Ipswich Cranes 1 Harleston Magpies IV 1
NE14Hockey East Men’s league
IPSWICH Cranes played their first fixture for a few weeks as the pitches finally thawed to allow this re-arranged fixture against Harleston Magpies to go ahead.
It was the home side that started brighter with some quick attacking hockey leading to early chances but the Harleston defence was well organised and restricted Ipswich’s shooting opportunities to a minimum.
Lack of match practice became evident as minor lapses in concentration developed in the home team’s play.
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After a couple of near misses, the Harleston attack took advantage of a very loose pass from Ipswich Cranes, rounding the stranded defence before slotting past the helpless Chris McManus in goal.
It was against the run of play but Ipswich Cranes steadied themselves to avoid further concession prior to the half-time interval.
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Following a morale-boosting team talk, Ipswich Cranes began the second half determined to put things right in the knowledge they had played the better hockey thus far.
A series of brisk attacks lead to the Cranes forward line stealing in behind the Harleston defence on a number of occasions, setting up chances which forced some fine saves from the ex-national league Harleston keeper.
With minutes remaining, the pressure finally paid off and Ipswich Cranes converted a short corner with Wingy slipping the ball to Burden whose cross-shot was diverted into the net by ‘fox in the box’ Bristow.
As frustration grew with the lack of a winning goal, Cranes Keeper McManus was fortunate to avoid a card when taking out the on-rushing Harleston forward to keep his team in the game late on.
The unfortunate Burden, however, paid the price for some questionable umpiring, with a late yellow card after a harmless showing of petulance at his own missed opportunity.
Alex Bull received the man of the match award for a very useful, hard-working display on the left flank.
A disappointing 1-1 draw certainly left Ipswich Cranes with plenty to stew over during the Christmas break.
Man of the match: Alex Bull