Harleston Magpies 4 – Cannock 5
In the quarter finals of the mixed trophy Magpies entertained last year’s champions Cannock. Despite being the underdogs it was Magpies who piled the pressure on early, dominating possession but failing to make a telling shot on target. Despite the early possession it was Cannock who made the first breakthrough; taking advantage of a quick break they took the lead against the run of play with their first shot on target. Refusing to let their heads drop the home side doubled their efforts, working tirelessly in extremely hot conditions. Simon Hipwell showed a little too much enthusiasm and was shown a yellow card for a diving tackle deemed to be dangerous. Having been reduced to 10 men there was a danger that the game could be taken out of Magpies reach but determined defending from the back 4 of Taylor, Sitch, Bedwell and Sitch kept the opposition at bay. Buoyed by their heroic defending the Pies began to play with more confidence and it wasn’t long before Sam Moore put the home side level with a well taken deflected shot. Man of the Match Toby Price began to see more of the ball and the dynamic forward was soon causing the Cannock defence all sorts of problems. It was on one of these trademark runs where Price drew the defenders before reverse stick passing the ball to Hipwell on the back post, who picked out Princess Whiting to tap in and put Harleston into the lead. Magpies could sense a chance to go further ahead and Holly Baker was soon boarding the show boat to leave the Cannock defender floundering after a deft nutmeg, unfortunately their alert keeper was quick off his line to pounce on Bakers shot. The half finished with Magpies 2-1 up.
After a slightly extended half time, where there was a noticeable lack of water added to the pitch, Magpies were keen to press home their advantage. Right at the beginning of the second half a scuffed short corner turned into a goal scoring opportunity with Barber tapping the ball into the goal; only to find that a penalty flick had already been awarded. Up stepped Andrew Bedwell, knowing that his whole team had faith in his ability he coolly slotted the ball into the top corner to put Magpies 3-1 up. Magpies continued their fine form into the half, Tom Riddey and Richard Larkin were playing fiercely in the centre of midfield providing a platform for the rest of the team to continue to press on and hunt for another goal. Lizzie Clymer looked strong in her top diamond role, moving the ball well around the D, and Magpies threatened again winning another short corner. Riddey made no mistake with his injection this time and Price bulleted his shot into the top corner sending the crowd crazy and bringing the score to 4-1. Up until this point in the game Magpies looked the stronger side and had showed great composure, unfortunately Cannock finally decided to step up a gear and began piling on some serious pressure. With the heat beginning to take its toll and Magpies legs becoming weary Cannock pulled back 3 swift goals to level the game and set it up for a tremendous finish. Not knowing what had hit them Magpies did their best to get back into the game with Ridley and Barber working well on the right side of the pitch for the home side. It was Price again who created the chance to put Magpies back in the lead slipping the ball to Hipwell on the back post. Despite usually being the first person you would want facing an open goal Hipwell snatched at his shot sending it just wide of the post. Still reeling from this missed opportunity Magpies were left heartbroken as another swift Cannock attack ended in the net giving the visitors the lead. With only a couple of minutes left Magpies tried to force another chance but were unable to break through a rejuvenated Cannock defence. With the game ending 4-5 Magpies fell 1 game short of the mixed finals weekends. The team were hugely disappointed at failing to hold their lead but could hold their heads high after a really strong performance against a top mixed team.