Harleston Magpies sponsored by Dynamic Club Shop hosted top of the table Old Loughts in what was also player/coach Ben Wright’s last game for the club before his move to Australia. The team would once again like to thank him for all of his work over the past years.
In less than ideal circumstances Harelston were forced to warm up with 8 players as the Norwich car were running late following traffic issues. As a result Magpies started poorly, with Old Loughts starting the game and scoring within the first minute to set the homeside on the back foot straight away. Not too long later and magpies conceded their first short corner. After much debate and drama surrounding players moving early, Old Loughts at the third time of trying dispatched the ball to make it 2-0.
Disappointed with the start, Magpies started to transfer the ball at a crisper speed and create opportunities. The comeback began as Simon Hipwell reacted quickly to a free hit just outside the D to round 3 players and enter the D before smashing a precise pass to the backpost for returning James Baker to direct into the goal. Minutes later another chance fell to Baker, as Richard Larkin drilled a ball across the baseline and through the crowd. Unfortunately, Baker’s tight angle flick could only make contact with the top of the post.
Just before half time Harleston conceded a third goal when Old Loughts counter attacked at speed as Harelston pushed forward.
Magpies started the second half brightly knowing that OId Loughts had lost their bottle in Loughton despite being 3 goals up with 20 minutes to play. Harelston were now dominating the proceedings and creating more chances and short corners as the game wore on. A short corner was won and Leigh Sitch, magpies second top goalscorer, ruthlessly slide in to deflect the ball past the stranded keep and make it 3-2 with 20 minutes remaining.
Continued Magpies pressure built with Old Loughts down to 10 men twice during the half. With 5 minutes remaining Richard Larkin had the ball in the back of the net, but only for the goal to be disallowed. The Old Loughts players and umpires deeming Thomas Ridley had not moved the ball 5 yards before passing to Larkin into the D. With time ticking away, Old Loughts kept control of the ball and winded the clock down to secure a victory away at the nest. The match finished 3-2, Magpies unlucky not to take away a point.
Next week the 1st team travel to Cambridge City.
Photos courtesy Pat Leate