Indian Gymkhana 8 Ipswich 1

Slazenger East MenConference LeagueIndian Gymkhana 8 Ipswich 1THE woes of Ipswich HC Men's first team continued on Sunday due to a heavy loss in West London.

Slazenger East Men

Conference League

Indian Gymkhana 8 Ipswich 1

THE woes of Ipswich HC Men's first team continued on Sunday due to a heavy loss in West London. The Suffolk side were beaten 8-1 by in-form Indian Gymkhana, a team that are currently sitting pretty at the top of the table and look to have everything needed to be crowned as champions of the National League Conference East division. It was a brilliant display by the home team, who simply outclassed their depleted opponents despite 70 minutes of sustained hard work from the Suffolk side.

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For the second week in a row, Ipswich travelled to an away fixture missing key personnel due to illness, injury and unavailability. Penalty corner expert Keir Dixon and defender Asif Rais as well as midfielders Mark Wrinch, Johnny Gall and Ed Driver were all missing from the side. Also adding to the problem was a mystery virus that had struck down teenage sensation Josh Godfrey whilst in on England Under-18 duty in Manchester.

Godfrey declared himself fit and travelled with the side, but Ipswich coach Iain Gall called up attacking cover in the shape of 17-year-old national league debutante Sean Collins. Also coming into the side was another 17-year-old, with former England U16 player Tom Dunnett taking a starting role in midfield.

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Ipswich began the match well, and worked hard to nullify the attacking threat of the skilful Gymkhana players, but found themselves being pressed deep into their own half. Five minutes into the game, Gymkhana's Pravinder Hanspal opened the scoring and it would not be the only time that his family name would appear on the score sheet. Penalty corner expert Jagdeep Gill flicked in a second just four minutes later, before Pravider Hanspal's exceptionally dangerous brother Tejinder Hanspal smashed in the first of his four open play goals to make the score 3-0.

Soon after the goal, Ipswich had to replace the severely fatigued Josh Godfrey with Sean Collins, giving the young Framlingham College player a chance to test himself in the National League.

Despite the 3-0 score line, Ipswich continued to work hard and began to press their opponents deep into their own half, and reduced the deficit in the 28th minute thanks to an excellently worked attacking move. Ivan Smith was the player who put the ball into the net from the left of the circle, but it was excellent passing and movement from Geoff Reid, Rich Stainthorpe and Tom Dunnett that created Smith's opportunity.

The goal had given Ipswich a degree of hope near the end of the first half, but that was all but killed off two minutes into the second period when Tejinder Hanspal made the score 4-1. Pravinder Hanspal claimed his second of the game in the 46th minute before Tejinder completed his hat trick just six minutes later.

Ipswich continued to work hard, but struggled to keep the ball away from their electrifying opponents, who looked capable of scoring every time they moved forward. Gymkhana's Egyptian international Waleed Mohammed scored the best goal of the game in the 54th minute, casually flicking the ball over the head of onrushing Ipswich goalkeeper Tony Burch and into an unguarded net.

Ipswich continued to work hard, and almost scored when Geoff Reed deflected a Rich Stainthorpe cross onto the post, but it was as close as the visitors were going to get in this match.

Gymkhana's Jagdeep Gill should have made it 8-1 from the penalty spot but fired high and wide of the target. However, they were not to be denied their eighth goal which came from the stick of Tejinder Hanspal, who danced around three Ipswich defenders before beating Burch at his near post to finish the scoring.

Ipswich coach Iain Gall commented: “I am obviously disappointed with the result, but I am really pleased with the commitment and effort that the lads put in today. Their work rate was exceptional against the best Indian Gymkhana team that I have ever seen. They were just better than us, and sometimes you just have to accept that.”

Next week, Ipswich face Peterborough at home, a fixture which can only be described as a “must win”. Peterborough currently sit at the bottom of the league, but are just one point behind Ipswich. A win for the Suffolk side could lift them above Chelmsford and out of the relegation zone, providing a real boost to their National League survival ambitions.

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