Holcombe 6 Ipswich 1

Slazenger East Men's LeagueConferenceHolcombe 6 Ipswich 1 DESPITE a strong start, Ipswich fell to another heavy defeat in their battle to avoid the drop, losing 6-1 against Kent side Holcombe.

Slazenger East Men's League

Conference

Holcombe 6 Ipswich 1

DESPITE a strong start, Ipswich fell to another heavy defeat in their battle to avoid the drop, losing 6-1 against Kent side Holcombe. The visitors dominated the opening 10 minutes, but a questionable penalty stroke awarded to Holcombe knocked Ipswich out of their stride and the talented home team took full advantage.


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However, it was not all bad news for Ipswich as fellow relegation rivals Chelmsford and Peterborough also suffered heavy losses, meaning that an Ipswich victory in next week's end-of-season clash against Chelmsford could seal their National League survival.

Ipswich were without veteran defender Asif Rais and England U16 star Jonny Gall for the match against Holcombe, but welcomed Richard Stainthorpe and Mark Wrinch back into the fold following their unavailability last week. Holcombe were lucky enough to have a full strength squad that included former Great Britain internationals Andrew West and Dave Mathews, as well as South Africa's Ryan Ravenscroft.

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Despite their illustrious opponents, it was Ipswich who dominated the opening stages of the match. Five minutes into the game, the electric Keir Dixon burst through on goal only to be cynically fouled by Ravenscroft. The umpire awarded Ipswich a penalty corner, but refused to send off the South African international.

Ipswich failed to convert the set piece, and Holcombe worked hard to get themselves into the match. In the 10th minute, the home side won a controversial penalty flick which Mathews converted emphatically. Ipswich were two down just a minute later when West smashed home a penalty corner before Liam Forster made it three goals in four minutes with a well-taken field goal. Ipswich tried hard to compose themselves and get back into the match, but Holcombe began playing with confidence and eventually scored a fourth when Mathews tapped in from close range just before half time.

Ipswich began the second half very much as they did the first, pressing their opponents back into their own half. After a period of dominance, Ipswich finally pulled a goal back thanks to an expertly finished penalty corner from Keir Dixon that flew high into the roof of the net to make the score 4-1. Sadly for Ipswich, goals from Yasser Khan and Danny Laslett killed off any hopes of a revival, and gave Holcombe a deserved victory.

Ipswich captain Ivan Smith was hugely disappointed with the result, but pleased with certain aspects of his team's performance. “We played them off the park in the first 10 minutes but then completely lost our way. However, we played some great hockey in the second half, which is good news for us ahead of the Chelmsford game. Next week will be tough, but I am certain that we are capable of getting the right result.”

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