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Second-placed Harleston Magpies beat Chelmsford in the East Men's League Premier A Division

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Harleston Magpies first team remain firmly on the coat-tails of East Men’s League Premier A leaders Wapping following Saturday’s 4-1 home victory over Chelmsford.

The hosts welcomed Will Tew, Tom Dunnett and Ben Gowing into the side after their mid-season break and it was the latter two who combined to score the first goal.

Young Magpies goalkeeper Ollie Juszt made a smart stop, from which Leigh Sitch’s clearance picked out Tom Ridley.

MDEP 28-01-2017-034 Magpies Mens 1st Team Hockey v Ipswich. Magpies Capt Leigh Sitch. (6973208)
MDEP 28-01-2017-034 Magpies Mens 1st Team Hockey v Ipswich. Magpies Capt Leigh Sitch. (6973208)

The captain swiftly passed the ball down the line for Dunnett, who in turn threaded the ball accurately through for Gowing to slot home.

And it quickly became 2-0 to the hosts when Andrew Bedwell and Tew linked up to free up Ranauq Rai and he duly smashed his shot against the backboard.

However, while Magpies continued to dominate the possession, they were also sending a number of passes astray and they were eventually punished as Chelmsford pulled a goal back from a penalty flick.

As the first half drew towards a close Harleston skipper Ridley was denied by a smart stop, but they eventually restored their two-goal advantage after the restart.

A well worked short corner routine saw Bedwell link up with Sitch, who managed to send a diving deflection into the net.

And the outcome was secured by Dunnett, who volleyed home at the back post after good work from Rai.

The final 15 minutes of action were largely uneventful and while Magpies created a few half chances, no further goals were scored as the home side played out their 13th victory of the season in relatively comfortable fashion.

With table-topping Wapping also tasting that winning feeling at the weekend – beating Bedford by two unanswered goals – Harleston remain three points adrift of the summit.

Tomorrow Magpies return to action away at Cambridge University I (1.30pm). When the two teams played out the reverse fixture in late October, Magpies ran out winners by a 1-0 margin.

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