Men’s East League: Late equaliser takes shine off fine Dereham comeback

Richard Larkin on the ball for Harleston Magpies against Chelmsford. Picture: Pat Leate

Richard Larkin on the ball for Harleston Magpies against Chelmsford. Picture: Pat Leate - Credit: Archant

Dereham overcame a two goal deficit to claim a 3-3 draw against visitors City of Peterborough in the Premier A Division.

The Reds were outplayed in the first half, with the Cambridgeshire side carving out a deserved 2-0 lead.

The advantage might have been even greater had it not been for a goal-line clearance from Matt Stainthorpe as well as some fine goalkeeping from Tom Franks, who produced arguably his best display since joining the club from Norwich City in the summer.

The home team came out with all guns blazing in the second half, and Mike Timm pulled a goal back with a glorious half volley.

The reinvigorated Reds levelled when in-form teenager James Lavers guided home before Lavers had a second strike ruled out when the umpire judged that the ball had travelled out of play moments before crossing the goal-line.

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Dereham did not let that disappointment affect them and moved into a 3-2 lead when Lavers slammed home a fine backhand strike after terrific work down the right from Reece Laffer. However, Peterborough ensured that they took home a share of the spoils with a well-executed penalty corner five minutes from time.

'I'm really proud of the performance,' said skiper Andy Lawrence. 'It is the second time this season that we have battled back from two goals down, which says a lot about our fighting spirit.'

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Harleston Magpies went marching on at the top following an excellent 4-1 win over fellow high-flyers Chelmsford.

The home team started at a high tempo and went ahead from a short corner as Chris Barber finished off a fine move with a superbly executed full stretch deflection.

The home side continued to push forward and Ben Wright doubled the lead after receiving a firmly hit ball and cleverly deflecting it behind his back past the stunned keeper.

Magpies made it 3-0 after the break with their goal of the season so far. Barber moved from his own quarter of the pitch in a mazy run, beating and turning many players all the way to the opposition's circle, where he unleashed a powerful reverse stick strike which Baker finished from close in.

Chelmsford then pulled one back and started to pile on the pressure but Magpies defended stoutly and sealed the game when Ben Wright won a short corner which he powered home emphatically himself.

In Premier B Norwich City made the long journey to face Waltham Forest and returned home with a point from a 2-2 draw.

City started strongly and went ahead through a short corner just over 10 minutes into the game, Ian Cottam converting the rebound from the initial shot.

The hosts levelled before the break but City managed to edge ahead in the second half, Gabriel Marchant pouncing on a low cross from the right and leaving the Waltham Forest keeper no chance as he slotted the ball low into the home side's goal.

However it wasn't long before the home team equalised again when they took advantage of hesitancy in the Norwich defence as an umpiring decision caused confusion.

In the same section Harleston Magpies II got their first point of the season on board when they drew 2-2 at Cambridge University II.

Pelicans had a disappointing day in Division 1, losing 5-1 at Chelmsford II, while in Division 2N Norwich Dragons and Norwich City II were both involved in high-scoring draws.

Dragons were held 3-3 by visitors Ely while City shared eight goals with Dereham II, with Adie Land scoring twice and Tom Hindle and Jake Vincent also on target.

Cromer-based North Norfolk were beaten 3-2 at home by Sarffon Walden II.

Norwich Dragons II were beaten 6-1 at the UEA in Division 3NE, with Jason Wolfe netting a consolation goal in the second half.

Pelicans II got some reward from their visit to Ipswich and East Suffolk, drawing 4-4.

In Division 4NE Norwich Dragons III played Norwich City IV in a top-of-the-table clash and drew 2-2. Adrian Kemp and Will Ives scored as Dragons led 2-1 at the break but City hit back for a point, with Rees Leonard and Joe Konieczny getting their goals.

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