Harleston 3 Chelmsford 2
England Hockey League
Men's Conference East
Harleston 3 Chelmsford 2
HARLESTON faced bottom of the table Chelmsford at home this weekend - the away team though buoyed by their first win the previous weekend. In their previous meeting Harleston ran out 6-0 winners but the rematch was going to be a tougher game as Chelmsford welcomed back a couple of players.
Chelmsford took a shock lead early on when they converted from a short corner with a powerful drag flick. Harleston rallied from this starting to create chances of their own, Baynes fired a ball across which Andy Hipwell touched but the Chelmsford keeper made a great save. As the game became more open tackles started to fly in from either team, green cards were brandished to calm the situation. With 16 minutes gone Harleston equalised following good movement down the right from Furlong and Fanger the ball was squared to Andy Hipwell who could not miss from a yard.
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Harleston were now in the ascendancy and their course was helped when Chelmsford were reduced to 10 men for retaliation following a tackle by Toulson. Unfortunately Harleston despite having the majority of possession could not capitalise and both teams went in with a goal a piece at half time.
Following a stern talking to from the umpires both teams knew that any more reckless challenges would result in yellow cards for both teams. Despite the warning Harleston were soon reduced to 10 men when Bale was sent off for a challenge taking the card for team mate Ling. Despite going down to 10 Harleston continued to move the ball around the back well creating chances when appropriate.
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Harleston managed to snatch the lead when Andy Hipwell found Gill unmarked in the D following the centre mids surging run to slot home from close range. Harleston were momentarily back up to 11 players until Bale was shown his second yellow of the game for tracking a player before the opposition had run five yards.
Again despite the numerical disadvantage Harleston continued to play some good hockey and found a third when Andy Hipwell bundled his way through the right hand side of the D to slot it past the Chelmsford keeper at his near post. Harleston were now in control of the game happy to keep possession and make Chelmsford work for the ball.
With 10 minutes to go Harleston again were reduced to 10 men when Baynes was shown a yellow following a free hit. Chelmsford pressed hard in this period throwing men forward at every opportunity to find a goal. Their prayers were answered with three minutes to go when they slotted another penalty corner away. Chelmsford were then reduced to 10 men for the same foul that Baynes committed. In the dying minutes Harleston had the chance to extend their lead when Furlong threw a mammoth cross pitch aerial but the forwards were unable to capitalise.
With the final whistle Harleston were relieved to have gained the vital three points, in what was not a vintage performance the younger members of the squad Wright, Furlong, Fanger and Graves stepped up to the plate all producing good performances. With the win under their belt the squad look forward to travelling to Bromely next weekend.