Harleston Magpies I 3
Bedford I 2
Harleston Magpies signed off their season with a victory by the odd goal in five over their Bedford counterparts on Saturday.
Despite neither side having anything to play for in terms of the title or relegation, they still managed to serve up an entertaining game of hockey at Weybread.
Hosting Magpies started the game in a determined manner with their forward line putting the Bedford defence under a lot of pressure.
The breakthrough came after Magpies captain Lucy Belsey quickly took a free hit on the right sideline, beat her player and delivered a pinpoint cross into the circle for Lucy Whiting to deflect in off her reverse stick.
Magpies continued to look confident on the ball with the back three working the transfer around the pitch to change the point of attack and the midfield passing the ball fluidly.
The domination continued and they soon had a second when a good run and shot from Lizzie Clymer was saved by the Bedford goalkeeper, only for Laura Tibbenham to calmly convert the rebound on her National League debut.
However, Bedford grew in confidence as the half went on and had their own 10-minute spell of dominance
But despite Magpies being reduced to 10 players on a couple of occasions and conceding a few short corners, they stood strong and went into half-time two goals to the good.
The visitors came out of the blocks strongly after the interval, clearly eager to get a foothold in the game, and with it they began to put Magpies under a lot of pressure.
They got on the scoresheet 13 minutes into the second half with a well-struck short corner.
Having seen their lead cut, Magpies showed desire to get themselves back into the match with the team working hard to keep possession and play their own game.
They almost found the net when Lauren Rowe dived to deflect the ball, only for it to trickle along the goalline and avert every home player.
Yet, the two-goal advantage was eventually restored with eight minutes remaining on the clock after another run from Clymer, this time squaring to Emma Lee-Smith in space to fire home.
Bedford pulled another goal back two minutes later, but Magpies held out to secure the points that sees them finish the season in fifth place.
• In the East Men’s League Premier A, Harleston Magpies I ran out 5-0 victors on the road at Blueharts I.
Victory in their final game of the season tomorrow on the road at St Albans (2nd) will see Magpies finish fourth in the 12-team league.