Women’s East League: Dragons discover just how tough the top flight can be

Norwich Dragons goalscorer Harriet Green watches her shot cross the line in the 5-1 defeat to Dereha

Norwich Dragons goalscorer Harriet Green watches her shot cross the line in the 5-1 defeat to Dereham 2s - Credit: Archant

Norwich Dragons suffered their heaviest defeat for some years when they lost 7-2 at Old Loughtonians, a team who were playing in the National League last season.

The Dragons were on the back foot within the first 10 minutes and found themselves 2-0 down.

They then chased the game in search of goals but in doing so lost their shape and failed to find the flowing style of hockey they have demonstrated in previous weeks.

At half-time the home side led 4-1, with Dragons' player of the match Donna Vaughan pulling one back with a fine strike just before the interval.

The Dragons had a good spell in the second half but were outplayed for large parts of the game and the home side scored three more goals.

This team were stronger than any of Dragons' previous opponents and also had the advantage of playing regularly on their water-based pitch which they got the best out of.

The visitors got a second just before the game ended when Nat Beal got a touch on the ball in a goal- mouth scramble.

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Playing against such an experienced skilful team was good experience for the Dragons side and they will take much from this game.

They remain in a respectable sixth placed in the Premier Division with six points from four games, two ahead of Harleston Magpies II who drew 0-0 at Wapping. Lauren Mickleburgh was player of the match, with Magpies enjoying the chance to play at the Olympic venue.

Dereham, who were playing National League hockey not so long ago, will have their sights set on a return to the top flight after notching up another win in Division One North. They won 2-0 at newly promoted Watton and lead the way on goal difference with 10 points from a possible 12. For Watton it was a fourth straight defeat since gaining promotion.

Dereham made hard work of their win, failing to play their usual passing game and relying heavily on their defence to turn things around.

It was not until the second half that Dereham found some true form, working hard off the ball to provide space and opportunities. It was Georgie Edwards who found Grace Cresswell in the D to score Dereham's first goal. A string of passes created the second, finished with a reverse stick shot from Edwards.

Like Watton, Cromer-based North Norfolk are also struggling at a higher level. The side previously known as North Walsham lost 3-1 at Wisbech, their third reverse so far.

Norwich Dragons II continue to go great guns in Division Two North East, maintaining their 100pc record with a 3-1 win over Lowestoft.

Dragons went into the break with a 1-0 lead, after Laura Shreeve squared to Hannah Hardy, whose scuffed effort found its way to Shelly Seaman in perfect position to slot home.

After the break player-of-the-match Karen O'Neill Simpson swept the ball above the outcoming keeper for an excellent goal to make it 2-0. Hardy made it 3-0 from a short corner before Lowestoft netted a consolation.

Norwich City were held to a 0-0 draw at Panthers but are still breathing down Dragons' necks with 10 points. Remarkably City have yet to concede a goal all season.

Norwich City II turned in a determined performance at home to Newmarket, only to lose 1-0. They defended well and created some chances, with Charlie Hudson-Madge going close late on, but in the end a first half shot that eluded Summer Haylock settled it.