East Men’s League: Hat-trick man Tom leads Magpies rout
Harleston Magpies hit their best form so far this season to thrash Chelmsford 7-0 in the East Men's League's Premier Division.
Despite their unbeaten start to the season Magpies knew they needed to be more clinical in front of goal – and after a pre-match game of cricket to loosen them up they ticked all the boxes, including their first league clean sheet of the season.
The game started at a fast pace with both teams pushing for the opening goal. But it was Magpies who got it, with man of the match Tom Graham pouncing on a loose ball in the D before guiding a shot into the top corner a reverse stick strike.
From then on it was one way traffic with Tristan Baynes providing a strong target in the middle and Sam Moore and Toby Price pulling the Chelmsford defence all over the pitch.
Graham beat two defenders before dribbling in for his second and completed his hat-trick before the break.
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Magpies showed no sign of relenting in the second half. Simon Hipwell slid a ball through for Price to coolly round the keeper and score the fourth and Graham set up Pete Bale for the fifth. Hipwell and Baynes completed the scoring.
Dereham are fourth after bouncing back from their defeat to University of Cambridge with a 3-2 win against West Herts in Watford.
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Defender Mark Hunter was his team's hero, scoring a brace of penalty corner drag flicks either side of an open play strike from team captain Richard Stainthorpe.
It was a fantastic result for the Norfolk side against a team that had previously lost just one league match on home soil in the last 12 months.
'I'm really pleased with the quality of that performance,' said Dereham coach Peter Hogg. 'We played with great desire and intensity today, something which we lacked last weekend against University of Cambridge and that cost us the game.
'West Herts is a notoriously difficult place to win at, so this is a massive result for us.'
There was an incredible match in Premier B, where Norwich City drew 5-5 with Letchworth – but will see it as two points lost having been 3-1 up at the break.
City opened the scoring through Charlie Horn and extended their lead when Dave Skinner scored from a quick break. Though Letchworth reduced the arrears Horn quickly restored City's two goal advantage at the break.
Within six minutes of the restart Letchworth were level through a short corner strike and penalty stroke. And with 15 minutes remaining they had scored two further goals to lead 5-3 before City hauled themselves back to salvage a point with goals from Pete Morgan and Jim Pallister.
Incredibly, it wasn't the highest scoring game in the division as Wisbech stayed top with a 6-5 win at Crostyx. Magpies 2nds lost 4-2 at Havering.
There was another high scoring game in Division 2NE with Norwich Dragons drawing 4-4 with Cambridge City III. The Dragons came from behind to lead 2-1 at the break through goals from Matt Knights and Ed Smith. Cambridge equalised, only for Dragons to restore their lead through Knights, but the visitors then scored twice to lead 4-3 with five minutes to go. However Dragons rallied and after good approach play down the left Knights completed his hat-trick.
In Division 3NE Norwich City 2nds were unable to continue the form which brought a 9-1 victory last week as they drew 2-2 with Gorleston.
Jack Ingham and Matthew Brine were the Norwich City scorers – but a point was small consolation after a game in which they had had at least 70-75pc of the possession.
City 3rds, however, beat Sudbury 2nds 5-1 with goals from Sam Akkeb, Mark Fletcher, Darren Hart, Jon Kidner and James Millsted.
In Division 4NE Dereham 3rds took the honours against their own 4ths, winning 6-3, while Thetford Town were unlucky to finish pointless after a 5-3 defeat to Ipswich East Suffolk 2nds.
Norwich Dragons II won 3-1 at a Watton with goals from Dan Cheesman, Andy Kelsall (deflected in off an opponent) and Ricky Powley. Man of the match was Mark Flatman.
In Division Five NE Norwich Dragons 3rds maintain their perfect record by coming from behind to beat Lowestoft Railway 2-1. Railway took the lead but Dragons hit back to win with goals by Ben Campbell and skipper George Walker.
Norwich City V are third after beating Felixstowe 3rds 2-1 with two goals by John Huntingdon.
In Division 6NE Norwich Dragons 4ths lost their unbeaten record, going down 6-2 to Ipswich 2nds (Mike Banham 2).