Sudbury 2 Ipswich II 1
Premier Division - Sudbury 2 Ipswich II 1IPSWICH travelled away to local rivals Sudbury for Saturday's East Women's League Premier Division game expecting a physical game on and off the ball, and they were not disappointed.
Premier Division - Sudbury 2 Ipswich II 1
IPSWICH travelled away to local rivals Sudbury for Saturday's East Women's League Premier Division game expecting a physical game on and off the ball, and they were not disappointed. With a young squad, Ipswich knew it would be a real test of how far they have developed already this season. Losing several key squad members as they move up to the 1st XI in the National League has made space for new players to make their mark, and this was a challenge the team had been keenly anticipating.
From the start of the game, Sudbury, fielding three ex-Ipswich first team players, impressed their trademark style on the game. With a strength advantage, Sudbury used experience and brute force to push high and keep the Ipswich defence on their toes. However, in only their third game playing together as a team, the Ipswich defence worked well as a coherent unit, soaking up the pressure, remaining calm under extended periods of attack and overload situations. Kat Wrinch's decisive calls and Sam Bennett's work rate in particular helped to settle the defence, with captain Claire Gould in goal quick off her line to halt the Sudbury attack.
The breakthrough came after 15 minutes, when Ipswich found themselves overrun and overstretched and an unmarked player was able to slot the first goal home for Sudbury. A run of short corners followed and were successfully defended with Anni Broster proving her worth in a borrowed gumshield to charge down the strike, and Beth Scott once again in impressive form, clearing off the line. Sudbury maintained their constant pressure, however, and a second goal followed an uncharacteristic spell of goal mouth confusion by the Ipswich defence.
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Ipswich were dealt another blow when late in the first half, left back stalwart Hannah Godfrey had her foot hooked out from under her and limped off to sit out the rest of the match with a badly bruised ankle.
The second half saw Ipswich start much brighter with renewed confidence and they quickly showed Sudbury the game was not theirs yet. Having reorganised the defence, debutant Kate Watson enjoyed a long spell at right back, pushing high to support Phoebe Walker and Anna Sherring on the right wing. With vice-captain Jenny Ellis working characteristically hard on the left, the game was turned around and Ipswich were in the ascendance for the first time. Midfield bastion Sophie Kesterton saw her chance to push through into the crowded Sudbury D, and won a 'magic corner' for absent coach, Mark Wheelhouse. Connie Bedingfield and Fiona Lane linked well together to keep the pressure up on the left, but it was player-of-the-match Wrinch who drove from deep in the Ipswich defence to set up a flowing move into the D by Lane and Broster, with Sherring providing a confident finish that belied her young years.
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Ipswich were disappointed not to capitalise on other chances during the second half, which they dominated with superior ability and fitness.
However, the team came away confident that they are rapidly developing into a side to be reckoned with as they look further ahead to the first step in the defence of their national title - the England Hockey 2nd XI cup, at home on November 4.