Harleston Mapgies Ladies start important season with an impressive away win
- Credit: Archant
Harleston Magpies Ladies made an excellent start to their East Conference campaign when they recorded an emphatic 3-0 win at Bedford.
The game begun at a frantic pace but with neither team able to retain possession or find a breakthrough.
Magpies' best chance was created when Lauren Rowe's short corner drag was saved spectacularly by the Bedford goalkeeper. As the ball fell and Rose Winter was about the pull the trigger the umpire awarded another corner due to perceived dangerous play.
As the half hour mark approached Magpies finally made their early possession count. A quick passing move down the right found Emma Lee-Smith who burst into the circle and slipped the ball square to Tor Findlay who calmly slotted home under pressure from the goalkeeper.
Two minutes later another fine move down the right found Rose Winter and after an excellent driving run she doubled Magpies' lead with a classy strike into the corner of the goal.
At half-time Magpies knew they needed to continue to play fluid passing hockey in order to push on and extend their lead further. Bedford came out strongly in the second half, attacking with more vigour and purpose, but the visiting defence held firm and didn't concede a single short corner all game.
As the hour mark approached Magpies were able to extend their lead further after Lee-Smith found Rowe in space in the circle. Under pressure from the Bedford goalkeeper she managed to get a reverse stick shot away, beating her at the near post.
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A well drilled performance, with great flair in attack, allowed Magpies to see out the game and take all three points from their opening encounter in a season when they will need to finish in the top six to remain in a reorganised National League.
Next weekend Magpies, sponsored by Musker McIntyre Estate Agents, welcome Wimbledon, anticipating very strong opposition from the side that finished second last season.
Squad: Lauren Barber (capt), Megan Brown (GK), Katrina Sitch, Louisa Greenacre, Debbie Francis, Fran Burrell, Charlie Harrison, Lucy Whiting, Rose Winter, Lara Taylor, Emma Lee-Smith, Lauren Rowe, Lizzie Clymer, Jess Bloom, Tor Findlay.
Norwich Dragons built on the positives from the previous weekend's home defeat against Dereham to beat Wisbech 5-0 in their second East League Division IN match of the season.
Dragons took an early lead with a well-practiced penalty corner drag flick from Tabba Tabrett and just before half-time some nice movement from Carmel Windsor-Waite and Tabrett saw the ball slipped to Liv Thomas who placed her shot perfectly past the keeper.
The Dragons maintained their intensity, winning a flurry of short corners and converting two of them through Tabrett and Lucy Morton. Another goal came from open play as Shelly Seaman drew the keeper and pulled the ball back for Katy Hands to convert.
Dereham made it two wins out of two - and both away from home - when they beat Ipswich ES 4-0, with all the goals coming before the break. Hayley Toleman opened the scoring from a penalty corner after a neat cross by Tammy Dye and further corners resulted in goals from Becca Gibbs (2) and Grace Gowing.
Lowestoft got their first point from a 1-1 home draw with Bedford II.
In the Premier Division newly promoted Norwich City drew 2-2 at West Herts to make it four points from a possible six while Harleston Magpies II drew 0-0 with visitors Cambridge City II.
Norwich twice came from behind to take a point, with Abbie Ingham converting a cross for debutant Sophia Basset before Kristal Bishop got the decisive touch on a Jocasta Staines free-hit with time running out.
Dragons' two teams in Division 2NE both made it six points out of six. The seconds won a derby match at their Norwich City counterparts 1-0, with the winner coming in the second half. A short corner routine broke down after the ball had hit a City foot but the umpire played advantage as the ball had fallen to Gail Thomas and she took her chance well. Donna Vaughan got the player of the match vote for her excellent defending.
Newly promoted Dragons III beat North Norfolk 2-1, with both goals coming from Ally Windsor Waite.
Pelicans beat Cambridge South 3-1 in Division 2NW with 14-year-old player of the match Poppy Beales scoring two of the goals and Mia Moore also on target.
Early season pacesetters Broadland beat Evergreens 5-1 to make it three emphatic wins on the trot in the Empresa League Premier Division.
They got the breakthrough their efforts deserved when Helen Brockington reached the edge of their circle unchallenged and sent a shot across the keeper into the backboards.
Within minutes Broadland had doubled their lead, with Kelly Allen sweeping home from just inside the circle. Evergreens pulled one back with their first attack in the second half but Broadland restored their grip on the game when star player Natasha Blyth set up Dani Parke for their third goal.
Parke scored again and defender Natalie Brooks got her second goal of the season with a ferocious strike minutes from the end.
Loddon are shaping up to be Broadland's biggest challengers after thrashing previously unbeaten UEA II 6-0 to maintain their own 100 per cent start to the campaign.
A goal after 40 seconds from Holly Robinson should have set Norwich City III on the pathway to a comfortable victory but Broadland's second team battled every inch of the way before going down 3-2.
They soon found an equaliser through Nikki Baker and although Robinson scored again after the break it was soon 2-2 thanks to Holley Becker. City continued to press forward however and right at the death Robinson completed her hat-trick from a twice taken over-time penalty corner.
Harleston Magpies IV got their first point on the board when they drew 1-1 with Norwich Dragons IV, for whom Fiona Fletcher was on target, while Norwich City IV are now bottom after losing 3-2 at home to Dereham III (Hannah Sangar, Frances Cooke). The other top flight fixture saw Pelicans II and Lowestoft Railway draw 2-2.
Norwich City's fifth team are the new leaders of Division One after beating a Reepham side who had also won their opening two fixtures 5-0. Charlotte Jeffers led the way with a hat-trick while Lucy McNarry and Maddie Anthony also got in on the act.
Diss are also on nine points after a 3-0 victory over Lowestoft II while Dragons V were the day's biggest scorers, beating Yarmouth II 9-0 (Stephanie Samson, Lizzy McDonnell, Gemma Ballard 2, Jane Wells, Beth Elgood, Mel Widdows 2, Katie Hale).