Men’s East League: Harleston Magpies’ title hopes hit by frustrating home defeat

Goalmouth scramble during Norwich Dragons Men's 1s 3-1 victory over North Norfolk to secure the doub

Goalmouth scramble during Norwich Dragons Men's 1s 3-1 victory over North Norfolk to secure the double, keeper Robbie Bell putting body on the line to keep North Norfolk at bay - Credit: Archant

Harleston Magpies' Premier A title ambitions took another knock as they slipped to a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Bedford.

Magpies played with their usual attacking intent but without any real cohesion whereas Bedford retained the ball better and inflicted a second defeat of the season on their hosts.

Magpies went ahead early on with a well taken penalty corner converted by Ben Wright and could have had a couple more during a good spell before Bedford hit back to level the scores going into the break.

Magpies continued to attack in the second half, leaving themselves exposed to the counter-attack which resulted in a couple of goals for the away side.

Magpies managed to up the tempo, pulling a goal back through Wright to give themselves a chance of snatching a point but, despite the pressure and some chances going begging, the Bedford defence held firm.

Despite the defeat Harleston remain a point clear at the top, with closest rivals Wapping seeing their game postponed.

Two goals from James Lavers and another from Laurie Hill were not enough as Dereham were beaten 5-3 by Cambridge City II.

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With the home side's all-weather pitch not having thawed the game was moved to the reserve Astroturf, despite the objections of skipper Andy Lawrence and coach Dave Walton. Dereham started well but City opened the scoring and quickly added another two goals.

However Dereham kept going and teenager Lavers dispatched a joyful reverse stick shot into the bottom left corner to reduce the arrears.

After the break the visitors despatched a penalty corner before Lavers again gave Dereham hope with a wonderful finish.

Despite Cambridge City scoring a fifth Dereham didn't give up and after James Carnell won a penalty corner Hill expertly slammed the ball home.

Norwich City yet again failed to record back-to-back wins in Premier B.

After overcoming top of the league Ipswich last week they lost 4-2 to local rivals Harleston Magpies II, with the loss seeming to be the final nail in the proverbial coffin of their promotion hopes.

City started well and their press led to their first goal, captain Chris Wardale intercepting a long ball and taking it to the base line before finding man-of-the-match Nick Jones whose shot was half blocked by the closing defender but Wardale slotted home the rebound.

Norwich doubled their lead shortly afterwards when good work from Jones gave him enough space to find Pete Morgan on the run just outside the circle.

He took the ball in his stride and rounded the keeper before rolling it into an empty net.

Harleston pulled one back before half-time - and took over after the break as City did very little to warrant the win. Magpies converted a short corner and two open play opportunities in the second half to clinch the points.

Pelicans continued their solid season in Division 1 when they won 6-4 at third placed Old Southendian.

Norwich Dragons stayed in the promotion hunt in Division 2N when they beat North Norfolk 3-1 at Cromer.

Dragons put in an extremely disciplined performance, with a neat finish from Rupert Snelling giving them the advantage at the break.

The second half started with Dragons showing their strength and Snelling managed to evade four defenders and find Rory Jackson to score a second. Jackson scored another before the hosts got a consolation.

Also in Division 2N Norwich City II lost 5-3 at Sudbury (Ben Plumb, Richard Silvester, Matthew Brine).

Norwich City III beat Harleston Magpies IV 3-0 in Division 3NE (Dan Cheeseman, Ady Marr 2) while Pelicans II had an amazing 13-3 win at Ipswich Cranes.

Norwich Dragons III drew 1-1 with fellow high-flyers Felixstowe II in Division 4NE, with Ali Smyth netting a late equaliser after linking up with John Ives.

Norwich City IV remain second, just two points off the lead, after winning 3-2 at Ipswich and East Suffolk III (Paul Gallop 2, Ali Shearer).

Dragons IV beat Sudbury III 4-0 in 5NE (Robbie Whiting 2, Ricky Powley, Rob Chaney-Baxter).