East Women’s League: Watton force leaders to fight for win
Harleston Magpies 2nds maintained their lead at the top of East League Division One North with a 4-1 win at Watton.
But it wasn't always as comfortable as it looked as they came under strong pressure in the opening 10 minutes with Watton belying their league position.
Kira Wooltorton took a stick to the face early on but, with a strong midfield, Magpies soon got into their stride with great work from the midfield and inners – player of the match Lizzie Jones, Holly Baker and Jess Howland.
Anouska Hipperson marked her welcome return from injury by opening the scoring with a superb flick but Watton fought back and equalised shortly before half-time.
A motivational half-time talk from both captain and manager led to Magpies coming out much stronger for the second period, though their cause was not helped by Georgie Minta being carded while sitting on the bench for loudly questioning the umpire.
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A great strike from Kira Wooltorton following a short corner restored the lead, which was further extended by a sharp finish from Georgie Minta. Anouska completed the scoring after fine play from Emily Brown.
Second-placed Ipswich 2nds are also unbeaten after thrashing Pelicans 9-1 but Dereham had a setback when they lost 3-0 at home to St Ives.
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Norwich Dragons are the new leaders of Division 2NE after beating Sprowston 2-0 to take advantage of a 5-1 defeat for previous pacesetters Yarmouth at Norwich City.
Sprowston keeper Sharon Weeks kept Dragons at bay until deep in the first half, when Gail Thomas struck the ball from an acute angle.
The home team kept up a bombardment of shots but were unable to increase their lead before the second half when Hannah Roney set up player of the match Laura Shreeve.
Unbeaten Dragons were awarded two penalty flicks in the second half but Weeks saved both of them.
Norwich City are now the only other unbeaten team in the division after emphatically ending Yarmouth's 100pc record in a fiesty encounter at Taverham.
From the start, City were the better side and were rewarded when the ball deflected off a defender's stick, hit the inside of the goalpost and shot across the face of goal to Ellie Brine.
Brine's second, at the start of the second half, was far more stylish, as she ran the ball from outside the 22 and flicked it past the oncoming keeper.
The game started to become tempestuous after Yarmouth drew a goal back, but Emily Anthony made the game safe with a hat-trick in the space of five minutes.
North Walsham are fourth having also won 5-1, in their case against Norwich Dragons 2nds.
Dragons went into the game knowing they would need to be at their best to have a chance.
Having started brightly, Dragons were disappointed to go behind to a couple of quick goals from North Walsham's speedy attackers. But they continued to press and forced a number of short corners, one of which, despite initially breaking down, was forced back into the D by Ally Windsor Waite to Sarah Radley, who squared the ball for Hannah Hardy to force home.
At the start of the second half Dragons sustained a number of injuries, which resulted in a loss of experience in the centre of the pitch.
There was some valiant defending, most notably through player of the match Maddie Denman and a number of strong saves by Freddie Briscoe, but Walsham continued to press and eventually made their pressure count with a couple of quick goals, followed by a further late strike.
Broadland beat Old Buckenham 3-0 in a battle between two strugglers.
Broadland, prompted by the busy Helen Brockington, pressed the visitors defence from the push back, but it wasn't until the mid-point of the first half that they got the breakthrough when Dani Parke turned in a cross from Kerry Payne.
Within minutes Broadland were further ahead, when star player Holley Becker guided the ball into the net and they grabbed another goal as the visitors' defence wilted.
Loddon remain bottom after a 4-1 defeat at Framlingham.