Harleston Magpies Ladies suffer narrow defeat on road after impressive display

Hockey action

Hockey action - Credit: Archant

Harleston Magpies Ladies performed well against a strong, well-drilled Wimbledon side, but returned home empty-handed after suffering a 2-1 defeat.

Facing Olympic gold medallist Crista Cullen at the top of the circle, Magpies stood strong in the first half, only to go behind with five minutes remaining following a slick home move.

Seconds before the break Emma Lee-Smith had a great run through the Wimbledon defence and was about to pull the trigger when the umpire blew for an earlier infringement and awarded Magpies a corner which came to nothing.

Going into the second half Magpies knew they were playing good hockey and that there was everything to play for.

The second half was much more end-to-end, with hard work from the Magpies' midfield led by Lauren Barber and Debbie Francis minimising any Wimbledon attacks. However, Wimbledon were able to add to their score from a well-worked short corner routine.

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Magpies did not let their heads drop and were further buoyed by some excellent saves by goalkeeper Charlotte Peet. They began to put Wimbledon under increasing pressure with some quick attacks of their own, winning a number of corners.

Magpies managed to pull a goal back with about five minutes left on the clock with an excellent drag flick by Lauren Rowe, converted by Rose Winter on the left post.

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The visitors dominated possession for the remainder of the game, with Lucy Whiting attacking at speed to win Magpies two more corners in the closing stages. With the final whistle blown during the last corner of the game Magpies pushed their team forward but Abby Gooderham's initial drag was well saved by the Wimbledon goalkeeper and a powerful follow-up strike by Katrina Sitch eluded the post player.

Next weekend Magpies host Cambridge City, a team they lost to away from home and which includes another Great Britain gold medalist in Helen Richardson-Walsh.

Squad: C Peet, L Belsey, L Barber, K Sitch, L Greenacre, L Summers, D Francis, R Winter, A Nunn, L Whiting, E Lee-Smith, L Rowe, L Clymer, M Lawrence, A Gooderham.

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