Harleston Magpies mens 2s travelled to league leaders Wapping on Saturday looking to reignite their promotion push after the recent bad weather and a disappointing result away at Cambridge Nomads left Magpies in 4th place.
The start to the game was fast and furious with both sides cancelling each other out with good attacking hockey. The first chance of the game fell to a Wapping forward who turned quickly and fired off a reverse stick shot only for it to be tipped over the bar by Livings in goal. Wapping eventually took the lead after a sustained amount of pressure. Miscommunication at the back allowed a Wapping forward to turn on the flick spot and fire past an on-rushing keeper. Despite going behind Magpies continued to push and some good approach play they couldn’t find that final ball through to the forwards. Wapping doubled their lead 5 minutes before the break with an excellent penalty corner which left the Magpies defence with no chance. Wapping nearly extended their lead even further when a through ball from the left found the wapping forward at the back post with a first time shot only to be thwarted by Livings at full stretch. The half ended at 2-0 to Wapping which despite the score line Magpies had played some good hockey and had every chance of getting back into the game.
The second half started with Wapping creating yet another chance from the restart when an aerial found its way though to a Wapping forward only for his shot to be saved. This early chance seem to wake Mapgies up and they now started to push forward with a penalty corner of their own from Kinsella only for it to be saved well by the Wapping keeper. Despite Magpies now knocking on the door of Wappings goal it was the home side who extended their lead with another penalty corner which this time left even the best defence with no chance as the ball flew into the angle of the right hand post and crossbar. Any momentum Magpies did have was knocked out of them with that third goal and Wapping pushed forwards for a 4th goal. But a combination of good defensive play and goalkeeping kept Wapping out. With 15 minutes to go Magpies got a goal back through Lawrence Baynes from a penalty corner when the initial shot was saved only to fall to Baynes who swept home to give Magpies a chance of saving something from the game. Magpies were now pushing Wapping back further and further whilst they looked for another goal which would leave only one more goal to level the scores. The second Magpies goal came from Robbie Kinsella and a straight strike into the bottom corner leaving the keeper no chance.
With only minutes to goal and only 1 goal between the teams Wapping started to crumble under the pressure put on them from Magpies and yet another penalty corner proved decisive when Dave Francis swepted home the rebound which leveled the scores. The game ended at 3-3 with emotions of joy from the Magpies players and contempt from the Wapping players as they let a 3 goal lead slip. Man of the match went to John Livings in goal who pulled out his best performance so far this season, although credit must go to the entire Magpies team for such and amazing comeback displaying some of the fantastic hockey which they are know to play but which has been missing in the past few weeks.