Bishop Stortford 0 Harleston Magpies 1
NE14HOCKEY East LeaguePremier Division ABishops Stortford 0 Harleston Magpies 1MAGPIES started the season with an away trip to Bishops Stortford after a tough pre-season that involved some varying performances along with some mixed results.
NE14HOCKEY East League
Premier Division A
Bishops Stortford 0 Harleston Magpies 1
MAGPIES started the season with an away trip to Bishops Stortford after a tough pre-season that involved some varying performances along with some mixed results.
Under a hot September sun Stortford started the game with a high tempo pressing Harleston high up the pitch and gaining the early territory and possession resulting in a short corner that was well defended by the Magpies defence.
Stortford continued to do a lot of hard work in hassling Harleston but as the half wore on Magpies started to get their passing game together and began to dominate the game.
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The last fifteen minutes of the half were played almost exclusively in the home teams half as Harleston pressed for the opening goal.
Harleston created a host of chances with Tristan Baynes going close with a reverse stick shot, Richard Ling almost squeezing in a shot at the back post and Chris Barber deflecting over the bar after a good hit into the D from Richard Gill.
The Stortford keeper made several good saves including getting a good hand to an Andrew Hipwell drag flick and the half ended goalless.
The second half started much as the first had ended with Magpies unable to convert the chances they created.
However the pace of the game changed midway through when a ten-minute period saw three yellow cards flashed by the umpires. First David Ming was sin binned for an innocuous tackle just inside his own half, and then Tristan Baynes saw yellow for another stick tackle before a Bishops Stortford forward was yellowed for another tame looking tackle resulting in the match being played for a brief time with only 19 players on the pitch.
However with the game being stretched allowing for extra space it was Harleston who took advantage with more good work down the right wing resulting in Pete Bale squeezing the ball home for his debut goal in his debut league match.
Bishops Stortford are however an improved side from last year and continued to take the game to Harleston and forced a couple of short corners as well as forcing a few good saves from Richard Harms, also playing his first competitive match.
Harleston lost another player to the sin bin late on as Pete Bale was shown what seemed a harsh yellow to make it a bittersweet match for the new boy. However Harleston hung on the slender lead to record an opening day win that will hopefully set up another successful season.