East Women’s League: Tough opening day defeat for Harleston

Harleston Magpies II slipped to a 4-1 defeat at Bedford in their first match in the East Premier League.

Magpies started brightly and within the first few minutes had created two great chances from turn over with Louise Jukes and Hayley Toleman both unlucky not to give Magpies an early lead. Bedford managed to take the lead midway through the half and at this point were beginning to dominate possession.

Magpies equalised soon after the interval with Toleman pressurising the home defence into a mistake before calmly lifting the ball into the net over the advancing keeper. However, that was as good as it got for Magpies as Bedford went through the gears to register a 4-1 win.

In Division 1N Dereham started their campaign with a 3-0 defeat at Wisbech. Kate Lavers, making her league debut, was the one bright spot on a difficult afternoon.

It was just one of those days for Norwich City as they slumped to a 4-1 loss at home to St Ives. City went in at the break 2-0 down and they put the match beyond the hosts at the start of the second half with another goal. Rachel Elizabeth pulled one back after good work by Frankie Birkenhead and Angela Hindle but St Ives completed the scoring late on.

Norwich Dragons enjoyed an excellent opening day as they ran out 7-2 winners over Pelicans. King got Dragons off the mark with a penalty flick before Laura Shreeve made it 2-0 with a fine finish. Shreeve was on hand again to make it 3-0 and King and Hannah Ellis made it 5-0 at half-time.

Shreeve claimed her hat-trick in the second half and Gail Thomas made it 7-0. Pelicans pulled two goals back late on but the match had already been won.

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In Division 2NE Broadland were unfortunate to slip to a 4-3 loss at home to Ely. Broadland took the lead when Helen Brockington converted and then doubled their advantage a minute later with their next attack thanks to Holley Becker. Joanna Reynor hit back for Ely with a hat-trick but Broadland pulled level through an own goal. However, with minutes left on the clock Nerissa Gipp's deflected strike gave the points to the visitors.

North Walsham and Norwich Dragons II fought out a 1-1 draw. Natasha Blyth opened the scoring for Dragons in the second half but they were pegged back soon after as Walsham equalised, meaning both sides had to be content with a point.

Norwich City II earned a 1-1 draw at home to Cambridge University II as Lauren Lawrie's goal was cancelled out by the students just before the break.

Sprowston gained a point in their opening fixture as goals from Lotte Stalker and Sarah Miller earned a 2-2 draw at home to Great Yarmouth.

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