Oxford Hawks 4 Ipswich 2

Slazenger Men's EHLSouth DivisionOxford Hawks 4 Ipswich 2Ipswich crashed to a disappointing defeat to bottom of the table Oxford on Sunday. Previous to this match Oxford had only been able to chalk up eight points, but the Hawks are experienced survivors in the league and were able to call upon a number of non-regulars.

Slazenger Men's EHL

South Division

Oxford Hawks 4 Ipswich 2

Ipswich crashed to a disappointing defeat to bottom of the table Oxford on Sunday.


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Previous to this match Oxford had only been able to chalk up eight points, but the Hawks are experienced survivors in the league and were able to call upon a number of non-regulars. These included Welsh international Huw Jones, former BUSA player of the year Jordache Rawson, former Bath Buccaneers star Ben Edgell and a host of others.

A completely reformed Hawks side were ready for visitors Ipswich who also are clinging to league safety by the skin of their teeth. The Suffolk side welcomed back short corner specialist Keir Dixon, whose feet still ached from an intense walkathon around the Italian capital and skilful midfielder Phil Messant was back in the squad after a month out with a fractured hand.

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From the first whistle Oxford instantly put pressure on the Ipswich defence. Ipswich seemed cautious about the bouncy pitch and were consistently handing possession back to the home side who took full advantage. Zimbabwean Jordache Rawson opened the scoring with a controversial goal after a shin pad was on the floor distracted the defence and goalkeeper Middleton.

The first 15 minutes was possibly some of the worst hockey played by Ipswich all season. Despite their poor start, Ipswich managed to create their first real chance of the match though when a delightful aerial pass by Keir Dixon cleared the Hawks defence and put Evans through on goal. Evans however aimlessly squared the ball looking for Rutterford, misplacing the pass in the process.

This chanced started a period of domination for the visitors who, on 14 minutes, gained a short corner. A ferocious drag flick beat keeper Tate but was illegally stopped on the goal line, resulting in a penalty stroke which Evans dispatched with ease.

The Ipswich midfield then started to make an impact on the game, managing to play out the rest of the half. Despite this, Ipswich were fortunate to go into the break on level terms.

The visitor's second half game plan was to frustrate the home side by keeping possession and not conceding any more goals. Contrary to their instructions from coach Fry, Ipswich surrendered possession all to easily on their left hand side. The impressive Jones managed to wriggle past three Ipswich defenders before placing the ball on Swallow's foot. Rawson converted with an impressive flick to put Hawks 2-1 up to the rapturous applause of the home fans.

Again Ipswich reacted well to the setback and endeavoured to score an equaliser. The Oxford Hawks defence stood firm though and snuffed out any attack Ipswich threw at them.

After 51 minutes Asif Rais made a costly mistake when he lost the ball just outside his own circle to Huw Jones who squared to John Billington who slotted into an empty net.

Ipswich now caved in, a characteristic which they would have associated themselves with at the start of season. Rutterford was sent to the sin bin for a rash challenge and Evans followed shortly for verbal abuse, which resulted in a fine of £5 toward Ipswich's disciplinary policy. Even with nine men Ipswich showed character and attacked Oxford, creating their best chance of the game. A through ball from Smith to Reed, whose first touch was a bit heavy, rounded the keeper but failed to find the net.

Hawks took advantage of their extra two man, making the score 4-1 after 62 minutes. Ipswich's first reaction was still to attack, gaining two more short corners, one of which Dixon scored from, another from which he forced a breathtaking save from Dov Tate in the Oxford goal.

The game finished 4-2 to a determined Oxford Hawks who on the day showed they wanted the points more than their visitors.

Ipswich now face the daunting prospect of hosting the champions Old Georgians next week at Tuddenham Road. The Suffolk side are going to have to drastically improve not only their performance but their attitude and application to mount a challenge in next week's fixture.

Despite the negative setback on Sunday, Ipswich still sit fourth from bottom and five points clear of relegation, but will need three points from their remaining three fixtures in order to secure their future in the National League.

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