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League leaders Ipswich battle for a point at West Herts

Kristine Ayling was Ipswich's player of the match in the draw at West Herts. Picture: PETER SAVAGE

Kristine Ayling was Ipswich's player of the match in the draw at West Herts. Picture: PETER SAVAGE

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East Premier League

West Herts 1

Ipswich 1

Ipswich made the trip to Watford with a depleted squad and players battling injuries and illness – but despite being up against it the league leaders dug in deep and gained a well-earned point, writes Emma Millar.

Action from Ipswich's 1-1 draw at West Herts. Ipswich are in blue. Picture: LEN KERSWILL Action from Ipswich's 1-1 draw at West Herts. Ipswich are in blue. Picture: LEN KERSWILL

A change of tactics by coach Mariette Rix saw Ipswich play differently in the first half but in miserable, rainy weather it was the home team that looked the sharper.

Ipswich though were defending well and keeping their hosts out.

A couple of penalty corners for both teams were well defended, and then a good breakaway move by West Herts saw them take the lead.

Action from Ipswich's 1-1 draw at West Herts. Ipswich are in blue. Picture: LEN KERSWILL Action from Ipswich's 1-1 draw at West Herts. Ipswich are in blue. Picture: LEN KERSWILL

Ipswich dug in deep and some smart saves by Ali Barham in goal kept the scoreline at 1-0 as the match reached half-time.

The Suffolk side knew that they could get something out the game and the second half started with them pressing the home team’s defence, which led to some great turnover ball.

It was now Ipswich looking the more threatening and a goal looked to be on the cards.

Action from Ipswich's 1-1 draw at West Herts. Ipswich are in blue. Picture: LEN KERSWILL Action from Ipswich's 1-1 draw at West Herts. Ipswich are in blue. Picture: LEN KERSWILL

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It duly arrived as some brilliant skills by player of the match Kristine Ayling down the right hand side allowed her to cross the ball in front of goal for Chloe Williams to force in.

The home side looked shocked and Ipswich went looking for the winner.

Action from Ipswich's 1-1 draw at West Herts. Ipswich are in blue. Picture: LEN KERSWILL Action from Ipswich's 1-1 draw at West Herts. Ipswich are in blue. Picture: LEN KERSWILL

A fantastic run by Lizzy Wheelhouse down the right saw her cross the ball towards 15-year-old rookie Frankie Rogers, who had made a great run and she was really unlucky to see her deflection just go wide.

The match was Rogers’ debut and she did extremely well playing out of position.

With time ticking on West Herts had one more chance, winning a penalty cormer with 90 seconds left on the clock. But, once again, the superb Barham in goal and her fellow Ipswich defenders kept the ball out.

Whilst it was frustrating to not have a fully fit squad and be able to play their normal game Ipswich were happy with the attitude and application and will look forward to welcoming Old Loughtonians to Tuddenham Road this weekend.

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