Ipswich Cranes 4 University of East Anglia 3
NE14Hockey Men’s East League
RECENTLY promoted Ipswich Cranes began their season in 3NE with some promise after a hard-earned victory over UEA.
The young visitors showed a good turn of pace and some efficient passing moves which proved troublesome for Cranes at times and might have seen the away side get control of the game after a number of short corners went their way, from which Cranes keeper Chris McManus made a series of smart saves.
It was the home team that broke the deadlock after only 10 minutes with front man Robin Johnson rounding off a tidy Cranes move with a well-executed finish.
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UEA fought back well though and they began to control play in midfield, setting up a number of genuine chances to equalise, largely from short corner opportunities, one of which lead to a harshly awarded penalty flick.
A miraculous goal-line stick stop by Kieran Bromley was unfortunately adjudged to have hit his leg by the unsighted umpire and the home side could only watch on in anguish as the UEA forward dispatched the resulting flick.
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It was Cranes who took the initiative once again though just before half-time. Johnson made a quick, direct run before finding the run of strike partner Matt Burden whose smart first touch and turn was rounded off with a half-volleyed finish beyond the on-rushing UEA goalkeeper.
After the break, the visitors took the game to Cranes and a series of short corners went their way after some poorly-timed challenges by the home side.
It was almost inevitable that UEA would eventually convert one of these opportunities and they did just that, despite the best efforts of man-of-the-match goalkeeper Chris McManus to keep them out.
As the game began to turn their way, UEA quickly followed this up with a third goal to take the lead for the first time.
Showing their resolve though, Ipswich Cranes did not give up and big-hitting defender Phillip Larbey equalised with a rocket shot from a rare short corner at the other end.
With the game tightly poised at 3-3, skipper Andrew Bristow lead from the front by latching onto a through ball down the right hand side from Burden before turning inside to finish with a reverse stick shot into the far corner.
This proved to be the final touch in what was an excellent start to the new season for Ipswich Cranes.
Man of the match: Chris McManus.