Harleston men’s indoor squad sponsored by Hunton Legg and Sam Moore Electricals (07543779873) travelled to Bristol for their second weekend of indoor hockey in the National League Division 1 competition.
Harleston started the weekend against a Havant side sitting below them in the table. Harleston started the game extremely slowly and soon found themselves a goal down following a well worked short corner. Havant soon doubled their lead when Leigh Sitch gave away a corner which again Havant converted. Soon Havant found a third to put Harleston really on the back foot. Harleston managed to grab a lifeline when Gareth ‘Big Money’ Furlong smashed a shot across goal to find the backboard. Unfortunately Havant struck the next blow making the score 4-1. Harleston managed to drag themselves back into the game after half time when the Furlong brothers combined allowing Rhodri Furlong to touch in an excellent pass from Gareth Furlong. Again Harleston could not gain the momentum when Havant snatched their fifth of the game. Harleston again tried to fight back, they got there reward when Gareth Furlong scored his second of the game from a short corner routine. Havant again extended their lead with another short corner. Harleston did grab a lifeline when good play down the right allowed David Ling to finish well at the back post. Harleston continued to press for their fifth but were unable to force any goals in and had to settle for a 6-4 defeat.
In the second game of the day Harleston faced a strong and fresh Southgate side, Southgate caught Harleston cold and took the lead after 20 seconds. Harleston came straight back and equalised through Gareth Furlong. Harleston continued to press Southgate hard and found themselves 2-1 up when Mark Wheelhouse converted from a short corner. Harleston continued to create chances down the left but were only rewarded with one more goal when Gareth Furlong converted his second from a short corner. Despite this Southgate did sneak a goal back before half time. Harleston continued to pressurise Southgate at the start of the second half. As the half progressed Harleston conceded a sloppy short corner which Southgate converted to draw level. Southgate were now in the ascendancy and soon took the lead after catching Harleston with a powerfully taken 16 yard hit, the same move soon came back to haunt Harleston when Southgate extended their lead in a similar fashion. Despite late pressure from Harleston they were unable to grab a further goal to make the last few minutes nervy for Southgate, the final score finishing 5-3 to Southgate.
On Sunday Harleston played two further games, with Saturdays results not going their way the team knew they needed at least 3 points from their remaining two games of the day.
First up Harleston faced a strong Sevenoaks team who were fighting for a promotion place. Harleston started the game well pressurising Sevenoak’s defensive players, despite this good start Harleston were the first to concede however when Sevenoaks pounced on a loose ball in the Harleston circle. This disappointment put Harleston on the back foot and they quickly conceded 5 more goals as Sevenoaks displayed the prowess that had placed them near the top of the league. Harleston regained their composure and managed to grab a goal bag when Carl Sitch managed to convert after good play from Tristan Baynes and Gareth Furlong. Despite this is was Sevenoaks who scored the next goal of the game to leave the scores at 6-1 at half time. Harleston came out fighting in the second half and grabbed a quick goal through Gareth Furlong, unfortunately Sevenoaks then grabbed their seventh to distinguish any thoughts of a fight back. Harleston though did continue to push and grabbed two late goals through Carl Sitch and Rhodri Furlong following a good short corner routine, however they left themselves too much to do and the final score finished 7-4 to Sevenoaks.
Harleston went into the last game of the weekend knowing that they needed a win or a draw to ensure that they would beat the drop against a fresh Bournville side who were also scrapping at the bottom of the table. Harleston again started slowly and Bournville took the lead early on against the run of play. Gareth Furlong equalised for Harleston after good play down the left allowed him to finish expertly from a tight angle. Harleston again could not capitalise on some good build up play, with some crosses being narrowly missed at the back post and some unfortunate decisions going against them in critical areas of the pitch. Bournville retook the lead just before half time with a short corner routine of their own. With the game still in the balance after half time Harleston gave their all early on in the second half but after a turn over up the pitch Bournville broke quickly to make the score 3-1. Harleston did rally and managed to grab a goal back through an excellent deflection from David Ling at the back post. Bournville again took the wind out of Harleston’s sails as they scored next, Harleston pushed forward at the end in search of a vital couple of goals. They did manage to grab a goal back late on with two minutes to play when Gareth Furlong scored his second of the game. Bournville managed to hang onto their lead with a frantic two minutes of play, the final score standing at 4-3.
This defeat left Harleston’s fate in St Albans hands, unfortunately St Albans lost which meant Havant leap-frogged Harleston pushing them into the relegation zone. This means Harleston will play in Division 2 of the National League next season.