Women’s hockey round-up: Norwich Dragons have to settle for a point in six-goal East League thriller
- Credit: Archant
Norwich Dragons had to a settle for a point in their latest East League Premier Division encounter as a late goal earned visitors Maidstone a 3-3 draw.
Dragons were determined to learn from last week's below-par performance and were sharp from the off.
However, it was the visitors who made the breakthrough through a powerful short corner strike.
Dragons hit back and Rachel King, player-of-the-match for the second week running, set up the equaliser with a run and cross. The ball fell to Hayley Toleman to sweep the ball goalwards for Marie James to tap in.
The home side continued to push forwards and went ahead thanks to a short corner of their own, King dispatching a clever reverse stick shot through the keeper's legs to give the Dragons the lead at half-time.
The second half saw Maidstone push forward but strong defending from Niamh Lowe Davis and Hollie Limmer kept them at bay. However the Kent side did find the net after another well worked short corner to level the game again.
Once again Dragons stayed focused and a fine interchange resulted in another short corner. Great play from Emma Tabrett and King then allowed James to sweep in her second of the game and put the Dragons in front.
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In this end-to-end game, the visitors still didn't give up and after a short corner was awarded, they levelled with just a few minutes to go.
Norfolk's two other representatives in the top flight went into the weekend with three defeats from three games – but at least one of them ended that poor sequence on Saturday.
Newly promoted Dereham made the long trip to fellow strugglers Tunbridge Wells looking to kick-start their season and they did just that, coming away with a 2-0 win to climb out of the bottom two.
Harleston Magpies II remain bottom after a fourth straight defeat, but they were competitive in their home fixture against Broxbourne before slipping to a 2-1 defeat.
In Division 1NE, Norwich City dropped their first points of the season when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Blueharts. Pui Foung Chung got the goal.
Norwich Dragons II continued to prove they belong in a higher league as they won 1-0 at Cambridge City II to make it two wins and two defeats since promotion.
Dragons started brightly, dominating the first 10 minutes and having a couple of half chances, through great work from Marcy Windsor-Waite and Laura Shreeve.
Ciy grew more into the game however and started to force a number of short corners. Dragons were grateful they had spent time practising their routines and had much better understanding as a unit.
After the break City applied some pressure but Dragons always threatened on the break and got what proved to be the winner when the ball was worked from the left to Pollyanna Watson who swiftly moved the ball on to Pip Howes wide right. Her pinpoint pass found Aoife Lowe-Davies in space at the top of the D and she calmly struck the ball low into the corner.
In Division 2NE Watton won the encounter between last season's two relegated teams as they beat North Norfolk 4-2 to inflict a first defeat of the season on the Cromer-based side.
Empresa Norfolk League round-up – Becker takes centre stage as Broadland cruise to victory
Holley Becker scored a hat-trick as Broadland saw off Pelicans II 3-0 to maintain their improved form in the Premier Division.
Becker put Broadland ahead after four minutes when she finished off a fine team move which allowed her to fire into an unguarded net.
The hosts ran Pelicans ragged but could not find another goal until the 18th minute when Becker coolly steered the ball home.
Pelicans came out after the break to restore some pride and a penalty corner midway through the half resulted in them pulling a goal back through Jane Major.
But Broadland kept up the good work and an effort from Helen Brockington was ruled out before Becker put the result beyond doubt with a reverse stick flick.
Norwich Dragons III went marching on at the top with their fifth straight win, but they conceded their first goals of the season as they edged past Norwich City III 5-4.
The score was 2-1 at the break with Dragons going two up before Jenny Stanghan found Emily Greenway waiting gratefully for the pass which she slotted home.
After the break, City picked up where they left off and got back on level terms through a slickly timed short corner which Caroline Illing put away.
Dragons then scored three times in quick succession before City again made a game of it. They pulled two goals back, the first an exquisitely executed shot from Yvette Redpath, undercut to beat the 'keeper in the top right corner. The fourth came minutes from the end – a second for Greenway after a fine run from Leo Wills.
Three teams are three points behind leaders Dragons after winning four of their five games, Harleston Magpies III and IV and Loddon.
On Saturday Magpies III won 2-0 at Evergreens, Magpies IV beat visitors Carrow 4-0 and Loddon won by the odd goal in five at Dereham III.
Norwich City II went on a goal spree against UEA II, winning 7-0 with Abbie Ingham notching a hat-trick and the other goals coming from Emily Francis, Alex Woods, Hannah Jarvis and Leigh-Ann Worrall.
Reepham Ladies had a good day in Division One, beating a young Harleston Magpies V side 4-0.
Reepham took an early lead through captain Katie Lake and soon added a second when the ball broke from a Magpies short corner. A through ball found the visitors short in defence and Lake confidently took her chance.
The two goal lead gave Reepham a lot of confidence but it was not one way traffic and keeper Poppy Graham had to be alert and pulled off some fine saves.
Reepham increased their lead further when Harriet Lilwall's reverse stick shot left the keeper with no chance.
The second half continued where the first left off and Lake completed her a hat-trick to move Reepham up to fourth in the league.
Norwich City IV followed the example of their second team as they put seven without reply past UEA III to sit proudly at the top of the table.
Holly Robinson led the way with four goals, Sue Tomlinson weighed in with two and Amelia Ellis-Baumber also got her name on the scoresheet.
Thetford recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win at Norwich Dragons IV thanks to goalkeeper Carla Pinto keeping a clean sheet. A good show of strength and speed saw Thetford attacking often, with Sarah Nichol and Pippa Russell creating the space to finally feed the ball into a waiting Kathy Hammond. Hammond went one-on-one with the keeper, who fell to save the first strike, pushed away the second strike - but the third found its mark.
East Conference – Chelmsford 2 Harleston Magpies 0
Harleston Magpies went in to this fixture with confidence high following a good display against St Albans the previous week, only to slide to disappointing defeat.
After a slow start, Magpies put Chelmsford under a lot of pressure and created a number of good goal scoring opportunities, including a couple of short corners. The ball even rebounded off the post across the goal line, with Chelmsford lucky that there was not a Magpies player lurking in the goalmouth to tap home.
At half-time, with the amount of pressure Magpies had put on the Chelmsford defence, they felt that it would only be a matter of time before they would score.
Magpies started the second half brightly and with a solid press set up. Abby Gooderham won the ball high up the pitch on a couple of occasions by cutting off the square pass to the Chelmsford defender.
Despite Charlie Harrison having a shot saved off the line and Magpies hitting the post for the second time of the game, they were unable to convert any of their chances.
Midway through the second half, with Magpies high up the pitch, Chelmsford turned over the ball within their 25 and quickly played it through to a forward, who fired home from the top of the circle.
Having had so many chances and finding themselves behind, Magpies' heads dropped, allowing Chelmsford to get back into the game and put the defence under increased pressure. After a good run from a forward along the backline, the ball was played across the goalmouth and bounced off a Magpies' defender into the open goal, to seal visitors' fate.
Whilst the team came away from the game very disappointed not to at least take a point, having had the majority of possession, spirits were buoyed by the number of goal scoring opportunities created.
Magpies welcome Sevenoaks to Weybread next.
Squad: Lucy Belsey (Capt), Debbie Francis, Charlotte Lee-Smith, Katrina Sitch, Kath Johnson, Lauren Barber, Louisa Greenacre, Sophie Sunderland, Lucy Whiting, Emma Lee-Smith, Hattie Sunderland, Lizzie Clymer, Maria Andrews, Charlotte Harrison and Abby Gooderham.