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Harleston bounce back to qualify for the next round

SCRAMBLE FOR THE BALL: Harleston Magpies Men in National Conference Division Two North action last weekend
SCRAMBLE FOR THE BALL: Harleston Magpies Men in National Conference Division Two North action last weekend

Harleston Magpies Men’s indoor team qualified for the second weekend of the National Conference Division Two North Championships, held in St Albans.

The weekend comprised of four games with Harleston knowing that a top three finish would see them go through.

The Magpies firstly took on a strong St Albans side.

Harleston took the lead just before half time but with 15 minutes remaining St Albans hit back with a vengeance, one converted corner and two quick goals later, left looking at defeat.

With the score at 3-1 Harleston pulled their keeper, the extra player allowing Leigh Sitch to rampage up the pitch only to be fouled just before the attacking circle. Harleston thought they had pulled a goal back with a minute to play but the goal was ruled out for a lifted ball and the loss was confirmed with the final whistle.

In their next game, Harleston took on Lichfield. The Magpies started much better in this game as their forward line of Chris Barber, Toby Price, Richard Larkin, Tom Ridley, Simon Hipwell and Ben Wright created many chances.

After some hard work, Harleston won 10-2, with the picks of the bunch being a well worked short corner finished by Louis Totton and a quick flowing free hit between Hipwell and Larkin.

The third was against Barford Tigers, Harleston started well and found themselves a goal up before Barford pulled a goal back against the run of play.

The equalising goal only seemed to spur on Harleston and by half-time the score was 3-1.

Five minutes into the second half, keeper John Livings received a yellow card, he was adjudged to have fouled a Barford forward giving away a penalty stroke.

Hipwell stepped up and bravely put on the goalkeeper helmet but could not quite react to the power of the stroke.

Despite being a player down, Harleston extended their lead through a quick counter attack goal finished by Barber.

With the Magpies back to their full team, they turned on the style with Price getting himself one before the goal of the tournament was provided by Stuart Leate.

The midfielder turned three players before releasing Wright, who lobbed the advancing Barford goalkeeper.

That win gave Harleston qualification with one game remaining even though they beat Bournville in the final game.

The Magpies will travel to Bristol on January 23-24, with Bournville and St Albans, to face the qualifiers from the National Division Two Championship South League.

Magpies: John Livings (GK), Leigh Sitch (C), Simon Hipwell, Louis Totton, Carl Sitch, Stuart Leate, Chris Barber, Tom Ridley, Richard Larkin, Ben Wright, Toby Price.

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