Harleston’s relegation six pointer ends up all square
MEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE
Bromley and Beckenham 2
Harleston Magpies 2
Harleston Magpies travelled to Bromley and Beckenham in a relegation six pointer which finished up all square at the weekend.
With Harleston bottom of the table on five points and Bromley the nearest team to them on 12, Magpies knew they needed a win to put pressure on their opposition to avoid the drop with only three games remaining.
Bromley started the game the better team and pressed Harleston back into their own 25. This resulted in some turn over ball from the usually reliable Magpies back four.
Despite this early pressure, Harleston weathered the storm and looked dangerous on the counter attack.
The away side created some good, but not clear cut chances, from the dynamic trio up front of Toby Price, Ben Wright and Andy Hipwell.
It was however Bromley who took the lead just before the 10 minute mark when a home forward was adjudged to rob Andrew Bedwell of the ball cleanly, leaving Leigh Sitch and Donnie Archer with a three on two in the circle.
With the ball fed to the unmarked forward in the D he was able to finish with ease to put the hosts 1-0 up.
Harleston’s day was made worse when Matt Richardson hobbled off after twisting his ankle on 12 minutes, before Sitch was forced off with a back injury in the 25th minute.
Despite these set backs, Harleston continued to find their feet and adapted well to the Bromley high press with the away side still managing to look dangerous on the counter attack.
Magpies found the equaliser after a well worked short corner routine found Bedwell at the top of the circle, and his thunderous shot was turned goalwards by a Bromley defender, before Sam Rowe poached his third goal of the season from close range.
Harleston, now feeling confident, pinned Bromley back in their own half and soon took the lead with a move straight from the training ground.
Simon Hipwell dumped the ball back to Bedwell from a long corner, and the man of the match hammered the ball into the circle for Wright to cleverly deflect home from close range.
Harleston were now well and truly on top and created chances but were left to rue their wastefulness with only three minutes left on the clock, when a smashed ball into the circle was adjudged to have touched an unfortunate Harleston defender.
Despite the visitors rebuffing the first corner the third rebound fell kindly to a Bromley attacker who finished to the leave the game all square.
Harleston now must win against Teddington on Sunday at Weybread.