Chelmsford 1 Harleston Magpies 2
Magpies travelled to Chelmsford for their first league fixture of the season determined to eliminate the painful memories of last season’s opening day fixture which saw Chelmsford put five goals past Magpies without reply.
Magpies started confidently retaining possession of the ball and attacking the Chelmsford goal at speed. In the 10th minute against the run of play Chelmsford took advantage of a misplaced pass in Magpies defence and Loren Sherer forced the ball over the goal line to put the home team ahead.
Strong running on the ball from Emma Lee-Smith, Angie Wheelhouse and Hannah Palmer continued to trouble the Chelmsford defence resulting in a series of penalty corners being won. Unfortunately Magpies could not convert these chances. The back three of Bryony Lund, Katrina Warnes and Becky Baker continued to transfer the ball with confidence and set up the teams attacks.
Magpies started the second half determined to overturn the deficit and take the lead. Creative and skilful play down the right hand side of the pitch from Naomi Hull, Sarah Brook and Frances Sumner provided further goal scoring opportunities and in the 47th minute a powerful strike from an acute angle from Emma Lee-Smith put Magpies back on level terms.
A well organised press across the pitch meant it was very difficult for Chelmsford to get the ball out of defence; this allowed Magpies to regain possession and put shots on target. Magpies deservedly took the lead when Charlotte Harrison having a great game on the left hand side of midfield passed to Emma Lee-Smith who beat two defenders and scored with a strike from the top of the circle.
As Chelmsford looked for an equaliser strong tackles from Becky Baker and a diving save from Charlotte Lee-Smith in the final seconds of the game secured a winning start to the season. Magpies will be looking to build on this strong team performance when they play St Albans at Weybread on Saturday.
Player of the Match: Emma Lee-Smith