EAST MEN’S LEAGUE
Harleston Magpies 5
Harleston Magpies were expecting a tough fixture at Letchworth on Saturday, but their clinical display ended up securing a comprehensive victory.
Dave Gilbert was on particularly good form for the away side, as he fired in a hat-trick for the Norfolk side.
Despite starting well, Harleston struggled to find the breakthrough their play and pressure deserved and it was Letchworth who took the lead through a powerful drag flick at a short corner.
However, Harleston showed some character during a chaotic period of the game and snatched an equaliser when Gilbert bundled the ball home from close range.
The visitors were dealt a blow, though, when dynamic centre-back Elliott Marsh suffered a hamstring injury that forced him off.
Despite this, Harleston continued to press forward and grabbed their second goal when player-coach Tim Whiteman picked out the top corner.
Now in front, Harleston started the second half well and extended their lead when Gilbert grabbed his second of the game from close range.
Harleston were completely in control at this point with Simon Hipwell, Archie Winter and Whiteman all going close before Jack Hobbs smartly turned in a fourth goal.
John Livings in the Magpies’ goal was forced to make some smart stops as the minutes ticked away, while the final say on proceedings went the way of Gilbert when he fired in his third goal of the game.
The win — Harleston’s first away from home this season — has left them fourth in the table ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Spalding (12pm).
n In Division 2N, Harleston Magpies II ran out 5-3 winners from their home encounter against Cambridge University III.
Having not dropped a point all season, Magpies started full of confidence and they were in front after just 40 seconds through Sam Moore.
Visiting Cambridge managed to squeeze one past the home goalkeeper off a well-worked short corner, but Magpies soon responded through a Robbie Kinsella goal.
Jamie Legg made it 3-1 to the home team just before the break and after half-time he was back among the scorers as he deflected Tristan Baynes’ drag flick into the top corner.
And the victory was sealed late in the match by a goal from Martin Fields.
Magpies’ sixth victory in a row has left them top of the table, two points clear of second-placed St Ives I.
The seconds will look to make it seven wins on the spin when they travel to face Bury St Edmunds I tomorrow (12pm).