Women’s East League: City rivals locked in title battle
Norwich City took advantage of a slip from leaders Norwich Dragons to join them at the top of Division 2NE on Saturday.
City recorded a hard-fought 2-1 derby success over Sprowston and were then delighted to learn that Dragons had dropped points after a 3-3 home draw against Loddon.
The results left both teams on 50 points with two games to play, with Dragons having a superior goal difference.
City were never going to be in for an easy game against a strong defensive unit in testing conditions.
After the early forays, they started to gain the upper hand, with Deb Painter, Maddie Taylor and Sophie Mullan seemingly everywhere in midfield, but failed to take their chances and Sprowston went ahead from a short corner converted by Becky Cox.
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City piled on the pressure after the break and eventually got an equaliser 12 minutes from time. After winning yet another short corner, Emily Anthony was about to shoot when her stick was smashed and she calmly converted the penalty stroke to make it 1-1.
Sprowston defended excellently, with player of the match Helen Aston in particular preventing City from getting through. Keeper Sharon Weeks also made some vital saves to frustrate the home attackers.
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Then, with just a minute left on the clock Anthony's shot was saved but the ball fell to Anna Horsley on the post, who squeezed the ball home to delight the hosts – and leave the brave visitors deflated.
Having played so well and got such a good result last week in a top of the table clash the message to the Dragons team was clear as they welcomed Loddon to the Den – not to take anything for granted.
However they did just that and paid the price.
Unable to string passes together and play their usual attractive style of hockey they still dominated and had the lion's share of possession.
With less than 10 minutes on the clock and the Dragons leading 3-1 they seemed to think the match was won but Loddon had other ideas as they weaved their way through with ease and put two goals past the Dragons' keeper.
For the second time in the space of two weeks Broadland's match was abandoned, this time against Panthers.
Broadland were leading by 1-0 through Lydia Lawrence when the driving snow brought a halt to proceedings.
In Division 1N Pelicans were beaten 4-2 at Watton.
Pelicans took a 10th minute lead after a swift counter was coolly finished by Emma Tilbrook. Watton hit back, playing hockey that made a mockery of their league position as they got back on terms just before half-time.
The home side stretched their lead with two strikes early in the second half. A sweet Kath Johnson penalty corner strike got Pelicans back in the game but Watton netted near the end to secure a deserved derby win.