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Off-colour Harleston Magpies rack up seventh straight win in East Men's Hockey League Premier A

Despite a below-par performance, Harleston Magpies I made it seven straight wins in the East Men’s League Premier A on Saturday.

Up against close rivals Norwich City I, visiting Magpies recovered from falling a goal behind to triumph 3-1 and keep up with the pace in the title race.

Magpies struggled to get to grips with the game early on and after the hosts had an early goal disallowed, they managed to get themselves in front with the opener.

MDEP-16-11-2018-026 Magpies celebrate their winning goal. (5475847)
MDEP-16-11-2018-026 Magpies celebrate their winning goal. (5475847)

However, this served to be a wake up call for Harleston, who grew in confidence as the first half wore on.

And they were rewarded before the break with an individual goal from Raunaq Rai.

With the second half under way, Harleston started to assert their dominance on the game and some ruthless pressure in the D from James Gray and Dave Gilbert gave Magpies the lead.

Yet, despite some commanding hockey from the likes of Thomas Ridley and Pete Bale in the middle of the park, Harleston continued to lack the quality of previous performances and were unable to rack up the scoreline.

A well-taken short corner goal from Ben Gowing secured the victory but it was far from a convincing display.

Third-placed Magpies return to action tomorrow at home against bottom-of-the-table Saffron Walden (3pm).

l In Division 1, Harleston Magpies Men’s II racked up their fourth win of the campaign with a 2-1 derby win over Norwich II.

Jason Osborn was among the goals for the fifth-placed Magpies.

l In the Investec Women’s Hockey League Conference East, Harleston Magpies I played out a 2-2 draw with Horsham.

Magpies started slowly and Horsham capitalised on that, winning several short corners, one of which they converted from a rebound after Megan Brown had initially made the save.

After this Magpies started to build into the game and gain some confidence in themselves, leading to some goalscoring opportunities.

With some continued pressure, Magpies finally broke down the Horsham defence as Emma Lee-Smith got hold of the ball and the shot came off a Horsham foot, finding its way into the goal.

They then went in front in the second half when the division’s leading goalscorer Lauren Rower beat the home goalkeeper with a reverse stick shot.

In the second half, Magpies tried to keep up the intensity that they finished the first half with. However, Horsham stepped up the pressure late on and were rewarded with a close-range equaliser.

Harleston host Hampstead & Westminster tomorrow (1.30pm).

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