Morgan’s hat-trick helps City to secure promotion
MEN'S EAST LEAGUE: Norwich City left the Premier B division behind them for the first time in their recent history as Peter Morgan's hat-trick ensured they won promotion to the top flight.
Saturday's 4-0 victory at Harpenden was enough for City, even though third-placed Cambridge University II, who have a game in hand, can still catch them.
With their first team already in Premier A the students cannot be promoted, although City can guarantee second spot anyway by winning one of their two remaining fixtures, starting with Harleston Magpies II at Taverham High School on Saturday morning.
City started strongly at the weekend and the goal that had been threatening finally arrived when Hammond and Vincent combined to free Elliott, who in turn fed Dave Skinner. He ran into the area, dribbled around the keeper and slotted in from an acute angle.
With 25 minutes gone Norwich doubled their lead when Sibson beat the home defence with an intelligent run and fed Morgan, who passed the ball into the far corner.
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It did not take long for City to increase their lead in the second half. A surging run from Circuit resulted in a short corner which was played short to Sibson, who in turn found Morgan to convert. The game was over as a contest when Morgan completed his hat-trick with 12 minutes left. Sibson engineered a short corner, Elliott flicked the ball goal bound and Morgan poked home.
Leaders Dereham ensured they would be going up as champions when they won 6-3 at Cambridge Nomads. The title was effectively theirs within the first 10 minutes as they took a 3-0 lead.
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Chris Vernon opened the scoring, pouncing on Mark Timm's saved shot at the back post. Richard Stainthorpe doubled the advantage, leaving three Nomads' defenders standing before beating the hapless keeper.
Mark Hunter made it 3-0 with a devastating drag flick from a short corner high into the top corner.
Nomads pulled one goal back but Dereham soon restored their three goal lead when Andy Lawrence buried a short corner.
Cambridge started the second half strongly and soon pulled back a goal through a short corner, only for man of the match Stainthorpe to double his tally with another solo effort.
Nomads then pulled another back but Dereham had the final say when Chris Vernon doubled his tally.
Norwich City II maintained their promotion challenge in Division 2NE with a 2-0 home victory over Market Deeping. A flash of inspiration was needed for City needed to turn their possession into goals and it came in the form of Stuart Wardle, who opened the scoring late in the first half. He received the ball on the halfway line and carried it sublimely through before beating the onrushing keeper.
City kept pressing after the break and got their second after a short corner. Clive Crichton got a little bit too much on the push out and with the defence deceived, Tom Hindle smashed the ball into the goal with aplomb.
In the same section, Norwich Dragons beat Ipswich & East Suffolk 4-2. The Suffolk side opening the scoring before Wolfe levelled, deftly deflecting Simmonds' pass into the net. Ipswich made it 2-1 before Wagstaff scored from a penalty corner to make it 2-2 at the break.
Dragons upped their work rate in the second half and Snelling scored with a reverse stick shot to give them the lead for the first time.
Dragons sealed the win with Snelling converting a penalty corner with two minutes to go as the hosts sealed their place in Division 2N for next season.
Norwich City III won 8-2 at North Walsham II in Division 4NE (Rich Silvester 3, Guy Marchant 2, John Grange, Seth Barton, James Halls) while City IV still have a chance of securing the Division 5NE title despite losing 4-3 at home to Bury St Edmunds III (Adie Land, Al Paterson, Sam Matthews). Rivals Sudbury III also lost so City remain on top of the table on goal difference.