Ipswich 4 Wapping 2

NE14hockey East Men’s League

Premier A

AFTER a tough series of opening fixtures, Ipswich approached the Wapping game with a sense of optimism despite being seated third from the bottom of the league table. With a full squad of 14 players, following the return of Tom Parry in defence and Tom Watson in Midfield, Ipswich knew that with a good performance they are capable of beating any team in the league.

Ipswich began the game not firing at 100% but managed to soaked up any pressure Wapping applied. Ipswich finally woke up and began to string passes together, this led to a break away down the right, Dixon beating the left back and striking the ball into the D looking for a back post deflection, Ben Underwood was on hand to slot the cross home to put the home team 1-0 up. Ipswich then dominated possession for the next period of the game with an emphasis on trying to retain possession and dictate the pace of the game. Wapping were handed a freak goal where a misplaced pass from their midfield was left by Ben Glading in goal, thinking it would be going off for a 16 yard hit, only for the ball to hit the post and rebound straight back to their centre forward, who duly tapped it into the empty goal.

Undeterred Ipswich continued to apply pressure on the Wapping back line, resulting in a penalty corner being awarded for a mistimed challenge on Josh Godfrey. With Dixon off the pitch Tom Parry was on hand to strike at goal, this was saved by the keeper only to deflect back to Godfrey who after an entanglement with the Wapping post man gained a penalty flick. The responsibility of this, with two of the three primary penalty flick takers injured and one sat on the bench, fell on the broad shoulders of Ben Underwood, who calmly converted from the spot to make it 2-1 Ipswich going into half time.

Ipswich knew that the next goal would be pivotal and started the second half brightly, it didn’t take long before they got their reward, following some great work form Godfrey, Underwood and Richardson, Australian Jason Brockelhurst found himself one on one with the keeper and calmly slotted the ball past to make it 3-1 Ipswich. After the goal Ipswich then found themselves down to 10 men for a short period of time, Matt Richardson being awarded a yellow card for failing to retreat five yards after a free hit had been awarded. Some composed passing out of the back form Fry, Gordon, Patel and Parry as well as tireless running from Wrinch and Richardson absorbed any pressure applied by Wapping’s numerical advantage. Midway through the second half with Richardson back on the pitch Ipswich were awarded a penalty corner following a Wapping foot in the D, with Dixon on the pitch the captain flicked high, hitting the diving Wapping keeper in the face, deflecting off his helmet and over the clubhouse behind the goal.

Ipswich then continued to dominate possession, eliminating the wasteful passes found in their first-half performance. The best goal was saved for last with some good interlinking of passes between Richardson and Underwood, Richardson provided a perfect ball played into the D from the 25 yard line, straight onto the charging Jason Blacks stick for a one yard back post tap in. Four one up with three minutes to go, with the points seemingly won Ipswich were guilty of letting their foot off the gas, something that had happened the week before and cost them three points, this allowed an opportunity for the Wapping front line to pounce and score a last minute goal making it 4-2 at full time.

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Man of the match was shared by Godfrey and Underwood, who were tireless and dangerous up front all game. Although thrilled to have gained three points the Ipswich squad knew that the performance was not at their best. If Ipswich were to win the remainder of their league games up to Christmas they would have to raise intensity by at least another 25%. The win also elevated Ipswich up the league table to eighth.

Next weekend Ipswich travel to Chelmsford face their local rivals who currently sit one point and one place beneath them in the league. The last time the two sides met Chelmsford beat Ipswich to relegate them from the National League, motivation enough to play any derby game at the tempo required.

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