On a brisk, yet beautiful, armistice autumn afternoon Harleston, sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops, started the game brightly but were matched by Bedfords intensity. After a cagey 15 minutes the game turned more chaotic, with both sides seeing players spend time on the naughty step.
Although determined, both sides lacked enough quality to break the deadlock and one would be forgiven for thinking that they were watching a ping pong match. It was Magpies, however, who first managed to find the net after excellent play by Archie Winter to show great composure after a corner-breakdown to find unretired Canadian international (52 caps) Elliott Marsh in the perfectly placed power position, guiding the ball phenomenally in and lighting up the game.
But alas, Magpies lead was short lived. Bedford replied with a goal of their own coming from an unexpected aerial which wasn’t dealt with by Captain Fantastic Leigh Sitch (3900 Magpies caps). After collecting the ball the attacker powerfully crossed the ball which escaped the outstretched foot of goalkeeper Chris Leek, and found Magpies’ very own Jonty Gosling, who in a charitable frame of mind, diverted the ball into the goal to level the score and make it 1-1 at halftime.
After an inspired team talk, Harleston quickly found themselves 2-1 down after some poor defending and missed tackles allowed Bedford’s calm and collected forward to drive the ball base line and goalkeeper Chris Leek, who targeted both man and ball, came away with only man: penalty stroke. Magpies turned to Chris Leek to keep them level but was handcuffed by a bullet that drifted past him into the net. The goal sent Bedford into a 2-1 lead and put the crowd into a state of and ecstasy, which was only broken the reverberations felt all the way back in Harleston from which an angry roar was heard from the veteran 5th team development coach.
A spirited response saw Magpies group together to fight against the grain and withstand an aerial bombardment. Magpies managed to get back on to level terms after a rare piece of quality provided by Sam Patterson to find level-headed lumberjack Pete Bale in the most powerful of power positions to sweep home the equaliser.
With the score tied at 2-2, temperatures rose on the pitch with both teams once again losing players to cards. Despite Magpies knocking on the door with an intensity which was earlier missing in the game, genuine chances were too few and too far between to find the goal once more. The game finished 2-2 and Magpies retired to the clubhouse to enjoy watching some boxing on the big screen.