jamie Legg.

As the match continued and Magpies were still behind the game became more frantic and scrappy as both teams went flying into tackles.

When Magpies did break the back line they found an in-form keeper whom did not want to give up his clean sheet.

Harleston managed to pull back level with 10 minutes to go when Rich Ling's penalty corner struck the foot of a Harpenden defender and found its way into the back of the net.

With the game now level Magpies looked to press home and score the winning goal, the best chance fell with two minutes to go when after good work from Ben Wright down the left hand side fired the ball into the circle for Lawrence Baynes to collect, the Harpenden defenders then surrounded him and forced the shot wide, leaving the game to end as a draw.

Dispite an untypical Magpies performance the second team are still unbeaten and second as they looked forward to the visit of Cambridge Nomads to Weybread who are currently fourth after beating Broxbourne 3-2 on Sunday.

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