Oxted 5 Ipswich 1

Conference EastOxted 5 Ipswich 1IPSWICH hover dangerously above the relegation zone following this defeat to champions-elect Oxted.After a series of weather-induced cancellations, Ipswich's men finally got the second half of their season underway, but it proved to be a disappointing weekend.

Conference East

Oxted 5 Ipswich 1

IPSWICH hover dangerously above the relegation zone following this defeat to champions-elect Oxted.

After a series of weather-induced cancellations, Ipswich's men finally got the second half of their season underway, but it proved to be a disappointing weekend.


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The team travelled away to table-toppers Oxted and, despite a solid performance, were beaten 5-1.

The defeat means that Ipswich hover dangerously close to the relegation zone, with closest rivals City of Peterborough just two points behind having played a game less.

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Ipswich began the match the brightest and shocked the league-leaders when they scored the opening goal in only the second minute. Ed Driver fired a free hit into the danger area from the left to Mark Wrinch, whose deflected shot looped over the goalkeeper's head and into the net.

Oxted took just three minutes to find an equaliser thanks to Richard Appleton, who evaded a number of tackles to fire a powerful reverse stick shot from the left into the bottom right corner of the net.

Despite the quick response, Ipswich were still the team playing arguably the better hockey and had good goal scoring opportunities thwarted by the meanest defence in the league, being marshalled by South African international Ken Forbes.

At the other end, the champions-elect were beginning to find cracks in the Ipswich defence and moved into a 3-1 lead thanks to clever finishes from Thornton McDade - another South African international - and Sussex County Cricket all-rounder Neil Turk.

The home side could have been even further ahead were it not for a couple of stunning saves late in the half from goalkeeper Tony Burch.

Ipswich played some more excellent hockey at the start of the second half, with teenagers Mickey Franklin and Jonny Gall both having outstanding games in deep midfield roles.

Eventually though, Ipswich began to crumble and Oxted's quality emerged as Ant Rapson and Richard Arscott moved them into a 5-1 lead.

Ipswich worked hard to find more goals, and went close with a couple of Keir Dixon penalty corner efforts, but it was Oxted who were deserving winners on this occasion.

Ipswich coach Iain Gall was upbeat despite the loss, believing that the team's lack of match play was a key factor in the defeat. He said: “Oxted are a decent side but at times we played some really great hockey against them today, especially in the first half. They were lucky enough to play last week, and just looked that little bit sharper than us because of it.”

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