Ipswich enjoy great start
Slazenger Men's EHLSouth DivisionOxted 2 Ipswich 4 Ipswich enjoyed a fantastic start to the new Slazenger National league season with a win over last season's runners-up Oxted.
Slazenger Men's EHL
Oxted 2 Ipswich 4
Ipswich enjoyed a fantastic start to the new Slazenger National league season with a win over last season's runners-up Oxted.
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Ipswich themselves had barely finished above the drop zone last season and with seven players missing from last year's line up, pre-match betting had not been in Ipswich's favour.
However, even with three players away with the Junior East setup, a young Ipswich side put together an outstanding performance.
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After patient build up, Ipswich took the lead after a monstrous aerial ball from Mark Wheelhouse allowed debutant Ben Gallagher to outpace a veteran defence before beating the keeper one-on-one ferociously on his reverse into the top corner.
Ipswich held the ball patiently at the back for the remainder of the first half while an increasingly agitated Oxted chased the game despairingly.
However, after half time Oxted emerged in renewed spirit and despite the best efforts of second half goalkeeper Ed Martin, a new arrival to the club from Australia, their constant pressure began to tell and they scored two quick goals, both on the rebound after fine saves from Martin.
Ipswich then demonstrated great character away from home to come back.
Oxted found Phill Messent too hot to handle on the Ipswich right as captain Ivan Smith scored twice before debutant Tamas Horovitz, a Hungarian under-18 international, put the final nail in the Oxted coffin, midfield bastion Mark Wrinch providing the assist.
Captain Smith said: “The defensive platform laid down by the back four was the best we've seen at Ipswich in many years, with special mention going to debutant Mark Wheelhouse, who put in a man of the match performance.
“It was obviously great to score twice myself but the team performance and attitude was the most pleasing thing.”
Ipswich play two games next weekend, they face newly promoted Cambridge University away on Saturday and then play their first home game of the season against Bromley and Beckingham on Sunday. With the students losing 5-2 and Bromley drawing 5-5 a bucketful of goals look to be on the cards.