Magpies on song as Smith grabs double
Indian Gymkhana 3, Harleston Magpies Men 5: Magpies picked up their first Men's Conference East win since the opening day of the season as they beat Indian Gymkhana in west London.
The visitors travelled without injured leading scorer Ben Wright and gave a National League debut to 17-year-old James Baker.
Magpies started strongly and went ahead in the fifth minute when Richard Gill seized on a bouncing ball to smash his shot past the keeper.
The lead lasted just two minutes as the hosts won a penalty corner which was expertly fired home by Jagdeep Gill.
Magpies reasserted their authority and Tristan Baynes restored their lead with a low strike from the top of the circle on 26 minutes.
This was swiftly followed up by a successful penalty corner strike from England junior Elliot Smith, who had taken over flicking duties from Wright, as Magpies went into half-time with a 3-1 lead.
As Gymkhana pressed for a way back into the game at the start of the second half, Magpies took advantage of the holes in their defence to force a second penalty corner, which was again dispatched into the net by Smith.
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Magpies were then guilty of sitting back and inviting pressure from the home side and Tejinder Hanspal reduced the arrears on 51 minutes.
David Ling was sent to the sin bin and Gymkhana made the most of having the extra man as Frank Di Mercurio made it 4-3 from close range after some intricate build-up play.
As play switched from end to end,, Magpies finally made the points safe four minutes from time when Simon Hipwell combined with Baynes to give Sebastian Knights a tap-in at the back post.
• Harleston Magpies 0 Surbiton 4
Magpies produced a promising second half performance against the Women's Conference East leaders at Weybread on Sunday but it was not enough to earn them any points.
The hosts knew a strong start was going to be crucial, to stop the opposition settling and playing their fluent passing game which has allowed them to remain undefeated this season.
Magpies did start well and attacked with conviction, as Frances Burrell, Hannah Palmer and Angie Wheelhouse linked up down the right to force a penalty corner. Magpies could not convert the chance and continued to be frustrated by the organised Surbiton defence.
Surbiton won their only penalty corner of the game after 20 minutes and took the lead with an accurate strike from Chloe Strong.
Two minutes later Abi Robinson was on the end of a fast break from Surbiton and put them 2-0 ahead.
Before Magpies could recover, Sandra Frankland extended Surbiton's lead further and the away team went into the half-time break with a three-goal lead.
Magpies stepped up to the challenge after the break with individual performances improving across the pitch.
Ellie Bale and Cathrine Cranmer, returning to the team for the first time this season, soon settled into the high tempo and combined well on the right. Katrina Warnes and player-of-the-match Sarah Brook worked tirelessly on the left to break down and frustrate the Surbiton attack.
Magpies were not able to convert the opportunities they created, however, and Surbiton scored the only goal of the second half when Strong forced the ball in from a narrow angle.
Magpies will be looking to produce a committed and high tempo performance for the full 70 minutes when they travel to second-placed St Albans next week.