Harleston Magpies 2 Bromley & Beckenham 2

England Hockey League

East Men’s Conference

MAGPIES welcomed bottom of the league Bromley and Beckenham to Weybread in what promised to be a tough encounter.

The previous two encounters in this fixture had resulted in hard fought draws and with both sides desperate for confidence and points this was always going to be close. Magpies were again without Captain Mark Wheelhouse and Tristan Baynes but welcomed back striker Mark Stacpoole who had such an impressive debut vs Holcombe.

Both sides started the game in cautious moods befitting their recent results, but soon it was Magpies who were looking the more likely to take the lead with some good build up play.

Simon Hipwell was again outstanding in his skill, effort and determination down the left giving the visitors right side no time to rest in possession. It was from a good left sided move that Andrew Bedwell delivered a crisp cross into the D for Sebastian Knights to take control and calmly finish for his second goal of the season.

Magpies buoyed by this looked strong and calm in possession and were beginning to create more chances. Hipwell took advantage of slow defending to win a short corner which Ben Wright despatched beautifully toward the bottom corner only for a fantastic save from the line man to deny a second goal just before half time.

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Magpies entered the second half knowing the away team would press on and also conscious of previous matches which had started when and then ended in defeat.

It was a fairly even return to play but Magpies pressed the away side well and did produce some fine opportunities to double their lead only for the final outcome to let them down.

With in the space of a few minutes the game was turned on it’s head when two momentary lapses of concentration at the back gifted Bromley’s predatory forward a one on one which he dispatched well and then a simple back post tap in to leave Magpies again staring at defeat.

To their credit however Magpies, unlike previous weeks, composed themselves well and when Man of the Match Ben Wright pressed his man into a mistake, he drove one on one with the keeper calmly smashing a rising volley into the goal for a majestic equaliser.

From this point on it was anyone’s game with end to end action. A corner miss from Bromley and two narrow misses for Magpies came and went and when the final whistle sounded an eerie silence fell across the pitch before both sides took stock following another full hearted encounter.

Magpies will perhaps reflect on a match they should won, however the point keeps them nicely above Bromley and instills some added confidence for the coming weeks.