Wilford’s goal enough to sink league leaders
HARLESTON HOCKEY ROUND-UP
Harleston Magpies Ladies 1, Ipswich 0
Magpies Ladies maintained their 100 percent record for the second half of the season with their fifth consecutive win against local rivals leaders Ipswich, who lost top spot as a result of the game.
Magpies were away for this local derby fixture and knew that they had to improve on their performance from the previous weekend if they were going to get anything from the game.
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As predicted, the first half was played at a high tempo with the ball being quickly switched around the pitch. Emma Lee-Smith intercepted the ball in the middle of the park on several occasions to force Ipswich to make some desperate tackles.
Ipswich also looked dangerous going forward and had some fast and skilful forwards who came close to scoring a couple of times in the first half.
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However, good defending and some important saves from Charlotte Lee-Smith in goal prevented Ipswich from converting their pressure. The only goal of the match came on 14 minutes, after Frances Sumner put a ball through into the circle from a free-hit for Emily Wilford, who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.
The second half produced no further goals but continued with end-to-end spells for both sides which made for a tight last few minutes for Magpies to hold on to their narrow lead.
Attacks from both sides meant that the defending from both teams had to be very sharp in order to prevent either side scoring.
Katrina Warnes had a superb game in defence, who intercepted the ball on numerous occasions to release the forwards for attacking opportunities.
Emma Lee-Smith and Sarah Brook had several passages of excellent link-up play and were unfortunate not to put Magpies 2-0 up.
This was another all-round strong team performance from Magpies who showed commitment and work rate right until the final whistle to take a much-deserved three points. This win moves them into fifth place.
Harleston Magpies Men 0, St Albans 3
HARLESTON Magpies turned in an uncharacteristic performance when losing 3-0 at home to bottom-of-the-table St Albans.
The home side had sufficient pressure during the first quarter of the game to have won the game, but goals did not materialise and defensive errors gave the visitors a three-goal cushion which could not be overcome.
This weekend a visit to third-placed Old Loughtonians gives Magpies the opportunity to put this defeat behind them. The Essex side sit some three points away from leaders Southgate.
With four games left, the league title is wide open, with Holcombe also in the mix.
The turnaround achieved earlier in the season following a 8-1 reversal at Bromley, a 10-0 win against Sevenoaks, makes one feel that a win, albeit a narrow one, is not out of the question.
On their day Magpies' fast- moving approach play is a match for any side in the division. Magpies are able to select from a large squad.
Norwich City IV 1, Harleston Ladies VI 1
Norwich fielded a young side with some excellent players which took Harleston by surprise. During the first half, Norwich seemed to have the upper hand but Magpies' defenders and goalkeeper skilfully kept the ball away from goal.
Lucy Crawford made some fine runs but left the pitch with an injury. Unfortunately Norwich City were awarded a short corner and scored just before half-time.
During the second half Harleston played with determination and Jodie Guest battled hard against the strikers. Play seemed to move up a notch and Magpies managed to keep the ball in the Norwich half.
Jo Meyer took a short corner which was received by Laura Schultheiss who smashed it home.
Then Magpies seemed to have at least four chances at scoring but the ball hit a post and a well-aimed pass from the right wing went flying off the back line. Magpies' defenders stopped everything leaving the score as a draw.