East Women's League division one north

COLCHESTER Hockey Club boosted their hopes of a top-three finish with a deserved victory over Bedford II.

The Garrison side, who currently lie fourth in the table, were all fired up to beat their second-placed opponents.

And they bagged a late winner through Karen Harris to claim a hard-fought win.

The contest started at a frantic pace with some end-to-end hockey and both teams taking it in turns to attack.

Colchester took the lead when they scored a great goal, thanks to fantastic build-up play between Libby Knifton, Kate Bagley and Helen Scott's strike which was deflected in by Hannah Finbow Jeffery.

Bedford were kept at bay throughout the half thanks to excellent defending by Livvy Jack, Liz Pope, Frankie Harley, Anne Marie and player-of-the-match Ellie Benfield.

But the visitors equalised before half-time after some great link-up play left keeper Lucy Stutchfield facing a two on one situation.

Coach Knifton assured the team at the break that another goal would come if they kept working hard and concentrating and communicating in defence.

Colchester worked hard to get back into the game at the start of the second half and they eventually regained their lead.

Some great passing work from forwards Knifton, Scott, Finbow Jeffery and Ciara Williams resulted in Bendon scoring with a fantastic shot.

Harris, Jemma Rix, Kate Bagley and Pippa Garbutt worked really hard in midfield to close down Bedford and preserve the hosts' lead.

They kept regaining possession of the ball and linked up play to the forwards well.

But when the umpire blew for a Colchester infringement, all of the home players stopped and Bedford capitalised to equalise.

Disappointed that the goal was allowed to stand, Colchester were all fired up.

And their chances were boosted when a Bedford player was sent off for five minutes, following a bad tackle.

Colchester kept pushing and eventually scored their winner with 30 seconds remaining through Harris, who drove into the shooting area before placing a fantastic shot to the side of the keeper's right.