St Albans 4 Ipswich 7

National South DivisionSt Albans 4 Ipswich 7Ipswich finished four points above the relegation play-off spot thanks to a win over bottom-of-the-table St Albans in their final league game.

National South Division

St Albans 4 Ipswich 7

Ipswich finished four points above the relegation play-off spot thanks to a win over bottom-of-the-table St Albans in their final league game.

Although Ipswich went into Sunday's game with needing a win to mathematically guarantee them National League hockey next season, St Albans had the unlikely task of beating Ipswich by 24 goals while hoping Plymouth and Oxford would both lose to reach the play-off sport.

Andy Middleton and Simon Miller were drafted back into the Ipswich side at the expense of the reliable pair of Andy Swindin and Geoffrey Reed.

Cambridge student Middleton declared himself fit for the match but unfortunately had to pull out due to a broken toe nail in the warm up, youngster Ben Glading stepping into his place.

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From the off the visitors imposed their superiority on the home side. It didn't take them long to score the first of eleven goals on the sunny afternoon in St Albans. After three minutes Dixon dragged a penalty corner home. Two minutes later the red-hot Evans blasted an unstoppable shot past the helpless St Albans keeper.

For the next 20 minutes Ipswich controlled the game but began to let the tempo drop. After 25 minutes they paid the price when Dixon failed to clear his lines, youngster Dave Nickling capitalising by shooting through the legs of Glading in goal. Ipswich reacted well, pressing the home side further and further back until Ivan Smith hammered home a deflected cross.

Ipswich knew it was vital for them to snatch the first goal after half time and Evans did so in the 41st minute. However, St Albans immediately made a reply when Asif Rais first made a tackle but then on his own goal line passed the ball straight to Andrew Miller who slotted home for St Albans. More embarrassment was to follow when five minutes later a mix up by Fulker and Dixon resulted in a penalty stroke being awarded which was coolly slotted home by Nicolas Seagrave.

Again Ipswich came back fighting though and the midfield quartet of Wrinch, Messant, Miller and Fulker were running the show. Fulker went close on one occasion when he powered past veteran Paul Bolland, playing a one-two with Roosblad, but then evaded the keeper by elegantly flying through the air before running the ball off the side of the pitch. It wasn't long before he got on the score sheet though, tapping home after a delightful piece of skill by Simon Miller. Evans added another a minute later to claim his first hat trick of the season.

St Albans then claimed another back before Evans scored the goal of the game when he turned a defender and fired home in off the post much to the amazement of his team mates who were speechless at his performance.

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