East Anglian derby may well decide who finishes bottom

Sarah Bamfield in action

Sarah Bamfield in action - Credit: James Ager

Ipswich 1 Wimbledon 1

Ipswich claimed a good point at home against Wimbledon in the Investec East League and would have stolen the win had it not been for a great last second save by the away team’s keeper.

The Suffolk hosts started the game at a brilliant pace, not allowing Wimbledon a sniff of possession for the first 10 minutes. A series of short corners were well defended though.

The away side then started to get their passing game going and looked to try and hit Ipswich with a long ball break. Goalkeeper Mariette Rix was up to the challenge and made two smart saves.

Ipswich again surged forward in a topsy-turvy match, Lowri Davies causing issues with her direct runs and pace, while Chloe Hunnable was also creating chances. Wimbledon ended up giving away a run of corners but once again Ipswich could not get the ball in the net, Clare Poole being denied by a great save.

Ipswich striker Leanne Penny then suffered a nasty ankle injury and had to go off, the Irish player a big miss due to her desire and determination up front.

Then, one minute before half-time, Wimbledon hit the home team with a sucker punch and scored on a breakaway.

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It would have been easy for Ipswich to feel hard done by but coach Sandie Lister reminded them of the positives and her side started the second half on the front foot.

Ipswich once again won several corners but once more the final piece of the puzzle just would not fit. Captain Emma Millar then had a good chance but had her stick hooked as she was about to shoot.

With time running out Wimbledon took the ball into the corner but some great work by vice-captain Charlie Anderson saw Ipswich back regain possession. Sophie Sunderland surged forward and found Davies, she used her pace to enter the D and then found Sarah Bamfield with a great pass, the striker finishing with aplomb to score her fourth goal of the season and claim a vital point.

Seconds after the re-start Ipswich once more attacked the D but this time the away team’s keeper was alert and closed down Davies as she shot.

The game ended 1-1 and, while happy to fight back for a point, Ipswich knew they had created enough to take all three points. However, it was a performance that gives the team a great deal of confidence for the remaining four games.

Chelmsford 2 Harleston Magpies 1

Chelmsford recorded their first victory of the season to raise their hopes of survival.

In what has been a difficult and often frustrating season for the Essex team, the three points were a welcome addition to the tally and suddenly there is a chance of jumping out of the automatic relegation spot as early as next weekend.

Having drawn 2-2 with Harleston Magpies earlier in the season, Chelmsford were confident that three points were a possibility on their home turf. The game started at a frenetic pace, with the best of the possession and territory belonging to the home side. Chances were few and far between early on, with a resolute Magpies defence repelling any serious chances.

Chelmsford took the lead after a well-worked penalty corner. Kate Taylor was given the opportunity to deflect the ball into the back of the net after the attack had spread the defence far with some slick passing.

The lead was, however, short-lived as a rare Magpies counter-attack broke down the right flank, the cross picked out a free striker who rifled a powerful shot into the bottom corner. The speed of the attack was quite a shock to the system after Chelmsford had been the team on top for much of the half, but the teams went in level at half-time.

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first with chances few and far between for both teams.

It was Chelmsford who regained the lead after 48 minutes with another well-worked short corner. This time the slip to Hayley Heggie was powerfully struck across the keeper.

What followed was a nervy 20 minutes. Chelmsford were desperate to hold on and record that first victory of the season, but Harleston got back into the game step by step. Spurred on by a vocal crowd, Chelmsford held their composure to maintain their slender lead through to the final whistle. Celebrations once the result was assured were of a particularly relieved nature, given the nature and timing of the victory.

With just four games to go, Chelmsford next travel to fellow strugglers Ipswich. With just two points separating the bottom two sides, Chelmsford will be looking to use their new momentum to overtake their local rivals and escape the automatic relegation spot.

Mixed national Trophy

Long Sutton 1 Harleston Magpies 8

Harleston Magpies eased into the next round of the National Mixed Trophy with an 8-1 victory at Long Sutton.

It was the second season in a row that the Norfolk side made the long journey to Lincolnshire in this competition and once again they were victorious.

A largely unchanged team saw outfielder Ewan Cumming make his mixed debut, replacing the injured Megan Adams in goal.

Long Sutton started brightly, attacking strongly through the midfield and firing a strong, high reverse stick shot dangerously into the air. This wake up call kick-started the Magpies into life and they responded with Martin Fields making a strong run into the circle before finishing smartly.

The lead was doubled when, following a short corner, Katrina Sitch struck a highly accurate pass back to injector Richard Larkin and he deflected the ball smartly into the goal.

With the away players now relaxing, Magpies enjoyed their best spell of the match. Sam Moore and Lizzy Clymer continued to form a superb partnership with their interplay allowing Fields to score another.

Cumming was called into action once and the alert keeper saved well from a well-hit shot. The goal scoring for the half was not complete at the other end though. Good team build-up play allowed Lucy Whiting to delicately slide the ball underneath the goalkeeper to make the score 4-0.

The home team pushed their male players further forward in the second period in an attempt to unsettle Magpies. This was soon countered by Lizzie Clymer, Sophie Mullan and Lauren Barber finding more space to create further scoring opportunities.

Fields deflected in from another corner to complete his hat-trick before the foot was eased from the gas pedal temporarily as the otherwise hard-working Toby Price poorly misplaced a push pass to allow Sutton to score past the outnumbered Cumming.

Magpies quickly regained their composure as Whiting majestically converted another silky passing move. Lizzie Clymer was then in the right place at the right time to add her name to the scoresheet.

There was still time for man-of-the-match Fields to score his fourth goal after another strong run.

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