East Men’s League: Magpies’ win keeps pressure on leaders
Harleston Magpies picked up another vital win to maintain the pressure at the top of the Premier A.
A 3-2 triumph at Peterborough keeps Magpies a point behind St Albans, who didn't play, and two behind leaders Bedford, who were 2-1 home winners over Wapping.
Magpies started poorly but sparked into life after going behind, and were level when Andrew Bedwell's shot after a short corner was dragged wide but touched in by a defender.
With Harleston in the ascendancy they took the lead through another short corner, this time Andy Hipwell on the scoresheet, and made it 3-1 when Mark Wheelhouse's pass across goal was put in by another defender.
The hosts pulled one back from a penalty strike, for which Wheelhouse was yellow-carded, but Magpies held on.
Dereham are fifth having drawn 1-1 at fourth-placed Chelmsford, keeping alive their dream of achieving an unprecedented top four finish. They trail the team from Essex on goal difference.
Chelmsford dominated the first half and could have been 3-0 up before Trinidad & Tobago star Dillet Gilkes fired them ahead from a penalty corner rebound in the 20th minute.
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That proved a double whammy for Dereham, who also lost key attacker Ric Timm through an injury sustained when bravely attempting to intercept the shot.
This forced a reshuffle and only a brilliant goal-line clearance from Matt Stainthorpe stopped Chelmsford going further ahead. Minutes later Dereham equalised when a 60m pass from CJ Edwards picked out striker Rich Stainthorpe who drilled a blistering shot into the bottom right corner just before the interval.
In Premier B, Norwich City were 4-3 winners at Wisbech, but remain three points behind Cambridge University II, who beat leaders Ramgarhia 5-3.
City were 2-0 and then 3-1 down but two goals apiece from Jez Elliott and Dave Skinner saw them emerge with a hard-fought victory.
Harleston II improved their goal difference with a 5-1 home win over struggling Long Sutton.
Magpies went ahead through Martin Fields, who poked in a rebound from a Jimmy Wheeler shot. Wheeler then helped himself to the first of three. Dave Francis was on hand to chip in a third before Wheeler took the tally to four with an outstanding finish across the bewildered Long Sutton keeper.
Long Sutton pulled one back but Wheeler continued his rich vein of scoring with his third and Magpies' fifth to seal a good win. The win leaves Magpies fourth ahead of their weekend meeting with third-placed Norwich City..
Magpies III put a little more daylight between themselves and bottom club UEA – who lost 4-3 at Spalding – in Division 2N after a 2-2 draw at home to Norwich Dragons.
Dragons had lost just once in their previous five games, but went two goals behind as Magpies started well. The visitors stepped up their game after the interval and pulled one back when Matt Knights' well-struck shot was deflected in by a defender before Alex Browne grabbed the equaliser.
Norwich City II maintained their lead in Division 3NE with an 8-1 win at Ipswich Cranes (Richard Silvester 3, James Halls, Will Marshall, Felix Broadway, Adie Land, Rob Meyer) while mid-table Gorleston went down 5-2 at Ipswich II.
Other Norfolk clubs were out of luck. Dereham II went down 4-2 at home to Ipswich-East Suffolk. Thetford lost 3-2 at Felixstowe II and Dereham IV drew 0-0 at Sudbury III.
Norwich Dragons III closed in on promotion from 5NE with a 3-0 win at Felixstowe III with goals from Ben Dures, Adrian Kemp and Matt Jenkins.
In Division 6NE, Norwich Exiles won 8-1 at North Walsham III.