Harleston 1 Ipswich 1

Investec English Hockey League

Women’s Conference East

IPSWICH remain unbeaten and still sit top of the Investec East Conference table after a 1-1 draw with Harleston on Saturday.

It was always going to be a tough game for the Suffolk team as they travelled with only 12 players due to losing four key members of the squad to High Performance training camps and other commitments. Whilst initially disappointed with dropping two points, ultimately it was a good away point won by this battling team.

Harleston started the better but could not create scoring opportunities despite their pressure. Ipswich finally started to get a grip of the game and some good play by Anni Broster and Annie Nunn in midfield was causing problems for the home team. On the 17th minute Ipswich took the lead. Micha Knowles scoring her second goal in only her second appearance in the team, after an initial shot by Anni Broster.

Ipswich looked to extend their lead but the game was mainly being played out in the middle of the pitch. Harleston then had their first real opportunity from a short corner but the strike was saved by player of the match Mariette Rix in the Ipswich goal.

Half time saw Ipswich coach Sandie Lister remind her team of their need to play simple hockey yet Ipswich started the second half slightly off the pace and it was the home side that looked to step up the pressure.

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Harleston thought they had equalized from a short corner but the shot was illegal and after conferring both umpires agreed.

Ipswich then started to show flashes of their ability to play good hockey and only a good save by the Harleston keeper kept the visitors from extending their lead.

The home side however looked to push forward again and Ipswich defenders Hannah Tallent, Alice Poole, Charlie Anderson and Kat Wrinch were working hard to deny them opportunities.

With such a small squad tiredness was starting to take its toll and the Norfolk side finally drew level from another disputed short corner. This time the umpires did not agree with the Ipswich perception that the first shot was too high and the goal stood. With only seven minutes left the game became frenetic as both teams chased the win.

The final whistle saw Harleston the happier team and left Ipswich with a few areas to work on this week in training.

With a full squad to choose from next week Lister will be keen to get her team back to playing the hockey they know they can and take on board the lessons learnt from this game.

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