St Albans 1 Harleston Magpies 2

NE14HOCKEY East Men's LeaguePremier ASt Albans 1 Harleston Magpies 2A confident Magpies team travelled down to St. Albans for a top of the table clash and came away with a fine and well-deserved 2-1 victory.

NE14HOCKEY East Men's League

Premier A

St Albans 1 Harleston Magpies 2

A confident Magpies team travelled down to St. Albans for a top of the table clash and came away with a fine and well-deserved 2-1 victory.

The Magpies players were all fired up for the tussle and the early exchanges paved the way for the rest of the match with pressure from both sides but no sustained possession.

Magpies then got into their stride and had a few good chances, which were well saved by the Albans keeper. Magpies then lost talisman Neil “Silver Fox” Toulson with a back injury putting him out for the rest of the match.

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With the game going from end to end, Magpies managed to break away through Carl Sitch. His eventual pass to Chris Barber resulted in a shot, which forced a fine diving save from the Albans keeper. This inspired Magpies to search harder for the illusive first half goal.

At half time the game was still in gridlock but Harleston had by far the best of the play and were confident going into the second half.

The second half started as the first finished, with Magpies pressure starting to take a toll on the tiring Albans defence.

This resulted in an Albans player being yellow carded for a bad tackle in his own D. The short corner that followed brought another fine save from the tireless St. Albans keeper.

Magpies finally broke the deadlock with a vintage pass from Richard Gill to Andy Hipwell, which he expertly deflected into the goal.

Tristan Baynes was shown a yellow card for a stick tackle and Magpies were brought down to ten men.

Nevertheless, Magpies continued to attack with the pace of Fanger and Hipwell causing a lot of problems for the slow St. Albans defence.

James Wheeler was working hard on the left running himself so hard he had to be substituted with breathing difficulties.

The Harleston defence were then put under a lot of pressure with St. Albans desperate to get back into the game.

An athletic display from Andy Bedwell at left back kept them at bay for a while, but a short corner was awarded just inside the 25 and St. Albans capitalised with a well-worked routine to put the ball past veteran keeper Iain Martin and level the scores at 1-1.

The score from Albans reset the counter and made Magpies really work hard. Minutes after this, Albans finally crumbled and gave away a short corner in the dying minutes of the game.

Andy Hipwell expertly converted this corner and brought Magpies back into the lead with only minutes to go.

The last minutes were tense as Albans went for the equaliser but the Magpies back four of Sumner, Sitch, Ling and Bedwell denied any such a thing, producing a vintage display of hockey.

The final whistle went, Magpies had secured the three points and had taken their rightful place at the top of the league.

Next week sees Magpies entertaining Havering at home hoping to produce the same level of work rate and tenacity to continue their winning run.