Magpies show character to salvage a share of the spoils

TEAM SPIRIT: Leigh Sitchs team fought back to claim a draw against Cambridge University. PICTURE: Pat Leate
TEAM SPIRIT: Leigh Sitchs team fought back to claim a draw against Cambridge University. PICTURE: Pat Leate
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EAST MEN’S LEAGUE

PREMIER A

Cambridge University 2

Harleston Magpies 2

Harleston Magpies’ first team battled back from two goals down to claim a point from their trip to face Cambridge students on Saturday.

The hosts started the game the far better side with their fast-paced passing and dynamism causing issues for the Harleston midfield and defence.

The pressure eventually told when, from a short corner, Magpies’ Ben Wright slipped and the students pounced to break the deadlock.

Visiting Harleston also carried an attacking threat of their own at times during the first half, but they were unable to capitalise and headed into the interval a goal behind.

The arrears grew early in the second after Stuart Leate was sin-binned, with Cambridge going on to make their numerical advantage count by firing in a second goal.

However, from that moment onwards Magpies rallied and they got themselves back in the contest when Wright’s deflected effort deceived the home goalkeeper.

With five minutes remaining Magpies were given further encouragement as Cambridge were reduced to 10 men for a foul on Richard Larkin.

And the pressure told soon after as captain Leigh Sitch and Matt Richardson combined to pick out Wright.

The soon-to-depart player-coach had Andrew Bedwell up in support, but he went for goal himself and managed to scuff the ball inside the near post.

Leate was awarded a second yellow card with 60 seconds left to play, but Magpies managed to hold out for the draw.

This weekend, fourth-placed Magpies return to home comforts with the visit of top-of-the-table Old Loughtonians (2pm).

Old Loughts head into the contest having not lost since Saturday, November 26.

n In the Investec Women’s League Conference East, Harleston Magpies I were on the road at Southgate I and like their male counterparts, returned home with a 2-1 draw to show for their efforts.

Both teams started with positive intent, but it was Magpies that broke the deadlock in the 25th minute when Maria Andrews dragged flicked the ball home.

Southgate drew level before the break, but after some pressure early in the second half, Magpies were back in front as Abby Gooderham stepped in to convert a penalty corner.

However, the away side were denied a victory in the 66th minute when Southgate managed to score a second equalising goal.

Tomorrow, Harleston are away to Cambridge looking to return to winning ways (12.30pm).