Broadland clinch title
PUBLISHED: 00:46 11 March 2011
M+A PARTNERS NORFOLK LEAGUE: Broadland secured a return to the East League when they won 2-0 at nearest challengers Panthers to clinch the M+A Partners Norfolk League Premier Division title.
The visitors only needed a point to ensure finishing top with two matches still to play, but went up in style as goals from Tracey Buxton and a deflected effort from Carre Mills earned them a deserved victory.
Panthers looked good for a win in the early stages and might have taken the lead had their penalty corner strikes been more consistent.
Broadland looked solid and were dangerous when getting the ball forward and Buxton single-handedly took on the Panthers’ back three, darting through to fire an unstoppable shot into the far corner of the net.
Within minutes, things started to look less than rosy for the visitors as firstly captain Rachel Aldous took a ball to the face and then Julia Mills was sin-binned for a vigorous challenge, reducing Broadland to nine players. The pressure on their goal started to build but Kari O’Brien, using her considerable experience to great effect, prevented Broadland conceding by marshalling the defence that now included winger Kelly Duthie.
Panthers came with an ace of equalising but Duthie appeared from nowhere to clear off the line.
Within minutes of the restart Panthers were again denied a equaliser when a penalty corner strike smashed against the post.
Broadland, now restored to 10 players, started to probe again and Mills was ecstatic when her strike for goal took a massive deflection off a Panthers’ defender for Broadland’s second goal.
With end to end play in the final 15 minutes neither side could break the other one down as Broadland held out for an epic win.
Afterwards Aldous, sporting a black eye after her unfortunate accident, paid tribute to her team, saying: “It has been a fantastic season for us and I don’t think there is any doubt we deserved to win the title.
“Everyone has played their part although I must pay a special tribute to our goalkeeper Lauren Halliwell, who has been absolutely brilliant.
“We can now looking forward to the East League and I am sure we will do well at a higher level, but first we want to make sure we finish the season in style by winning our final two games.”
Elsewhere in the top flight Norwich City II went on a goal spree, beating Watton II 11-2 (Emilie Delacave 3, Emily Anthony 3, Amy Campbell 2, Georgie Kidner 2, Sue Tomlinson) while Harleston Magpies III stayed third after a 2-1 win at Lowestoft Railway.
Broadland II won 5-1 at Yarmouth II in Division One, with Dani Parke’s first half hat-trick setting them on their way. Laura Cannon rammed home a fourth goal before Nikki Baker’s thunderbolt was diverted into the net via a defender’s foot. Meanwhile Norwich Dragons III drew 2-2 with Pelicans III (Lois Metcalfe, Natasha Blythe).
Diss were also celebrating at the weekend after beating Sprowston II 3-1 to clinch the Division Two title.
They opened the scoring when captain Sam Howard’s superb pass set up Toni Glover to score.
After the break Glover linked up with Gaby Rolingson to make it 2-0 before completing her hat-trick, and making it 31 for the season, after Lucy Kershaw’s shot had been blocked.
Because of league rules Diss will no longer be able to play their home games at Diss High School next season and will need to travel to an astro pitch.
Harleston Magpies VI beat Hornets 2-1 in Division Three (Katie Webb, Vanessa Vigrass) while Norwich City IV won 2-1 at Herlings (Lucy Campbell, Rachael McCarney).
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