Harleston Magpies 4 – Bedford 4
Harleston sponsored by Dynamic Sport entertained Bedford at the nest on a sunny Autumn day to complete their first round of fixtures in the league. Harleston welcomed back Archie Winter who had missed last weeks game due to an England training camp.
Harleston started the game the better side and were soon able to pick the ball off the faltering Bedford back four. Despite turning the ball over regularly it wasn’t until super sub Richard Larkin broke the dead lock after winning the ball the dynamic utility man broke forward before receiving the ball back before slotting in at the back post with only his third touch of the ball. In a half which Harleston started to dominate the home side had to wait for their second goal following a sweeping counter attacking move Archie Winter’s first shot was blocked but the bouncing rebound found Jack Knight at the back post who volleyed the ball into roof of the net. Harleston continued to play well but couldn’t extend their lead. With 30 seconds left to play Harleston were reduced to 10 players when a turn over in midfield meant that Matt Richardson had no choice but to bring his man down and correctly received his marching orders for a 2 minute sit down. This meant that Harleston were forced onto the back foot for the remainder of the half but had Leigh Sitch to thank when he made a clean diving reverse stick tackle in the D to prevent a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Although Harleston had the lead they knew that Bedford would not roll over in the second half. As predicted Bedford came out fighting and continued to press Harleston back into their own 25. With 10 minutes of the second half play a ball into the Harleston D caused confusion after two miss traps the ball fell to a Bedford forward for a simple tap in. This goal woke Harleston up and they soon added a third goal when the front three of Jack Knight, Ben Wright and Archie Winter combined wonderfully to allow Archie Winter with a simple finish at the back post.
Despite continuing to dominate possession some turn over of the ball allowed Bedford to start to look dangerous as their man of the match David Appleton started to cause havoc in midfield. This allowed Bedford to score two quick unanswered short corners, the first with a good deflection and the second with a powerful strike. The game was then completely flipped on it’s head as Bedford took the lead after John Livings had made a good initial save the rebound fell kindly to the Bedford attacker and he lifted the ball over Livings.
Harleston decided to change their press and the aggression paid off as Thomas Ridley won a strong tackle on the right which released Ben Wright who won a short corner. The resultant corner allowed Jack Knight to deflect the ball into the post man and the resultant penalty stroke was tucked away by Ben Wright.
Although the home team salvaged a point it very much felt like 2 dropped. The team know that next week they will need to be at their defensive best as they face St Albans at home.
Photos courtesy of Pat Leate