Harleston Magpies Ladies win to secure fifth place in East Conference

Norwich Dragons II's goalscorer and player of the match Jonathan Chaney Baxter in action at the week

Norwich Dragons II's goalscorer and player of the match Jonathan Chaney Baxter in action at the weekend. Picture: CLUB - Credit: Archant

Harleston Magpies Ladies rounded off their East Conference campaign with a home win at the weekend to confirm a top-half finish.

They beat visitors Bedford 3-2 to end the season in fifth position with 22 points from their 18 fixtures.

Magpies started in a determined manner with the forward line putting the Bedford defence under a lot of pressure. The breakthrough came after Magpies' captain Lucy Belsey quickly took a free-hit on the right and delivered a pin-point cross which Lucy Whiting deflected in off her reverse stick.

Magpies continued to look confident on the ball, with the back three working the transfer around the pitch to change the point of attack and the midfield passing the ball fluidly. Wide midfielders Annie Nunn and Charlie Harrison worked tirelessly to support the attack and create chances.

After a good run and shot from Lizzie Clymer was saved the ball fell to Laura Tibbenham, who cooly doubled her side's tally on her National League debut.

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Bedford grew with confidence as the half went on and had their own spell of dominance but the hosts stood strong and went in at the break two goals to the good.

Bedford came out of the blocks strong after the interval and got on the scoresheet 13 minutes into the second half with a well-struck short corner.

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With now only a one goal lead Magpies kept working hard to keep possession and play their own game. They nearly found the net when Lauren Rowe dived to deflect the ball, only for it to trickle along the goal line.

Magpies finally regained their two-goal advantage with eight minutes remaining after another run from Clymer who this time squared to Emma Lee-Smith in space to fire home.

This advantage lasted only two minutes as Bedford scored their second. The ball having looped up and over Charlotte Peet in goal, the visiting forward reacted quickly to deflect home.

With time running out Magpies tried to slow the game, keep possession and limit any final Bedford attacks in the closing stages.

Despite some determined play from the visitors in spells, they were unable to find an equaliser and the game finished 3-2.

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