Harleston Magpies Mens 2nd XI welcomed an inform City of Peterborough team that were sitting only 3 places but 10 points ahead of magpies coming into the crucial last five games of the season. The home team new that they had a tough run to the finish of the season, with their last 5 games to be to be played against the top 5 teams in the league.
This was always going to be a tough, hard fought game as Magpies went down 9-1 in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season. Both teams started the contest very evenly trying to gain possession of the ball, this lead to the first 10 to 15 minutes being fairly scrappy whilst the teams looked to have time on the ball and try to create chances. The visitors found the first few openings but Matt Collinge, in goal for Magpies was on hand to keep the ball out after 3 or 4 short corners. With this constant pressure building on the home defence, Peterborough found a way through after a quick break down their right wing, with a sharp finish sneaking past Collinge.
Whilst in the past Magpies heads may have dropped after conceding a goal, the team raised the level through a confident midfield partnership of Dave Francis and Pete Bale. Magpies started to have time on the ball and created simple passing moves that brought about increased pressure on the away team goal. Short corners were won, the second of which was cooly dispatched by Rob Kinsella with a fine “crisp” strike.
This goal inspired magpies to play with increased confidence, and they started to show the teams ability with fine passing that opened up the opposition midfield to create a few more chances in that weren’t finished off.
Magpies did not give up with the stylish free flowing yet simple hockey; a quick free hit from Dave Ling at the back found Rob Kinsella in the middle of the pitch, he then passed it on to William Dunn who made a clean break before passing back to Kinsella who played it back straight away to Dunn who had run passed the defender in front of him. Dunn then paddled it in to the dee for James Baker to deflect in to the goal. 5 quick accurate passes and Magpies were sensing the game was in their grasp.
Half time came with the score at 2-1, and an inspirational team talk from manager Laurence Baynes kept the home team from switching off after the break. But a break down the magpies left side, 15 minutes in to the half, set up a goal chance, the ball crashed in, taking a deflection first off a stick and then a defenders foot, before falling to a lucky striker who gratefully pushed the ball in. But it is testament to magpies new resolve that they got back on track straight away, playing the hockey they wanted it to be played.
The next goal game through patient build up in the defence and midfield from magpies, before a direct and fast run from Max Macaulay, with the ball, to just outside the Dee found him the space to drill a pass in to find a lurking Elliot Ashurst who tapped in with a reverse stick for Magpies to take the lead once again.
With the minutes counting down pressure again started to build as the away team fought to salvage a point from the game. A break down magpies right hand side saw Ling make a full stretch tackle, only for the umpire to award Peterbourgh a penalty flick with 30 seconds left on the clock!
The striker stepped forward to take it, with a fast and impressive flick he managed to send Collinge the wrong way, however he also managed to hit the top corner where the post and cross bar meet. Magpies managed to see out the last few nervous moments to secure a impressive 3-2 victory against a tough and gutsy opposition.
Man of the Match – Dave Ling