Harleston Magpies march on - and Norwich City almost make it a perfect day
- Credit: Archant
Harleston Magpies came through a seven-goal thriller to keep their East League Premier A title challenge on track - despite not getting the favour they were hoping for from Norwich City.
While the Magpies were edging home 4-3 at Cambridge University, City were taking on leaders Wapping at Taverham - and despite giving them a decent game they were beaten 3-1.
The results left Magpies still just three points adrift of the frontrunners and well placed to secure a place in the new-look National League set-up next season.
The visitors twice went behind in the first half - with the second Cambridge goal being hotly disputed - but got back on level terms through first Jack Hobbs and then Tom Ridley.
Second half goals from Dave Gilbert and James Gray then gave them a 4-2 lead before the students pulled one back but a well drilled outfit managed to see the game out.
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Norwich City came close to taking a point off Wapping despite going a goal down within three minutes. Two minutes into the second period the hosts drew level thanks to Josh Bailey who regained possession after losing it before unleashing a reverse stick shot past the keeper. As time ticked by a draw looked a possibility but with eight minutes left a ball towards goal was inadvertently deflected into his own net by player-of-the-match Harry Brown. City pushed forward in search of an equaliser but in the dying moments were hit by a swift Wapping counter-attack.
Dereham went down 2-1 at Wapping II in Premier B while there were also defeats for the bottom two in Division 1. Norwich City lost 5-1 at Wisbech (Stuart Wardle) while Magpies II were beaten 2-1 at home by Cambridge City III.
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In Division 2NE Norwich Dragons made it back-to-back wins by seeing off Bury St Edmunds 1-0 (Al Browne) while Pelicans beat City of Peterborough III 2-1. Dereham II drew 2-2 with Long Sutton and struggling Norwich City III were thrashed 12-1 at Cambridge Nomads (Lloyd Sayer).
Dereham came through a tough challenge at Ipswich, winning 2-1 at Ipswich II to maintain their 100 per cent record in Division 1N.
Hayley Toleman opened the scoring after her initial effort had been blocked, only for a young home side to equalise. But Dereham had the final say before the break when Lucy Soames fired home her first open play goal for the team.
Dereham bowed out of the National Cup the following day when they made the long journey to face Lindum with just 11 players and lost 3-1 (Tammy Dye).
It was a day to forget for Norwich Dragons who were on the wrong end of a 7-0 drubbing at third placed Bedford II.
Norwich City stayed third from bottom in the Premier Division following a 3-1 defeat at Canterbury II (Olivia Williams) while Magpies II were held to a 2-2 draw by fellow strugglers St Albans II.
Division 2NE leaders North Norfolk won 4-0 at Christchurch to retain a five point advantage over Dragons II who beat their thirds by the same scoreline. A Kate McKenna goal set the seconds on their way, with Hannah Hardy and Jess Bennett (2) wrapping it up after the break.
Watton remain just two points behind Dragons with two games in hand after winning 6-0 at Felixstowe.
Pelicans went down 2-1 at Long Sutton in Division 2NW, with Mia Moore scoring an excellent equaliser for the visitors.
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Premier Division leaders Broadland were made to work hard for their 18th straight win, a 2-0 success at in-form Harleston Magpies IV.
After a goalless first half Broadland stepped up their game and took the lead after good work by Helen Kelly, who with Abi Dennison set up Kelly Allen for the opener.
Magpies pressed for an equaliser but could not get past the magnificent Broadland rearguard and star player, goalkeeper Sarah Craig.
A quickly taken self-pass and cross from Dennison then split the Harleston defence, with Allen sweeping the ball home as the visitors passed probably their toughest test of the season.
Closest challengers Norwich City III beat UEA II 3-2 (Niamh Campbell, Ellie Hobden, Matilda Butterworth) but remain 15 points adrift and Broadland will effectively seal the title if they beat Norwich City IV in their next game on March 2.
Loddon stay fourth after a 10-0 cruise at Dereham III while the match between the fourth teams of Dragons and City ended with City winning 4-1. Frances Cooke, Abigail Flatt, Florence Duffield and Millie Clarke were on target while Jemima Williams scored Dragons' consolation.
In other top flight games Lowestoft Railway won 2-1 at Evergreens and Pelicans II 3-0 at Broadland with goals from Tracey Brown, Katie Ward and star player Amy Thompson.
Diss moved three points clear at the top of Division One as they won 4-0 at Lowestoft Railway while closest rivals Magpies V and Dragons V (Anita Mancini, Gill Walker) drew 2-2.
Harleston Magpies Ladies were beaten 3-0 at Cambridge City in the first East Conference match since the mid-season break.
Megan Brown made two excellent saves in the opening minutes to keep the scores level but midway
through the first half Cambridge capitalised on their possession with two quick goals.
They converted a penalty corner for their first and added second from a counter-attack which left Magpies outnumbered.
With a formation tweak Magpies started passing the ball around much more confidently after the break and Lottie Summers was unlucky after creating an excellent opportunity.
Ten minutes in, and against the run of play, Cambridge converted their second corner to extend their lead and an experienced side led by Olympian Helen Richardson-Walsh then saw out the game.
Squad: L Barber, M Brown, K Sitch, L Greenacre, D Francis, F Burrell, L Taylor, C Harrison, L Clymer, K Ridley, E Lee-Smith, L Whiting, R Winter, L Summers, G Cantrell.