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Harleston Magpies take another step closer to National League return after 2-1 win against Cambridge City II

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Harleston Magpies took another step closer to securing a return to the National League, after a 2-1 win against Cambridge City II saw them chalk up a sixth win on the spin in East Men’s League Premier A on Saturday.

OPENING GOAL: Simon Hipwell
OPENING GOAL: Simon Hipwell

For the first 10 minutes, Harleston had the majority of possession but struggled to penetrate the circle, as their opponents implemented the half court press and were happy to soak up the pressure.

It was not until late in the first half that the deadlock was broken.

Turnover ball in midfield, followed by a strong run from captain Tom Ridley, created space for Simon Hipwell to tidy up a loose ball and slot home from five yards.

A good start to the second half, with lots of possession and a high tempo, enabled Magpies to play their style in the right areas of the pitch.

But the hosts could not find the all important second goal, through open play or a short corner routine, and with 20 minutes to play City scored a penalty corner to draw level.

However, like so many times this season, the belief was intact for Magpies and, after patient build up, it was Dave Skinner who found the winner, with a neat and composed finish at the back post. Skinner later dedicated the goal to his new born son.

Cambridge did win two late penalty corners, which caused nervy moments, but the Harleston defence excelled to keep the visitors at bay and close the game out.

This was to be Jack Hobbs’ last game for the club, and the promotion chasers will miss his contributions for the rest of the season, as he now heads off travelling via Exeter.

With only four games of their season left to go, Magpies (2nd) trail leaders Wapping by three points. But more importantly, two further points will guarantee them a top-four finish and promotion back to the National League.

Magpies visit fifth-placed Bedford for their next game on March 2.

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