Harleston Magpies 2, Old Loughtonians 0

Harleston Magpies maintained a three-point lead at the top of the East Conference – with just two matches left to play – after a hard-fought victory over Old Loughtonians at a miserable Weybread.

Magpies started off poorly and conceded a short corner in the first few minutes. The visitors put it above the back board and the hosts began to get their usual rhythm back.

Green cards were handed out to Magpies players but they still managed to keep pushing on and creating opportunities.

Some good defensive play by Lucy Miller, Louisa Greenacre and Katrina Warnes kept the Old Loughts' forwards at bay and it wasn't long before the hosts took the lead.

A switch across midfield saw Debbie Francis find Angie Wheelhouse who cleverly slotted the ball past the keeper. This gave Magpies the confidence to control the game and meant even with another card they were able to keep out the Old Lougts' attacks due to some brilliant work from Hayley Toleman and Hannah Palmer.

Further balls were put into the D and the Old Lougts' keeper made some good saves to keep Magpies out. Lizzie Clymer made a great tackle in the D and expertly lifted the ball past the keeper, but her effort was unluckily disallowed and it was 1-0 at the break.

Magpies started the second half wanting to put the game out of sight. Elizabeth Jones attacked down the right and picked out Palmer, who used some slick skills to cross the ball to the far post where Toleman was waiting to slot it in.

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Magpies then had two yellow cards handed out and conceded two short corners but some good stops by Megan Adams kept the visitors out.

With the help of some superb work by the midfield of Charlotte Harrison, Amy Campbell, Debbie Francis, Lauren Barber, Elizabeth and Sarah Brook Magpies were delighted to take the three points.

After this important win Magpies will be hoping to take another step towards Conference title glory when they face Horsham away on Sunday.

• Norwich City had a fantastic day at the Junior Norfolk County Championships on Sunday with a hat-trick of wins. On a cold blustery day, City not only won both the Girls U12 and U10 Championships but also the Boys U12 tournament. Those three teams played 14 games without conceding a single goal. Harleston Magpies won the remaining title at Boys U10s level, with Pelicans runners-up in that tournament.

This was a great performance from Norwich City, where the investment in a new pitch and the well-organised coaching structure is taking the club from strength to strength. The winners and runners-up will proudly represent Norfolk at the Regional Championships to be played on the weekend of April 20.

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