Men’s hockey round-up: Late heartbreak for Norwich City as fellow high-fliers grab East League win

Norwich Dragons IIs man-of-the-match Ben Watson on the ball against Newmarket. Picture: SUBMITTED

Norwich Dragons IIs man-of-the-match Ben Watson on the ball against Newmarket. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

Norwich City lost for the first time this season as fellow East League Premier B high-fliers Saffron Walden scored three minutes from time to secure a 4-3 success.

City's Rees Leonard was the busier of the two keepers in the first half but it was the visitors who went ahead, Jeremy Elliott finishing off a well worked short corner routine.

Sam Paterson doubled their lead after the break, creating enough space for a reverse stick shot which nestled into the near side of the goal.

The lead did not last long, with the home side pulling a goal back quickly and then equalising.

At 2-2 Leonard conceded a penalty stroke but then made an excellent save, trapping the ball under his pad just in front of the line.

City went 3-2 down to a superb finish from the Saffron Walden captain, flicking the ball off the underside of the cross bar from a yard off the base line, but equalised through a Elliott drag flick.

The hosts had the final say however from a short corner of their own, after reacting quickest to a rebound off the Norwich keeper.

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In the same section Harleston Magpies II slumped to a fourth straight defeat as they went down 4-1 at Waltham Forest.

In the Premier Division Dereham were again left to rue not taking their chances as they were held to 1-1 draw by visitors Ipswich, although a solid display at the back was cause for positivity. They dominated periods of the first half, and created lots of chances courtesy of some lovely running from Dewing and Hill but somehow the score was still 0-0 at the break.

The majority of Ipswich's chances came from short corners and this proved to be the source of their goal. However Dereham felt a little unfortunate to concede as an off target shot was deflected in by a defender.

A beautifully intricate short corner routine saw Dereham restore parity midway through the second half. Edwards and Michael Timm continued to make major inroads into the Ipswich defence, but as in the first half, Dereham could not add the finishing touch to find the goal.

Again there was late injury drama for Dereham as Mark Timm took a wickedly deflected ball square in the forehead

Pelicans won 4-3 at Bishops Stortford to make it two wins and two defeats so far in Division One.

After an improved display against UEA the previous week, Norwich Dragons won 3-2 at City of Peterborough to register their first points of the season in Division 2NE. After Lloyd Sayer and Henry Laming both saw chances head just over the bar, man of the match Mark Flatman scored his first league goal of the season, with a fine reverse stick finish from Cley Hamilton's assist.

Keen not to let their opponents off the hook, the Dragons scored another quickly, when Flatman returned the favour to Hamilton, to finish calmly into an empty net. Peterborough managed to get a goal back from a short corner and the score at half-time was 2-1.

After a rousing team talk from captain George Walker, returning to action for the first game of the season, the Dragons managed to extend their league when Ollie King finished from close range into the bottom corner.

Sustained pressure mixed with a lack of possession from the Dragons, resulted in Peterborough scoring a second to make the final 10 minutes a nervous period. Only some good saves from Robbie Bell and a goal line clearance from Laming enabled the Dragons managed to take three points back with them to Norwich.

There was a derby match in the same section, with Norwich City II turning on the style to beat their Dereham counterparts 5-0.

Adie Land and Tom Cox both scored twice while Stuart Wardale also got on the scoresheet.

Norwich City III came face to face with their Dragons counterparts in Division 3NE and recorded a 1-0 victory. It was a dominant performance, with City limiting their visitors to one chance in the entire game.

City had much the better of the first half without finding the back of the net and in the second half it was more of the same. That bit of quality was finally found when U16 member Josh Bailey found Joe Konieczny to get the winning goal.

Norwich Dragons II had a field day against Newmarket, winning 7-2.

Dragons had a strong team available against the previously unbeaten opposition but had to settle for a 3-2 advantage at the break.

It was a different story in the second half, with the hosts dominating. Goals cam from man-of-the-match Ben Watson (2), Tom Rutledge (2), Rich Moulson, Jonty Gosling and Matt Jenkins.

East Conference – Harleston Magpies 0 Brighton & Hove 4

Harleston Magpies slid to a painful home defeat against fellow strugglers Brighton and Hove.

The game started in the worst possible fashion for Magpies, with Richard Larkin losing sight of a high aerial ball in the mid afternoon sunshine which even the speedy defender couldn't fully recover from. This led to a penalty stroke which was converted low to keeper John Livings' right hand side.

The home side failed to quickly recover, with Ben Wright's reverse stick air shot being the best early opportunity.

Brighton's constant pressure led to a short corner being won, which was converted low into the goal for a 2-0 lead. Magpies were still struggling to get the ball forward, and were again pinned back in their own half defending another short corner just before half-time. This time the shot deflected off the number one runner to make it 3-0.

A rousing half-time team talk seemed to stir Magpies into life but they were set back by injuries to Matt Riches and Stuart Leate. The former heroically took a blow charging down a short corner, while Leate injured himself after a couple of defensive footwork errors. The home side did build some pressure but failed to break down a resolute visiting defence, only managing half chances and a short corner, which was smothered by the defence before Andy Hipwell could attempt to bundle in a rebound.

As the home side pressed further, the ball was turned over and Brighton capitalised to score their fourth goal of the afternoon. Magpies need to regroup before their next two matches which are both away from home, to Oxted and then Teddington, if they are to pull away from the Conference relegation zone.