Magpies’ win leaves neighbours on brink

EAST WOMEN'S CONFERENCE: Harleston Magpies claimed the local derby honours at the weekend, winning 4-1 at Dereham to leave their neighbours on the brink of a return to the East League.

While Magpies are just two points off second spot after a seventh straight victory, Dereham remain rooted to the foot of the East Conference table with just one win to their name all season. Their only hope now is a relegation play-off, but even to achieve that they would need to win both their remaining games, while hoping Cambridge City took no more than one point from theirs.

Magpies scored after just four minutes when Bryony Lund was quick to follow in on goal after the initial short corner strike was saved.

Magpies were kept at bay for the majority of the second half and Dereham never allowed them much time on the ball. However, Emily Wilford broke through the Dereham defence three minutes from half-time and put away a clinical shot from the top of the circle to put Magpies 2-0 up.

The second half continued to be scrappy for Magpies and they were prevented from ever settling into a rhythm. While Magpies enjoyed the bulk of possession, Dereham looked dangerous on the counter-attack and Magpies were forced to pull off some key tackles to deny opportunities in on goal throughout the half.

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Magpies' most promising attacks came from Artemis Clark down the right, with good build-up play from Lucy Miller and Lund. Verity Blyth and Sarah Brook also worked well to win Magpies some short corners, from which they were looking increasingly like scoring.

After 52 minutes, Lund scored her second of the game from a penalty stroke after a short corner strike hit a Dereham foot on the line.

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Dereham continued to show determination and fight for the remainder of the game and Charlotte Lee-Smith in the Magpies goal made a couple of excellent saves.

Dereham were rewarded with a goal after 59 minutes when Hannah Palmer scored a superb deflection. However, the game was put beyond the hosts when Frances Sumner converted a penalty corner to seal the win.

While this may not have been Magpies' best performance, they can be pleased with their continued run of wins ahead of Sunday's home match with leaders Sevenoaks.

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