This week Harleston Men’s 1s sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops were looking to continue their superb run of form away at close rivals Norwich City. The team welcomed Oakley, Epsom, John Livings and Ollie Whiteman back into the side.
Early in the warm up it was clear that the difficult pitch was going to cause some issues and this was evident with an early injury for magpies. The first 20mins saw Harleston fail to secure a few early chances and struggle to take control of the game. Tim Whiteman and Simon Hipwell pickpocketed the Norwich defence a number of times which created some golden opportunities but no finish to put them ahead.
An early disallowed goal from Norwich City made it seem to be not magpies’ day and soon afterwards Norwich City were able to take the lead; but this proved to be a stern wake up call for the boys in white. The remainder of the first half saw Harleston grow in confidence and an impressive piece of individual skill and finish from Raunaq Rai meant it was level at half time. Overall a disappointing half with lots of individual errors and turn over balls, much unlike previous games this season.
With the second half underway Harleston began to assert their dominance on the game and some ruthless pressure in the D from James Gray and Dave Gilbert gave magpies the lead. However, despite some commanding hockey from the likes of Thomas Ridley and Pete Bale in the middle of the park, Harleston continued to lack the quality of previous performances and were unable to rack up the score line. A well taken short corner goal from Ben Gowing secured the victory but this was certainly a game with little to say afterwards other than to move on.
Looking positively on the game it’s the sign of a promotion worthy side to get the win even when not playing at their best. Next week magpies face Saffron Walden at the nest where they look to make it eight wins in a row and continue to put pressure on Wapping at the top of the table.