Chelmsford 3 Ipswich 1
English Hockey League
Women’s Conference East
THIS was a typical Ipswich versus Chelmsford derby game in the EHL East Conference, full of passion, commitment and controversy. Unfortunately for Ipswich it was their Essex hosts that took their chances and ran out 3-1 winners.
The game couldn’t have started better for Ipswich, Faye Curran wining a short corner from the first whistle but as was to be the pattern of the match, Chelmsford defended it well and Ipswich could not finish it off.
Despite the good start it was Chelmsford that struck first, opening the scoring on the 9th minute. Ipswich looked rather perplexed and were soon further behind from a converted shirt corner strike.
Ipswich looked rocked and only some great saves by Caroline Stuart in goal kept the Suffolk side in the game.
It took a change of formation to settle Ipswich down and then they started to make chances of their own. But despite both Anni Broster and Chloe Hunnable having good opportunities the ball would not go in the net.
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Half time saw Ipswich regroup and they started to dominate play but Chelmsford always looked dangerous on the break and on the 51st minute they struck again to make it 3-0.
Maybe most other teams would have given up at this point but Ipswich are not most other teams and the defending Champions upped their game and spent the last 20 minutes camped in the Chelmsford half.
Ipswich thought they had started to reduce the deficit but their short corner was judged too high, despite it deflecting off the Chelmsford keeper’s legs.
Finally after another run of corners on the 61st minute they broke through, Jess Bloom forcing the ball over the line.
Ipswich sensed a lifeline and Chelmsford defence were being torn apart. Another corner saw the ball stopped on the line by a Chelmsford’s player’s body but neither umpire spotted the foul and another crucial moment went in the Essex sides favour.
Despite the set back Ipswich continued to pour forward and Hunnable lashed a super cross across the face of the goal but the on rushing Ipswich forward was just a step behind.
The game ended with the score 3-1 and it consigned Ipswich to their first back to back defeat since 2008.
The Suffolk side still sit in second place but are now three points behind leaders Sevenoaks and face a tough home game against 4th placed Surbiton next weekend.
With thre games left Sevenoaks are now hot favourites but the pressure at the top is tough and the Kent side also have two tough games left against. Ipswich must now regroup and focus on this coming game and find the passion, desire and application that they showed in the last 20 minutes against Chelmsford. If they do that then this league race will go right to the wire.