Women’s East League: Norwich Dragons take honours as Norwich City finally concede a goal

Norwich Dragons Ladies 2s captain and goalscorer Hannah Hardy.

Norwich Dragons Ladies 2s captain and goalscorer Hannah Hardy. - Credit: Archant

The top two in Division 2NE came face to face on Saturday – and it was Norwich Dragons II who emerged victorious to move five points clear at the top of the table.

Their derby clash against a Norwich City who had yet to concede a goal all season was a predictably tight affair, with a solitary goal from Hannah Hardy proving decisive.

Dragons were missing Aoife Lowe-Davies, sidelined due to a nasty head injury sustained in a school fixture while Kate Trelawny Gower made herself available despite having just worked her third consecutive night shift.

Dragons' player-of-the-match Freddie Briscoe saved a penalty flick towards the end of the half to keep her side on level terms. From a spell of pressure, a City strike hit a Dragons' foot and Frankie Birkenhead stepped up to take but Briscoe managed to save with her pads.

A number of short corners were forced by both teams after the break but the defences continued to stand strong.

Eventually however the breakthrough came following a broken down Dragons' short corner. The ball was cleared out to the top of the D where Marcy Windsor-Waite was in a perfect position to stop the ball and play a pin-point pass into Hardy in the D. She turned and fired the ball goalwards and it flew into the top corner for a goal that turned out to be the decider.

In the Premier Division Norwich Dragons' first team turned in disciplined performances to draw 0-0 with leaders West Herts in Watford.

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A strong pre-match chat from coach Peter Thomas and a thorough warm-up organised by Emma Tabbrett prepared the visitors well for the match against a side who had won all seven of their matches before the weekend.

The Dragons stuck to their game plan, holding a strong formation which made it frustrating for their opposition.

With every player doing their job on the pitch, defending numerous short corners, the Dragons held their own and kept the hosts out, with goalkeeper Siobhan Cleeve their player of the match.

After eight matches Dragons find themselves sixth in the Premier DIvision with 10 points, a fine achievement for a newly promoted side.

They are two points ahead of Harleston Magpies II, who lost 2-1 at Tunbridge Wells (see report on opposite page).

Dereham lost the leadership of Division One after suffering their first defeat of the season, going down 3-0 at fellow high-flyers Cambridge University.

After holding their own early on Dereham fell behind and then found themselves 3-0 down at the break.

Dereham improved in the second half but the comeback goal proved elusive.

Eve Coulet, Lauren Healy, Georgie Edwards all turned in good displays for Dereham, who face another big test on Saturday when they host new leaders Bedford II.

At the other end of the table North Norfolk and Watton both slipped to their seventh defeat in eight games and occupy the bottom two places. Both lost 4-2 on the road, North Norfolk at Bedford and Watton at St Ives.