Harleston Magpies 0 Peterborough 1
England Hockey League
Men’s Conference East
HARLESTON hosted Peterborough in their last fixture before the long winter break hoping to build on last week’s victory. The side were without Stuart Leate, Simon Hipwell and Mark Stacpoole through work, sickness and injury respectively but welcomed back top scorer Ben Wright. Peterborough had beaten Magpies 8-2 in the previous fixture and the home side were looking to even the score.
Magpies started the brighter and pressed high and hard from the off looking to pressure a potentially shaky defence into a mistake. Their early efforts were rewarded with short corners but unlike last week these were left unconverted and the scores at 0-0.
Peterborough started to find their feet in the game and began to exert good pressure of their own. Despite creating some good chances the away sides efforts were rebuffed by the Magpies defence and the game looked to be heading into the break as a stalemate.
However with just three minutes left in the half a short corner was awarded to the away side. Despite the initial effort being saved, the away side managed to bundle home the ball despite appearing to foul one of the home sides defenders in the process.
Magpies were left to regroup at half time and consider ways of getting back into this close game.
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The second half started in a similar fashion and Magpies were again in the ascendancy taking the game to their opponents. They pressed hard looking for an equaliser but also had to be aware of the away sides threat on the break. Both sides were able to win short corners and the game started to become more end to end but still the score remained the same.
Midway through the second half Magpies had their best chance to equalise when Richard Gill shot following a slip corner move, the goalie got something on the ball but unfortunately Peter Bale contrived to miss from less than a yard with the ball striking his foot instead of his stick to cross the line.
Magpies picked themselves up and pressed on but to no avail. At the other end young goalkeeper Reece Leonard had a Man of the match performance keeping Magpies in the game whenever the away side broke and threatened. Late in the game Magpies captain Mark Wheelhouse and his Peterborough counterpart were both sent to the sin bin for an altercation and the second half finished with no more clear chances for either side.
The Magpies side left the pitch very downhearted at not getting anything from a game that should probably have resulted in both sides sharing the points. They must take stock of what has been a difficult first half to the season but lift their heads and focus on the positives including the emergence of some excellent young players and also a return to fitness and performance of key figures.
If they prepare well post Christmas the second half of the season has the potential to be very different story.