East Men’s League: Norwich City leave it late but win in the end
- Credit: Archant
Patched up Norwich City ended their season with a sensational comeback to win 3-2 at Letchworth.
They travelled with only 11 players and lost defender Richard Green to a gashed head after 15 minutes – forcing manager Ali Wardale into action for the remainder of the half.
It was no surprise when Letchworth went 2-0 up before the break – when a patched up Green re-appeared to stabilise the defence.
The second half was a different story, but it was not until 10 minutes from time that Jez Elliot's intended cross was deflected in by a defender to start the fightback.
With time running out Bob Hammond equalised and in the dying moments George Anthony snatched a dramatic winner.
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Pelicans wound up their season with a home double header, drawing 3-3 with runaway Division 2N champions Ipswich-East Suffolk on Saturday before beating Bury St Edmunds 4-1 on Sunday.
The results helped them to finish sixth in the table, third highest scorers – and only one win short of fourth place.
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A very young side for the meeting with the champions demonstrated the club's flourishing youth policy as they fought back from 2-0 and 3-1 behind.
Despite Will Templeman being a revelation at right-back and keeper Jonny Hie making several good saves, the visitors found gaps to go two ahead. But Pelicans remained positive and Jack Major kept it interesting by scoring from one of several good opportunities.
IES led 3-1 at the interval but Pelicans fought back with composed, controlled hockey in the second half to snatch a point through a Major penalty-corner and an own goal.
On Sunday Pelicans gained revenge for their loss at Bury earlier in the season and should have won more convincingly than 4-1.
Sean Kerry and Chris Page returned to give the side more experience, but again it was the younger players who caught the eye, with Matt Nolan outstanding in midfield.
Barny Esse finished clinically for his two close range goals and Nick Henry converted a penalty-flick before Major cleverly lobbed the keeper from his favourite reverse side to complete the win.
Norwich Dragons ended their season with a 4-3 defeat at Cambridge City 3rds. Having conceded an early goal Dragons hit back, making good use of the aerial ball from Phil York-Smith and Ali Smyth. But it was against the run of play when Rupert Snelling smashed in the equaliser.
Dragons took the lead in the second half through Alex Brown, but they were unable to take a series of good chances to go further ahead before Cambridge equalised.
Dragons took the lead again when Browne rounded the keeper and rifled a shot into the roof of the net. But Cambridge turned the game round when, having levelled again, they snatched a winner from the final penalty corner – and play – of the game.
Division 3NE champions Norwich City 2nds finished with a very mixed weekend double. Saturday was a miss-match against Gorleston which they won 11-0 after leading by eight at the interval.
But it was a different tale on Sunday when they blooded some of their younger players at Ipswich and lost 4-2. All the goals came in the second half with Ipswich taking a 4-0 lead before City replied twice in the last four minutes through Stuart Wardle and Ollie Kennard.
Despite the result there was a solid debut from Ethan Marchant and eye-catching performances from Ed Gilford, Ollie Kennard, Felix Broadway and Freddy Hooper.
In Division 5NE Norwich Dragons 3rds maintained their record of never conceding more than one goal in a league game all season as they won 3-1 at Harleston 7ths to finish the season unbeaten.
Will Kirby, on his return to the team, scored two open play goals with a third being added when Adrian Kemp fired a shot from a short corner.
In Division 6NE Norwich Dragons 6ths were made to sweat for the win they needed to be sure of promotion, eventually beating Norfolk Nomads 5-4. They led 4-2 at the interval with goals from Rob Jenkins, Mike Banham and Ollie King (two) – taking his tally for season to 13. Dan Cheesman added a fifth before Nomads staged a comeback.