Ipswich 1 Horsham 1
England Hockey League
Women's Conference East
Ipswich 1 Horsham 1
IPSWICH Hockey Club Ladies first team managed to maintain an unbeaten record and the top spot in the English National League Conference East with a draw against Horsham on the weekend.
The team from Ipswich travelled to Horsham very determined to continue the good start to the season and get another away win under the belt. Horsham however showed that they had other ideas and were not going to allow the visitors an easy day out. Ipswich were dealt a few blows earlier in the week when injury ruled both Millie Sharpe and Jess Bloom out for the game. This however allowed coach, James Kingstone, to bring two new caps, Kat Wrinch and Mitch Chidgey, into the team. Both players will remember their debut game as a very physical and hard fought battle.
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Ipswich controlled most of the play in the first half but were unable to capitalise on their possession. The team will be disappointed with their ability to complete the final pass in the attacking quarter and to convert circle entries into goal scoring opportunities. Despite applying much pressure Ipswich never really threatened the Horsham goal as they were unable to get that final touch or clear shot. Time after time the girls in blue had to be satisfied with defending another Horsham 16 yard restart as they were kept out by a very spirited defensive effort.
Ipswich did manage to force two penalty corners through the course of the first half. The first real excitement of the game came when Lizzy Aldous deflected a lifted ball into the back of the net from a penalty corner. The excitement was short lived as the goal was rightly disallowed after the umpires conferred. Horsham grabbed the opportunity to launch a counter attack against a somewhat dejected Ipswich. Totally against the run of play Horsham managed to capitalise on a moment of unorganised Ipswich defence. Ipswich goalkeeper, Mari�tte Rix, was drawn out of the goal only to be beaten by a final touch that found Fran Crossley who walked the ball across the line to give Horsham the lead at half time.
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In the second half Horsham had more attacking play but the Ipswich defenders, led by the centre back pairing of Charlotte Anderson and Amy Tippen, remained solid. Horsham managed to force two penalty corners in the half but never really looked threatening.
As in the first half Ipswich seemed to enjoy the majority of the possession but did not use it with much effect. Attack after attack was broken down by aggressive and sometimes ungainly Horsham defence. These defensive tactics eventually led to a Horsham player being yellow carded. During this time Ipswich pushed forward with greater numbers but just couldn't penetrate the determined Horsham defence. Horsham just about looked as if they were going to cause an upset and stop Ipswich's ascendancy so far this season, but it was not to be.
Ipswich co-captain, Emma Millar, finally came to the rescue seconds before the final whistle. She reacted quickly and confidently fired a shot into the back of the goal after the ball was put into the circle by Issy Sheldrake. Millar led from the front with a never-say-die attitude and aptly so scored to secure the draw and an important league point for her team.
Despite being disappointed with an unsatisfying performance, Ipswich will be happy that they remain league leaders following some other surprising results on Saturday.
Ipswich will be looking to produce a much more convincing performance next week at home against St Alban's to keep their forward momentum going.