Surbiton 1 Ipswich 1
English Hockey League
Women’s Conference East
IPSWICH’S small but determined squad travelled to leaders Surbiton and held their unbeaten hosts to a 1-1 draw in the EHL East Conference. Whilst satisfied with a point away from home the second placed Suffolk team will be disappointed at not taking their chance to move to the top of the table.
The game started with the home side taking the initiative and only some smart saves by player of the match GK Caroline Stuart kept the scores level. Ipswich were on the back foot but some determined tackling saw them deny Surbiton before they could get the final shot off.
As the half wore on Ipswich began to get a grip of the game and some great work by Vanessa Roberts, Jess Bloom and Issy Sheldrake in midfield saw the visitors start to play some tidy hockey. Sixteen-year-old Katharine Gwynne-Wood was also having a good game and her mazy run led to Ipswich winning their first penalty corner of the game. The resulting effort though was off target.
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Despite this good passage of play Ipswich could not really trouble the Surbiton goal and on the 29th minute the home side finally breached the Ipswich defence. A short corner strike was initially well saved by Stuart but the ball fell kindly for Surbiton and their forward made no mistake in placing the ball in the back of the net from five yards.
Despite the setback Ipswich held firm and a change of formation from coach James Kingstone at half time saw them start the second half with renewed determination.
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Ipswich were suddenly the side causing problems and some great work by Chloe Hunnable and fellow teammates Anni Broster, Jess Bloom and Millie McWhirter were seeing Ipswich begin to carve out some half chances. Hunnable finally found a way through on the 41st minute a super drive down the right saw her unleash a cracking shot into the bottom right hand corner and get her team back on level terms.
Surbiton looked shell shocked to be pegged back and Ipswich could sense and opportunity but to their credit the home side, driven on by ex-GB striker Grant, regrouped and pushed forward and on the 50th minute were awarded a penalty stroke. Stuart bringing down their striker as she aimed to clear the danger. Luckily for Ipswich the resulting stroke flew wide and the match was still in the balance.
As time wore on both teams created chances but Ipswich were soon under pressure again as Chloe Hunnable was shown a yellow card for a stick tackle. Despite being down to 10 men Ipswich worked endlessly and denied Surbiton any clear chances. After 10 minutes Hunnable was back on and Ipswich were once more able to cause the home side problems. With Ipswich’s small squad coach Kingstone was forced to play several players out of position, even having to play defender Kat Wrinch as a make shift striker.
Despite the tiring legs Ipswich were determined to get something from this game and the Suffolk side once more showed their determined attitude as they worked tirelessly across the pitch.
With time running out Ipswich were once more reduced to 10 players. This time Issy Sheldrake being penalised. It was a very harsh card for Sheldrake but nonetheless Ipswich once more under pressure. Despite this setback in the last part of the game the visitors once more showed their heart with some fantastic work rate by all team members.
With three minutes left on the clock Surbiton earned a final penalty corner but another fantastic save by Stuart denied them at the far post.
The final whistle saw the small Ipswich squad happy with a hard earned draw that keeps them only one point behind their leaders.
Next Sunday Ipswich welcome fifth placed Horsham to Tuddenham Road and the team will be looking forward to having a bigger squad to go for the win.