Dereham relegated after heavy defeat
EAST CONFERENCE: Dereham's relegation back to the East League set-up was finally confirmed on Sunday when they were beaten 5-0 at high-flying Chelmsford.
Despite losing all but one of their matches in their first season in the Conference, Dereham went into their penultimate fixture knowing that a victory could keep alive their outside hopes of avoiding the drop.
But winning at Chelmsford was always going to be a long shot and so it proved, with a hat-trick from Kat Hales and further efforts from Jess Ecott and Sarah Bolton condemning the visitors to a heavy defeat.
Harleston Magpies' superb run of wins since Christmas came to an end with a 1-0 defeat at home to league leaders Sevenoaks, who clinched the title as a result.
Looking for an eighth straight victory, Magpies produced a determined performance and were unlucky not to come away with something from the game.
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Magpies dominated the first half and had Sevenoaks pinned deep into their own half for a large part of it. Emma Lee-Smith came the closest to scoring but an excellent save from the keeper denied the home side a deserved lead.
The second half saw a much more attacking Sevenoaks, who started to look more threatening in front of goal as time went on. Magpies successfully defended several short corners and went close themselves when Lee-Smith rounded the keeper, only to be denied by a last ditch block from a Sevenoaks defender.
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The visitors scored the only goal of the game on 52 minutes from a well worked short corner routine, with Heather Batten's shot taking a deflection on its way through to goal.
Magpies kept battling and Emily Wilford was only inches away from converting on several occassions.
Harleston's men ended any lingering fears of relegation and moved up to fifth in the table when they came away from bottom side Sevenoaks with an impressive 5-1 victory.
Will Martin opened the scoring for Magpies midway through the first half and as the break approached the visitors won a short corner which Gareth Furlong converted.
Harleston made the game safe when Andrew Hipwell finished from close range following a well worked move and it wasn't long before Gareth Furlong had made it 4-0.
Sevenoaks then pulled one back and missed a penalty stroke before Hipwell worked himself space down the left before cutting in and slotting calmly past the advancing keeper.