Penalty heartache for Ipswich

National Indoor Hockey Championships - semi-finalBowdon Hightown 6 Ipswich 6 (Bowdon won 2-1 on penalty strokes)Ipswich suffered the heartache of losing on penalty strokes following a dramatic 6-6 draw in the National Indoor Finals held at the NIA, Birmingham on Sunday.

National Indoor Hockey Championships - semi-final

Bowdon Hightown 6 Ipswich 6 (Bowdon won 2-1 on penalty strokes)

Ipswich suffered the heartache of losing on penalty strokes following a dramatic 6-6 draw in the National Indoor Finals held at the NIA, Birmingham on Sunday.

The pain was even worse considering Ipswich played some scintillating hockey and had even opened up a 4-1 lead at one point.


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A superb opening five minutes saw Ipswich race into a 3-0 lead with Emma Lee-Smith scoring an amazing hat trick. Hightown then pulled a goal back through Tina Cullen to make it 3-1, but Leisa King fired home to restore Ipswich's three goal cushion.

The lead did not last long though, as Cullen scored two goals in as many minutes to make the score 4-3 at half time.

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With Ipswich still feeling in control and moving the ball well it was no surprise when Lee-Smith scored her fourth goal in the 24th minute to give Ipswich a 5-3 lead. Hightown kept fighting though and were awarded a penalty stroke when King stopped the ball on the line with her body while defending a penalty corner. Cullen made no mistake, placing the ball high into the net to claim both her and her sides fourth goal of the game to make the score 5-4.

Just two minutes later and Hightown pulled level via a short corner from Nicky O'Donnell. The momentum was now with the Manchester based team and Ipswich had to fight hard to maintain possession of the ball.

With five minutes to go Hightown took the lead for the first time, another short corner this time converted by Claire Parkhill. Ipswich though were not going to give up and King fired them level with only a minute left on the clock.

By now the tension was almost unbearable but Ipswich had one last chance to win the game when they won a short corner in the dying seconds. The shot flew agonizingly wide and the lottery of penalty strokes was confirmed.

King fired Ipswich into a 1-0 lead but Cullen equalised. Lee-Smith then saw her stroke saved, while Hightown scored theirs. Captain Becky Baker then also saw her stroke saved and Ipswich knew their indoor dream was over for another year.

A club spokesperson said: “It was a great effort by the team and they can be proud of the way they played. The club would like to say a huge thank you to all our supporters, Seven, our loyal and dedicated sponsors, Debbie Golding our Physio, and our coaches and managers. A final thanks though must go to Jo Gray for being Seve the Ipswich Mascot Lion for the day, it was very hot work.”

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