Ipswich 2 Oxford Hawks 1
Investec English Hockey League
Women’s Conference East
AFTER a hard-fought game played in temperatures touching 28 degrees Ipswich maintained their winning start and top of the table placing in the Investec EHL East League.
A great opening 20 minutes saw Ipswich build the foundations of their 2-1 win over league newcomers Oxford Hawks.
The win was even more pleasing as again the Suffolk side were missing several players due to injury and other commitments. Stalwart Vicky Sandall, answered the call of coach Lister and her place in the squad made a huge difference.
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Ipswich started superbly moving the ball around with great confidence and were rewarded with a short corner after some super play by Faye Curran. Vice Captain Charlotte Anderson despatched her shot with venom on the fifth minute, it was her 10th goal in the EHL and also gave the home side the perfect start.
Two minutes later and Ipswich’s young striker Kitty McWhirter showed her class with an amazing diving reverse stick deflection. Another strong run by Curran, was followed with a pin point cross and the diving McWhirter deflected the ball high into the net. It was the second goal in two games for the 15-year-old and was no more than she deserved.
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Hawks were rocking and Ipswich looked to make their discomfort worse but the home team could not find that third goal. Seventeen-year-old Alice Poole came on for her EHL debut and the teenager did very well, playing out of position in midfield.
Ipswich were dominating but as the game wore on Hawks had their chances at two short corners, however the home team’s defence dealt with the threat well and the half time whistle was welcomed by both sides as they looked for some shade.
It was a different game in the second half as Hawks came out to play and Ipswich were guilty of sitting back a bit too much.
However the home team worked tirelessly in the hot weather and man of the match Fran Tew and her fellow defenders, Hannah Tallent, Kat Wrinch, Charlie Anderson and GK Mariette Rix ensured that the Ipswich goal was never in real danger.
Hawks though continued to press and they got their reward on the 47th minute with a good finish after Rix had made the initial save.
It was now about Ipswich gaining control of the game, whilst Hawks looked for at least a point.
Some great work by the entire team but especially Faye Curran up front saw Ipswich time and time again deny Hawks an open opportunity to threaten the goal.
With time running out Hawks had a short corner but Rix made a great stick save and it was to be the final chance for the away side as Ipswich maintained possession of the ball to see out time.
It was another improving display from this young Ipswich team and against their toughest opponents yet it proves that they have the mental and physical attributes to win when the pressure is on.