Harleston’s title hopes hit by home defeat

John Livings in action for Harleston. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

John Livings in action for Harleston. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

East Premier A Harleston Magpies 1 St Albans 2 Magpies welcomed St Albans to the nest in what promised to be the game of the season, writes Leigh Sitch.

Both teams are vying for promotion, with St Albans top but Harleston just behind with an unbeaten record in the league.

It was Harleston who had the majority of early possession and nearly took the lead with a short corner on 15 minutes with Sam Patterson beating the keeper for pace but unfortunately also the outside of the post.

Half-way through the game St Albans began to assert their authority and it was Harleston’s turn to absorb pressure but the scores were even at the due to goal keeper John Living’s crucial save.

Harleston started the second half extremely brightly and after a prolonged period of pressure broke the deadlock after patient build-up play against a deep lying defensive.

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It was captain Leigh Sitch who provided the pass into the circle and former Canadian international Elliott Marsh who deflected the ball into the goal.

St Albans reacted strongly, immediately turned up the heat and within five minutes the scores were even after they converted a penalty corner to make it 1-1.

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As the half wore on Harleston once again began to dominate proceedings with Thomas Ridley and David Gilbert showing attacking intent that nearly earned the team a goal.

With 15 minutes to go Harleston had a barrage of short corners but despite their efforts they lacked the potency of their rivals and failed to score from 13 penalty corners over the course of the game.

As the game entered the final moments there only looked like one winner with Harleston camped in the opposition half rallying attack after attack.

Then, with one minute to go the unthinkable happened and a counter attack from St Albans resulted in only their third penalty corner of the game and crucially their second goal.

With 20 seconds left Harleston mounted one more attack but it was all too late and the final whistle blew on not only the game but possibly Harleston’s East Premier League title ambitions.

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