Harleston 3 Indian Gym 3
England Hockey League
Men's Conference League
Harleston 3 Indian Gymkhana 3
HARLESTON returned to National League action this Sunday facing an Indian Gymkhana side who started the game two places below Harleston. Despite the week break Harleston started strongly moving the ball around well trying to hit Gymkhana early. The traffic was not all one way the away team moving the ball well and carrying the ball long distances with their good stick skills.
Harleston found the break through when Hipwell smashed the ball home from the top of the circle wrong footing the keeper following good work from Baynes down the left. Indian Gym came straight back into the game trying to force Harleston back, Harleston worked hard at channelling the opposition wide forcing them away from goal. Simon Hipwell came on up front and had an instant impact driving strongly inside asking questions of the opposition defence. On one of these powerful runs Hipwell was brought down Baynes reacted fastest taking a quick free hit to Andy Hipwell who's shot took a deflection looping over the strandard keeper and nestling in the back of the net.
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Having to do so much defensive work took its toll on Harleston who were reduced to 10 men for the rest of the half following a badly timed tackle.
Harleston needed to replicate their first-half performance in the second half to earn all three of the points. Indian Gym started the second half the strongest forcing Harleston deeper and deeper, eventually the possession told and Indian Gym pulled a goal back after Harleston lost the ball and the away team slotted the ball home at the back post.
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Harleston now needed to take control of the game and maintain possession of the ball, despite their best efforts the ball was turned over too often again forcing the team back. Indian Gymkhana won a short corner following good stick work deceiving the umpire, the away team dispatched this in unstoppable fashion firing the ball in the top left of the goal leaving the Harleston defence stranded.
Harleston needed to dig deep after seeing their two goal lead evaporate, their course was helped when Indian Gymkhana were themselves reduced to 10 men following a string of bad challenges. Harleston started to keep the ball better and forced a corner of their own which Baynes dispatched superbly low into the goal. Shortly after the Harleston forward line stole the ball leaving a three on two but the ball bobbled agonisingly passed the back post. Again Gymkhana won another corner which following a good routine was saved smartly by Harms but the follow up was forced over the line.
With the scores now level both teams were pushing for the winner it was Harleston who came the closest Ben Gowing unleashing a ferocious shot across the face of the goal. Harleston also had a chance to take all three points at the final whistle but were unable to convert from their short corner.
Next week the team face table topping Old Loughtonians on Sunday in what promises to be a tough test for the squad.