Men’s East League: Goals galore as Norwich City maintain upward trend

Ben Wright on the ball for Harleston Magpies. Picture: Pat Leate

Ben Wright on the ball for Harleston Magpies. Picture: Pat Leate - Credit: Archant

Norwich City went on a goal spree in the Premier B Division, hammering Long Sutton 9-3 to make it two big wins on the trot.

The first half was a keenly contested affair with City only leading 3-2 at the end of it following goals from Nick Jones, Chris Wardale and Richard Green.

The second half was a completely different story, with the home side scoring six times before Long Sutton grabbed a late consolation. Green set the ball rolling and Wardale also grabbed his second, while Dave Skinner weighed in with a brace and Ian Cottam and Gabriel Marchant were also on target.

Harleston Magpies beat Cambridge University 2-0 in a highly anticipated top-of-the-table clash to strengthen their position at the top of Premier A.

Matt Collinge produced a stunning save from a powerful drag flick before Magpies took the lead after winning a corner which was clinically dispatched by a deft Chris Barber deflection.

Harleston were now in the ascendency and soon doubled their lead when a training ground long corner routine found Leigh Sitch in a pocket of space. The full back connected with Will Martin in the circle where the goal machine spun before unleashing an unstoppable pile-driver into the bottom corner.

Cambridge started the second half the stronger and Harleston again had man-of-the-match Collinge to thank as he produced another save from a short corner. They were also grateful to Andrew Bedwell and Simon Hipwell for two goal-line clearances as the students failed to make a breakthrough.

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Dereham suffered their first home defeat of the season, losing out by the odd goal in nine against visitors St Albans.

The Reds trailed 2-1 at half-time before the Saints produced a sparkling spell of hockey to net three times in quick succession. However, Dereham once again produced the never-say-die spirit that has been a signature of the team this season, taking the score to 5-4 before running out of time.

Dereham opened the scoring when Laurie Hill jinked his way into the circle before firing home a reverse stick strike from a tight angle. However Dereham goalkeeper Tom Franks was forced to pick the ball out of his goal twice before the break, with the visitors netting from a penalty corner and a fierce strike from the top of the circle.

St Albans grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck at the start of the second half but man-of-the-match CJ Edwards pulled Dereham back into the game with a double strike. The second goal was arguably Dereham's best of the season so far, with a fine passing followed by a smart exchange of passes between Edwards and Reece Laffer which allowed the former to roll the ball into an unguarded net.

The St Albans defence then held firm until the final minute when Mike Timm slammed a penalty corner drag-flick into the roof of the net.

'I'm disappointed that we didn't get anything out of the game, but we left ourselves with too much to do', said Dereham captain Andy Lawrence. 'As usual, I cannot fault the effort, but we switched off at the start of the second half and you simply cannot do that in this league.'

Harleston Magpies II's unhappy season continued when they were beaten 6-0 at home by leaders Ipswich.

It was also a day to forget for Pelicans in Division 1N as they were beaten 5-1 at Bourne Deeping.

In Divison 2NE Norwich Dragons breathed new life into their campaign with a spirited 1-1 draw at league leaders Cambridge City III. The side was strengthened by the return of Dom Samways and Nick Deayton and gave a good account of themselves before going behind on the half hour mark.

Dragons reacted well to the setback and started the second half strongly. They got the reward they deserved when a surging run from Matt Knights ended with Alex Browne tucking home his first goal of the season at the far post.

Norwich City II were unfortunate to lose 5-3 at March in the same section. Richard Silvester opened the scoring but City found themselves 3-1 down at the break and conceded a further goal before Silvester and Tom Hindle reduced the gap to just one goal but it was March who had the final say.

Norwich City III beat Ipswich and East Suffolk II 5-3 in Division 3NE with Dan Cheeseman scoring a hat-trick and Guy Marchant weighing in with the other two. City are fourth in the table, six points behind leaders Bury St Edmunds.

Norwich Dragons II were hammered 7-1 at home by Harleston Magpies III, with Cley Hamilton netting a second half consolation, but their fourth team are going great guns in Division 4NE. They are second after coming from behind to beat UEA II 2-1 with goals from Adie Kemp and Graeme Smith. Norwich City IV are third after drawing 1-1 with Bury II (Rees Leonard).

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