Harleston 0 Ipswich 2
English Hockey League
Women’s Conference East
THIS was probably Ipswich’s worst performance of the season so far but despite the off day the reigning EHL East Conference Champions still had enough to see off Norfolk rivals Harleston 2-0.
Ipswich started the brighter creating the first set of chances but three shots in succession were dealt with comfortably by the Harleston keeper and ex-Ipswich player Charlotte Lee-Smith.
After a good start Ipswich seemed to fall asleep and it was the home team that took control of the game. Harleston threw all they had at Ipswich and only the alertness of Caroline Stuart in the Ipswich goal and some lacklustre finishing kept the home side out.
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With the visitors not even close to playing at their normal level it was a frustrating first half for the Suffolk side but having withstood everything Harleston threw at them Ipswich knew that the second half was a chance to stamp their authority on the game.
It was more the real Ipswich team that started the second half and straight away it became apparent that Harleston could not live with the change of pace that had been injected into the game.
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With Millie McWhirter, Chloe Hunnable and Jess Bloom causing havoc in the Hraleston defence it seemed only a matter of time before Ipswich opened the scoring. Sure enough a crass tackle on Hannah Martin saw a short corner awarded and Ipswich took their chance. Anni Broster scoring her 6th goal in 6 games on the 54th minute.
It was now all the about the Suffolk team and the home side were reduced to last ditch tackles to contain Bloom and her fellow forwards. This saw Harleston reduced to 10 players twice in the match and with player of the match Charlie Anderson marshalling the Ipswich defence superbly the 3 points looked to be heading to Suffolk.
On the 70th minute Bloom made the game safe with a great goal. A run that saw her one on one with Lee-Smith and she showed great composure to place the ball in the back of the net.
It was certainly not a vintage display from Ipswich but one that showed what the Champions are made of and how much belief they have in each other.
The league now takes a week break and restarts with Ipswich welcoming league leaders Chelmsford to Tuddenham Road. With only one point separating the teams this will be another huge derby game that Ipswich will be looking to win.