East Men’s League: Magpies move up to second

Chris Barber in action for Harleston Magpies during their 2-1 win at Wisbech Town in Premier A.

Chris Barber in action for Harleston Magpies during their 2-1 win at Wisbech Town in Premier A. - Credit: Archant

Harleston Magpies are up to second in the Premier A table after maintaining their 100pc start to the season with a 2-1 win at Wisbech Town.

Good work from the home keeper kept Harleston at bay early on but exceptional pressing from Chris Barber robbed the defence and set up Ben Wright for the opening goal.

Magpies continued their dominance, but the home side got a goal back after a deliberate foot from Leigh Sitch led to a short corner which was converted.

Harleston responded with good work from Thomas 'Neo' Ridley and Barber leading to a short corner, with fourth choice drag flicker Toby Price stepped up to the mark to rocket the ball into the roof of the net.

The second half was a quieter affair and the score stayed the same for Magpies to leave with the points.


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Elsewhere in Premier A, Dereham fell to their first defeat of the season, with London side Wapping proving themselves too good by powering to a 4-0 victory.

The match was played at the impressive Lea Valley Tennis & Hockey Centre, the recently completed London 2012 legacy facility situated in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and was only 1-0 at half-time, but the hosts put their foot on the pedal in the second half.

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In Premier B, Norwich City started slowly after a long journey to Letchworth and found themselves down to two early short corners before their attacking play brought them back into the game.

Goals from David Skinner and Jeremy Ellliott equalised but the hosts edged 3-2 ahead before half-time.

Gabriel Marchant levelled again for Norwich with a cleverly finished close-range shot after the break and Norwich had opportunities to take the lead, but Letchworth's physical approach brought them back into the game and they scored the next goal.

In trying to chase the game Norwich were hit on the break and the score finished at 6-3 to Letchworth.

Norwich City's second XI also tasted defeat, losing 3-2 at home against Norwich Dragons' first team in Division Two North.

In the first move of the game, Dragons turned the ball over cheaply and conceded a soft short corner which City swiftly hammered into the roof of the net.

It was a chastening start and worse was to come when former Dragon Dan Cheeseman converted another quick break with a fine reverse-stick finish.

The first goal back came from a short corner, the City keeper only able to parry Rupert Snelling's fierce first-time strike into the back of the net, followed by Matt Knights slipping the ball past the keeper with an improvised reverse-stick strike from another short corner to make it 2-2.

After a brilliant clearance off the line from Jonty Gosling kept City out, inspiring similar efforts from Mike Farrow and Ed Smith, the winning goal for Dragons finally came when a deflected strike from Knights floated into the far corner.

Elsewhere in Division 2N, North Norfolk firsts found themselves 3-0 down at Peterborugh, before goals from Tom Cox, Ash Green, Ben Miles and Tom Bowden put them 4-3 ahead.

A penalty save by keeper Dale Bartrum looked to have earned the Cromer side a valuable away win only for Peterborough to grab a last-minute goal from a short corner.

City's third XI enjoyed better success though, winning 3-2 away against Dragons' second XI in Division 3NE at the UEA.

Chris Perry buried a reverse-stick shot past the keeper at his near post to give City the lead and a second was added when Perry's drag flick from a short corner flew past the keeper.

Dragons pulled one back with a penalty flick from Will Kirby after the break, after Matthews blocked a goal-bound effort, before the hosts equalised through Jason Wolfe after some sloppy defending from City.

The momentum seemed to have shifted, but the visitors dug deep and won a number of short corners before Perry completed his hat-trick with a fine drag flick into the roof of the net.

However, there was more drama as Dragons were awarded a second penalty flick when Matthews was again adjudged to have stopped a goal with his body. Tom Watling produced a fantastic save, though, to seal the win.

The win maintains City's 100pc start to the season, in second place in the Division 3NE table.

Pelicans are fourth in the same division, after a 2-1 home win against Harleston Magpies thirds.

It was 0-0 at half-time but good interplay between Batterham and Brown led to Human smashing a ball in, which Cuthill deflected home through the keeper's legs before Hoare ensured it was over the line.

Widdowson doubled the lead with a superb individual effort and although Harleston hit back, the hosts held out for the 2-1 win.

n Norfolk men's over-50s travelled to Ipswich for the qualifying rounds of the East Tournament and narrowly missed out on qualifying for the semi-finals.

A 1-0 loss to Suffolk, a 2-0 win against Essex and a 0-0 draw with Hertfordshire saw Suffolk and Herts qualify with five points, one more than Norfolk.

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