Late fightback counts for little as Magpies are beaten

HOME DEFEAT: Harleston skipper Leigh Sitch (right) could not prevent his side from losing. Picture: Pat Leate

HOME DEFEAT: Harleston skipper Leigh Sitch (right) could not prevent his side from losing. Picture: Pat Leate

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EAST MEN’S LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION A

Harleston Magpies I 3

St Albans I 4

Harleston Magpies first team head into the Christmas break on a negative note after they lost a topsy-turvy encounter at home to St Albans on Saturday.

The two sides met on the opening day of the season, with St Albans prospering 4-1 and while on this occasion it was a closer affair, it was still the Hertfordshire that were celebrating come the final whistle.

It was Magpies that made a bright start as Jack Knight’s early effort flew just wide of the target.

However, it was St Albans that broke the deadlock soon after via a baseline carry.

The lead was doubled before the break following an error from Magpies skipper Leigh Sitch, which resulted in a short corner that was duly converted.

It was 3-0 soon after the restart when another corner found its way into the home side’s net.

But rather than accept their fate, Magpies rallied and they reduced the arrears thanks to Myles King, who turned in Ben Wright’s mis-hit shot.

Knight was heavily involved in Magpies’ second goal after he was fouled when trying to round the St Albans goalkeeper — Wright stepped up to convert the resultant penalty flick.

Knight’s second goal of the game levelled matters at three goals apiece and at this moment it seemed Magpies were destined to go on and win the encounter.

But in a cruel test of fate — and against the run of play — St Albans caught Harleston on the break and they managed to slide the ball underneath home goalkeeper John Livings to seal a dramatic victory.

The result means that fourth-placed Magpies are now seven points adrift of Old Loughtonians I and St Albans in second and third respectively.

Meanwhile, leaders City of Peterborough I are two points further clear.

Magpies are due to return to action on Saturday, January 14 when they make the trip to fellow Norfolk outfit Dereham (1.3opm).