Men’s East League: Late drama earns point for Harleston Magpies at Peterborough
- Credit: Archant
A last-gasp strike from Chris Barber earned Harleston Magpies a hard-earned 2-2 draw at City of Peterborough which preserved their unbeaten record in the Premier A Division of the East League and kept them flying high at the top.
Peterborough took an early lead and might have added to their tally when their striker went one on one with Matt Collinge but he couldn't take the chance.
Early in the second half Mark Wheelhouse played the ball into the opposing D, Barber controlled with great finesse and reversed the ball between the keeper's legs to draw Magpies level.
The hosts regained the lead after a period of pressure but Harleston weren't finished and with time running out Mark Wheelhouse cracked a shot towards the far post and the only thing stopping an equaliser was the foot of a defender. With the final whistle about to sound the penalty corner was saved but Magpies earned another corner which was flicked in the direction of Barber who deflected the ball home.
Dereham produced arguably their best performance of the season by claiming a 2-2 draw at in-form Cambridge University. The Reds came from behind twice with teenage striker James Lavers and fit again defender Mark Hunter getting their names on the scoresheet.
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Dereham made a bright start and would have been ahead were it not for some outstanding saves from England under-21 international Sam Brooks who denied CJ Edwards and Mike Timm before the Blues showed their class by rounding off a slick passing move with a close-range deflection to open the scoring in the 12th minute.
Lavers dragged Dereham level midway through the period with a classic poacher's finish, pouncing on a saved penalty corner effort to volley home his fifth goal in three games.
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Cambridge found their form in the final stages of the first half, with Matt Turner, Andy Lawrence, Matt Stainthorpe and Mark Hunter producing some fine defending before the home side edged ahead.
The Reds were soon causing problems for the students after the break and equalised when Will Edwards showed breathtaking skill to win a penalty corner that was dispatched by Hunter.
Dereham came within a whisker of snatching all three points when Reece Laffar picked up a pass from Rich Stainthorpe but sent his shot just wide.
'I'm chuffed to bits with both the performance and the result against what is without doubt a very good Cambridge University team,' said Dereham captain Andy Lawrence. 'We proved today that we are capable of giving the best teams in the league a run for their money.'
Norwich City are still looking for their first home win of the season after losing out 3-2 to Saffron Walden in Premier B. City started strongly yet again and Dave Skinner finished neatly from close range inside the first 15 minutes. Unfortunately it wasn't long before the quality of the Norwich play dropped and the visitors were back on level terms within 10 minutes.
After the break Walden continued to create chances and scored a second from a short corner. City also managed to score a second after a bursting run from Nick Jones led to the ball bouncing around the circle, allowing Chris Wardale to pounce and bury the ball in the bottom corner with a first-ime shot. As City pressed forward for a third they left space at the back and it was the visitors who scored the winner.
Norwich Dragons' stuttering start in Division 2NE continued with a 3-1 defeat at Saffron Walden II. The visitors began brightly, taking the lead via a well taken goal from Matt Knights. The game changed after an incident at the end of the first half, Mike Farrow being forced to limp off after taking a shot to the foot, and the home side scored three times after the break. Norwich City II drew 1-1 at Ely (Matthew Brine).
Norwich Dragons II lost 3-1 at home to Division 3NE leaders Bury St Edmunds II with Ben Watson getting a late consolation. Dragons III won 1-0 at North Norfolk II in Division 4NE (Adie Kemp) while Dragons IV consolidated top spot in 5NE with a 3-0 win over Bury III (Robbie Whiting, Garnet Jones 2).