Mens 1st Team vs Wapping 1st Team (Away (L) D 1-1)
It was a blustery day at the Lee Valley hockey stadium which saw recently relegated from National League Wapping take on fellow promotion candidates Harleston Magpies sponsored by Dynamic Sport. The magnificent £30 million pound arena situated in the Olympic Park was prepped and ready for what would surely be one of the season’s top clashes. As action got underway it was the home team Wapping asserting their dominance and winning a short corner within the first 5 minutes. However, they were unable to convert and found that in open play, whilst they retained the lion’s share of possession, Harleston’s stalwart defence stood strong. The visitors soaked up the pressure and had several counter attacks that in truth should have been capitalised on, notably coming from some superb work from Dave Gilbert and Jack Hobbs.
The best chance of the half came when the ball broke to Harleston midfielder Pete Bale who showed a deft touch inside the circle to win a penalty corner off of the opposing defenders foot, however advantage was played and Matthew Richardson capitalised with a ferocious shot that went narrowly wide of the back post. The umpire’s whistle blew and at half time it stood at 0-0, Wapping given their possession probably slightly frustrated not to be ahead. However, as the second half started it was Harleston that came out firing. They clearly had a plan to work harder than their opposition and to apply pressure all over the pitch and it paid off as they started winning possession further and further up the pitch.
The game was at fever pitch, both teams working incredibly hard to break the other down but it was the visitors that struck first with new signing Dave Gilbert breaking through with a 1 on 1 before calmly gliding around the flailing keeper and sliding the ball into the net. The game looked done and dusted with Harleston snatching 3 points at a venue which in truth should drop very few points this season. With 30 seconds to go the Wapping centre back took charge and went on a strong run into the Harleston half before riding several tackles and being scythed down by a slightly reckless challenge by Jack Hobbs. The final whistle went and the home team had a short corner to snatch a point from the jaws of defeat. A well worked routine saw a deflection end up in the back of the net and the game ended 1-1. A fantastically played first fixture that means two big teams failed to capitalise and gain ground on their rivals.