WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE
Harleston Magpies IV 2
Dereham III 3
Harleston Magpies’ fourth team were denied a first point of the season by Dereham’s thirds on Saturday.
The visitors started strongly, pushing Magpies back into their 25 and forcing Alice Evans-Hendrick, Emily Woollatt, Krystal Jenkins and Marnie Blair to baton down the hatches.
However, Dereham found their way through and opened the scoring from a loose player on the back post.
Magpies began to rise to the occasion with Sarah Louden linking up with Janna Freeman on the right wing to pull the Dereham defence apart.
But against the run of play the visitors doubled their tally via a brilliant shot from ex-Magpie Evie Gardener, which Alice Gooch in goal had no chance of stopping.
Undeterred, Magpies continued to work the ball around a tiring opposition.
Imogen Ramsdale and Sophie Maynell Anderson worked together in central midfield to push the play into the Dereham half and a resulting pass found Julie Davy, who calmly slotted the ball into the goal.
Magpies continued in this vein in the second half, sensing the game was still within reach.
Yet they suffered a further setback when Dereham scored a third goal from the top of the D.
With frustration building on the pitch, Magpies relied on the experience of Judith Masters, who was instrumental in the next goal, which was put away by captain Maynell Anderson.
At 3-2 down, Magpies were relentless in their tackles, keeping Dereham at bay and closing down players before they had a chance to do any damage.
In the dying minutes of the game Magpies won a short corner which was stopped, struck and scored by Cassie Ayms but was disallowed, denying the struggling fourths the chance to get off the mark for the season.
Their continued search for a first point takes them to Norwich City III tomorrow (2.30pm).
n In the Investec Women’s Hockey League Conference, Harleston Magpies I played out a 1-1 draw away at Bedford.
Against the run of play, hosting Bedford took the lead on their first visit to the D in the eighth minute.
The home team held on to the lead heading into the break, but Magpies got themselves level in the second half with a powerful Emma Lee-Smith strike from a short corner.
Tomorrow, the eighth-placed Magpies will return to home comforts when Southgate — currently in seventh spot — will be their visitors (2pm).