Nightmare first half costly for Magpies

Harleston Magpies Men 1, Oxted 5: A disastrous first half saw Magpies defeated at home by previously pointless Oxted in the Men's Conference East.

Magpies were without leading scorer Ben Wright through work commitments and they started slowly, allowing the visitors to settle.

Oxted took a third minute lead when the ball was driven into the circle and guided past keeper Mark Lloyd before being touched in.

The visitors' second goal arrived just two minutes later, with Magpies aggrieved that a clearly lifted ball entered the hosts' circle before being struck into the goal. The umpire waved away the Magpies protests and the goal stood.

Captain Mark Wheelhouse's last ditch tackle on the baseline was adjudged a foul and a penalty was awarded to Oxted. The decision was again disputed, but Wheelhouse was dispatched to the sin bin with a yellow card and Oxted scored from the penalty to make it 3-0.

Oxted were now in the ascendancy and they added a fourth from a swift counter-attack, and then notched a fifth before the break.

Magpies responded well in the second half, maintaining better possession and pressurising the Oxted defence into mistakes.

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After a driving run from the back, David Ling was felled and the Oxted player was sent to the sin bin.

With the extra man, Magpies got one back when new forward Sebastian Knights knocked in a deflected shot from a penalty corner to open his Harleston account.

Despite a vastly improved second half display, Magpies were unable to score again and they face a trip to Canterbury this weekend.

• Maidstone 1, Harleston Magpies Ladies 0: Magpies produced an improved performance from the previous week's defeat to St Albans, but the outcome remained the same as they were narrowly beaten at Maidstone in the Women's Conference East.

Illness and injury forced Magpies to make several positional changes, with Emily Wilford and Jess Howland making their first league appearances of the season.

Magpies started brightly, with Lauren Mickleburgh, Hannah Palmer and Naomi Hull combining well to create early chances.

Solid defending from the visitors restricted Maidstone to one clear-cut chance in the first half, which was well saved by keeper Lisa Griffin.

Magpies continued to push forward after the break, but Maidstone took the lead against the run of play on 53 minutes through Hannah Durston.

The visitors went in search of an equaliser and won a string of penalty corners. They had one goal disallowed, a shot cleared off the line and another hitting a defender's body on the line as their efforts proved in vain.