ENGLAND HOCKEY MIXED TROPHY
Harleston Magpies 5
Harleston Magpies secured a semi-final date in London next month as they swept aside Burton in a convincing win.
It had been the third successive year the south-Norfolk outfit had made the quarter finals of the national competition and, after successfully avenging last year’s comeback defeat against Cannock, they will travel to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, at the Olympic Park, on June 6.
Harleston started strongly, with Richard Larkin and Andrew Bedwell controlling the centre of the pitch and helping to force early pressure.
With Lizzie Clymer forcing a short corner, Bedwell stepped up to blast home, beating the keeper for pace down the centre of the goal. Magpies were relaxing well into the game, with Lauren Barber causing problems down the right and more short corners were created.
This time a slip move saw the initial shot saved, but Amy Campbell was on hand to smartly put home the rebound to double the lead.
The chance for a third came when Burton were apparently penalised for a deliberate foot in the circle, meaning a penalty stroke.
With players backing away from the responsibility of taking it, only Larkin remained brave enough to take it, but it was saved by the keeper.
After the restart Burton continued to attack through their tricky right midfielder, but Simon Hipwell matched up well to him defensively, again limiting Burton’s attacks.
Magpies were relieved to score their third goal. Another short corner was won, with Lucy Whiting and Chris Barber looking dangerous up front. The ball was fed out to Leigh Sitch, whose powerful shot was expertly deflected in by a diving Bedwell.
Burton were not giving up offensively, pushing players forward. With their skilful forward breaking past Sitch, the experienced, but tiring, full-back decided to cynically hack him down, with Katrina Sitch and Frances Taylor maybe being in better positions to make the tackle.
Sitch was very fortunate to not receive a yellow card and, with the penalty spot wet again, the Burton top scorer emphatically flicked the ball high into the goal to begin the comeback. With last year in the home team’s mind, Magpies started to get deeper into their own half. Luckily Larkin charged down a short corner and Matt Collinge in goal saved a powerful flick well from another.
Clymer, Fields, the Barbers and Price moved the ball down the other end, using their speed to good effect to win another corner.
This time a deliberate deflection move would see Amy Campbell score her second of the match for 4-1. Magpies polished off the performance with a deserved fifth, James Meek scoring Magpies’ only open play goal after he weaved through a couple of defenders before slotting home.