Chelmsford 1 Ipswich 0

England Hockey League

Women's Conference East

Chelmsford 1 Ipswich 0

CHELMSFORD came into this game on a high following their recent return to form, but with Ipswich's unbeaten record this season Chelmsford knew they would have to be fully committed and resilient in order to get anything from the game.

Ipswich came out of the traps with immediate pressure on Chelmsford's goal, winning two short corners in the opening minutes. Chelmsford's defence absorbed the Ipswich assault and with an eye to a counter-attack put together some excellent midfield play. After 10 minutes a probing pass through to Libby Knifton at the edge of the D opened up the Ipswich defence and Knifton's opportunistic reverse stick strike was unfairly defended. Chelmsford were unable to convert the short corner but their confidence and ability showed they could take the game to Ipswich and create attacking play of their own.

Ipswich play a fast-paced and often physical game. Chelmsford showed they have technical skills and coherent teamwork and are equally able to be solid on the ball. Sarah Glanvill and Libby Knifton ran the Ipswich back line ragged and never allowed unchallenged possession.

On the left flank Louisa Smith's work rate and Jess Ecott's strength on the right provided the platform for Harri Kinnear and Beth Wilde to run at the Ipswich defence. Julia Butterworth interrupted any Ipswich excursions through the centre and the young newcomer Katie Roberts gave valuable support to the midfield. The Chelmsford attacking pressure appeared to have produced results when a free hit into the D was struck home by Wilde but the umpire spotted an infringement. A high action first half finished without score.

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Determined now to take the initiative from the restart, Chelmsford showed good formation work with Rebecca Budd, Sarah Bolton and Rebecca Alltree converting cross passing into effective attacking play. Ipswich were not rolling over and the danger of a break-out was ever present. Marie Kirkham and Kate Maxey maintained good order in the back line and when Ipswich did get through, goalkeeper Lynsey Warren's sharp reactions kept Chelmsford in the game.

Chelmsford were now hunting in packs and with the final minutes of the game approaching won a short corner. Hayley Heggie's slightly mistimed strike carved through the crowd for a scruffy but very well deserved winner.

Only two points now separate the top three teams at the half way break in the season. Chelmsford's squad, largely rebuilt this year, can be very satisfied with their performance as we now go into the winter indoor season. The Women's Conference East will resume on 6th February.

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