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Harleston Magpies lose final Men’s Hockey League Conference East game of 2019 to Cambridge City

Harleston Magpies I ended the year on a losing note with a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Cambridge City in the Men’s Hockey League Conference East on Sunday.

Magpies, who won for the second time this season last time out, welcomed top goalscorer Simon Hipwell, Ollie Juszt and Sam Wash back into their squad for the visit of second-placed Cambridge.

The hosts were eager to get off to a positive start, yet after just five minutes they found themselves trailing.

Simon Hipwell returned to the team
Simon Hipwell returned to the team

A mis-trap from Leigh Sitch eventually left Magpies goalkeeper Chris Leek exposed, and in turn the away side broke the deadlock.

Despite falling behind, Harleston rallied and started to carve out some chances of their own.

On one particular occasion Toby Price cleverly won his team a short corner and when the ball was worked to team-mate Ben Gowing, he was denied three times by the Cambridge goalkeeper.

And soon after Magpies fell further behind when the ball was turned over in the centre of the pitch, leaving the hosts outnumbered as Cambridge helped themselves to a second goal.

Clear goalscoring opportunities were few and far between for Magpies in the second half as they sought a route back into the contest.

Hipwell and Gowing both went close to halving the deficit but the Cambridge goalkeeper and backline stood firm, while up the other end Leek was forced to make a save from point blank range.

Magpies will now head into the winter break sitting third from bottom in the standings, with their return to action scheduled for February 1 when they will host St Albans.

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