Harleston Magpies 3 Canterbury 5
England Hockey Men's League
Harleston Magpies 3 Canterbury 5
HARLESTON Magpies entertained joint top of the table Canterbury this weekend at Weybread, on a bitterly cold Sunday afternoon. With all of the pressure on the away side Harleston entered the game in high spirits knowing that they could just enjoy the moment.
Canterbury came out of the blocks flying pressurising Harleston early - on a turnover Canterbury won a short corner which was dispatched by their ex international playmaker Kwan Browne to give the visitors the lead. Harleston responded straight away, playing the ball around well waiting for the spaces to appear before launching counter attacks on the shaky Canterbury defence. Harleston managed to find a vital equaliser following good hold up play from Ben Wright Andy Hipwell managed to bundle the ball over the line from close range.
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Unfortunately for the home side Canterbury hit straight back with a well-taken reverse stick shot. In what was becoming a more open match Harleston carved Canterbury open again following a monster aerial from right back Gareth Furlong released Duncan Graves but the youngster was thwarted by a last ditch tackle. Towards the end of the half Canterbury thought they had extended their lead but after scoring at a short corner their goal was disallowed for blocking in the D. Despite both teams creating further chances fine saves from both keepers kept the scores at 2-1 at the interval.
It was Harleston's turn to start the half the brighter; the home side moved the ball around well creating attacking opportunities from wide on the field. Harleston eventually got their reward when Wright was fouled in the D Baynes coolly converted the resultant penalty stroke. Magpies' goal spurred Canterbury on who came straight back at Magpies and won a flick of their own which was dispatched by Browne to give Canterbury the lead.
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Canterbury continued to pressurise Harleston forcing them into mistakes in their own half, Canterbury soon capitalised on this winning a second penalty stroke in dubious circumstances. Again Canterbury converted the stroke to take a 4-2 advantage into the last 20 minutes of play. Harleston surged again and pulled a goal back through Andy Hipwell after his powerful shot was dummied by Ben Wright to fool the keeper.
In a very open last 10 minutes Harleston searched frantically for the equaliser but were caught on a break which resulted in a penalty corner which Canterbury were able to convert.
Next week the team sponsored by Hutton and Legg make the long journey around the M25 to face Indian Gymkhana where points are vital to both teams.