Clifton 3 Ipswich 2
Slazenger England League Premier Division Clifton 3 Ipswich 2IPSWICH travelled back to Suffolk on Saturday evening with a bitter taste in their mouths after having had, what they felt was, a perfectly good goal disallowed.
Slazenger England League
Clifton 3 Ipswich 2
IPSWICH travelled back to Suffolk on Saturday evening with a bitter taste in their mouths after having had, what they felt was, a perfectly good goal disallowed.
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The goal would have given them at least a point in this closely contested opening match of the season and it would have been hard for either team to argue that would not have been a fair result.
Ipswich took the lead in this match when a cross by Emma Millar found Lizzy Aldous unmarked in the circle and she showed great composure to blast the ball past Gemma Ible in the Clifton goal.
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Despite the setback the home side pushed forward and, within five minutes, they were level when a powerful short corner strike deflection gave Claire Gould no chance in the Ipswich goal.
Clifton continued to press forward and looked the most likely team to score again, however, a great goal line clearance by Kirsten Spencer and some solid play by Gould in goal saw half time arrive with the scores still locked at 1-1.
The second half saw Ipswich coach Royce Waters swap his goalkeepers and South African international Mariette Rix made her English league debut.
Unfortunately within four minutes she had conceded her first goal as an Ipswich defender turned the ball past her into the net.
Behind for the first time, Ipswich suddenly started to come to life. Some great runs by the Ipswich forward line of Sarah Daley, Chloe Hunnable and Lizzy Aldous were linked with the early ball from midfield and the Clifton defence were ripped apart.
A sweeping move down the left saw the ball passed to Emma Lee-Smith, who eliminated her defender with ease and drove towards the circle. With great composure Lee-Smith waited for the ball to hit the line and then unleashed a superb shot into the bottom corner of the goal.
Ipswich celebrated but, while Clifton collected the ball and headed back to the halfway line for the restart, it emerged that both teams had missed the umpire signalling for a 16-yard hit. Ipswich were left dumbstruck by the decision and, despite protesting via their captain Vic Sandall, the goal was not given.
Trying to ignore the baffling decision Ipswich continued where they left off and had Clifton under immense pressure. Sure enough another chance was created when Aldous, using her pace and power to drive along the back line, was fouled as she was about to shoot. A penalty stroke was given and Aldous converted to level the score.
Sensing the game was heading away from them, Clifton responded and only a great reflex save by Rix in goal kept them out.
Then, with four minutes left, Clifton exposed the Ipswich defence and a great shot rattled into the bottom corner of the goal to give them a 3-2 lead which they held onto despite some heavy Ipswich pressure.