Harleston edge nearer National League
EHL Men's Play-OffsHull 2 Harleston Magpies 6Harleston followed up last week's draw against Fareham with a convincing 6-2 win in their second EHL play-off game against a Hull side fighting to retain their National League status.
EHL Men's Play-Offs
Hull 2 Harleston Magpies 6
Harleston followed up last week's draw against Fareham with a convincing 6-2 win in their second EHL play-off game against a Hull side fighting to retain their National League status.
The result leaves the side second in the play-off table with four points from their opening two games and ensures that the squad will approach the final weekend's games confident of securing a place in the National League next season.
Magpies were subdued for the first ten minutes as they struggled to adapt to their host's direct style of play and, despite gradually finding their feet and creating some early chances, went a goal down from a short corner breakdown.
Magpies reacted well to the set-back and soon started to play their free-flowing hockey that has been their trademark all season.
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Tom Sumner was particularly dominant down Harleston's right flank and one of his incisive runs brought a short corner which Hipwell put away to make the scores level at half time.
After some inspirational half time words from coach Les Howlett and manager Robert Stimpson, Magpies came out in the second period determined to push on and pick up all three points from this must-win game.
Their increased intensity was too much for a visibly tiring Hull side and Magpies quickly went 3-1 up through a Hipwell penalty stroke and a sharp close range finish from the in-form Toulson.
The two goal cushion did not last long as Hull pulled one back with a deflected shot from a tight angle, however Magpies kept their momentum and for the final 15 minutes produced some memorable attacking hockey with Baynes and Wheeler combining effectively down the left and Leate putting in his best performance of the season in an attacking right back role.
The pressure told as Hipwell secured his hat-trick through a well-worked short corner and Barber calmly finished a swift passing move to put the result beyond doubt.
With the three points secured there was still time for Barber to score the best goal of the game in the final minute when he lost his man and expertly turned a pin point pass high into the roof of the net.
Hull will be disappointed with the loss, which leaves their chances of success in the play-offs hanging by a thread, but can have no complaints about the scoreline which was a fair reflection of Magpies' complete dominance in the last quarter of the match.
Magpies travel to Cannock next week to compete in their remaining three play-off games (against Durham University, Harborne and Cardiff) over the bank holiday weekend knowing that three wins will guarantee National League hockey next season.
The players and management would like to thank their dedicated spectators for making the long journey to Hull and look forward to receiving further support at Cannock.