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Harleston Magpies smiling after claiming 7-4 win on the road

PUBLISHED: 16:42 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:42 18 December 2017

Pete Bale was on target as Harleston Magpies won an 11-goal thriller at Saffron Walden. Picture: Pat Leate

Pete Bale was on target as Harleston Magpies won an 11-goal thriller at Saffron Walden. Picture: Pat Leate

Patricia Leate

Harleston Magpies hit the goal trail on Saturday to move up to third in the East League Premier Division table.

They won an eventful match at Saffron Walden 7-4 to close the gap on leaders St Albans to five points, although the side that beat them in their previous match now have a game in hand.

After two weeks without a game Harleston started brightly before going behind from a counter-attack. They responded well, however, and man-of-the-match Archie Winter scored two high quality goals, the first a rocket on the back-hand and the second a two-touch finish in the circle.

A couple of errors enabled Saffron Walden to reply with two quick goals of their own to regain the lead, only for the action to swiftly swing to the other end.

Stuart Leate converted a deflection in impressive style after a superb delivery crashed in by captain Leigh Sitch and then Pete Bale deflected a hammer blow of a ball in from fellow full-back Andrew Bedwell.

Before the break Jack Hobbs fired in from close range after good work from Sam Patterson to put the visitors 5-3 ahead.

Harleston came out with a much more controlled performance in the second half that saw them score two more goals, the first being arguably their best of the season. It started deep in their own half with Bedwell playing the ball into Hipwell, who became the pivotal figure in a six-man move of minimal touches that resulted in the returning Will Martin finishing from close in.

The hosts reduced the arrears before Magpies sealed the points when they scored from a short corner, with Tim Whiteman latching onto a bullet delivery from Winter.

“We were extremely disappointed to have let in so many soft goals, but overall our attacking intensity and ball retention was massively improved from recent weeks,” said Winter afterwards.

Norwich City’s scheduled Premier B match at home to Havering was postponed due to a frozen pitch, as was the Division Two North match between Norwich Dragons and City of Peterborough III.

Thetford got back to winning ways in Division 4NE when they beat visitors Pelicans III 5-1 (Reece Laffar 2, William Rolfe, Josh Harpur, Darren Matthews).

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