Hendy's heroics fail to save Ipswich

HOCKEY: A round up of action from this weekend's local hockey matches.


Ipswich 0 Blueharts 3

IF man of the match awards were handed out in the English Hockey League then Ipswich goalkeeper, Stuart Hendy, would have won this one hands down.

The 18-year-old, who is in his last season with the Henley Road club before going to university, stood between them and a real thrashing as the Division Two programme re-started after a seven-week break.

While he could be faulted for conceding the first goal, he could do nothing about the other two and in between made countless outstanding saves.

Although Ipswich are experiencing problems in their second season at this level, they can at least be grateful to have a keeper who maintains their interest in most games.

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If the ten outfield players matched Hendy's standards, Ipswich would not be struggling in the relegation zone.

However, against Blueharts they had no shape, pace, guile or constructive guidance and for a club to be successful everyone needs to pull in the same direction – something that does not appear to be happening..

Ipswich are at present a far cry from the side that always gave good value in the East league before deservedly gaining entry to the national level and it would be a shame if the hard work that saw them achieve such status was thrown away.

Blueharts, who started the game just three points clear of Ipswich, were made to look world-beaters in a hectic first half that saw the home defence and midfield chasing shadows.

They were torn apart by clinical passing and although Ipswich had a short corner count of 4-0 in their favour by half-time, they totally failed to take advantage of the situation.

Whereas they were unable to test keeper Jack Thorn from such routines, Blueharts made sure that Hendy was kept extremely busy from open play.

After Richard Stainthorpe had spurned a pass from Richard Fox and Ipswich had made a hash of another short corner, Blueharts raced up the other end to take the lead after 22 minutes.

Hendy's clearance from a shot by Ashley Hammond unfortunately went straight to Mark Russell and his instant pass was flicked home by Paul Buckland.

Seven minutes later, defender Chris Palmer gave the ball away to Ben Hammond – one of three brothers in the side – and Rob Bridges took full advantage.

Blueharts went off the boil after the interval and for a while, when Simon Miller pushed up higher in central midfield, Ipswich looked as though they might salvage something from the game.

Miller was hugely effective for a 20-minute period until he was banished to the right side of midfield, but during that time neither he nor his forwards could make it count in the area.

Five minutes from time, Blueharts set the seal on victory when Sean Storey beat Hendy from a short corner, but in truth, by then the three points were already in the bag.

Ipswich East Suffolk 2 Broxbourne 3

IPSWICH East Suffolk failed to build on last week's victory and now face a mammoth task to avoid relegation from Premier Division A of the Printwize East League.

The match was not so much won by the visitors as thrown away by the home side. Having been twice in the lead, IES twice shot themselves in the foot before going out with a whimper, yet it should have been a different story as they dominated the opening 15 minutes.

Defensively they looked sound with Matt Gardner and Peter Blake containing in the centre and Ian Swallow and Kevyn Brown either side giving good balance. The midfield trio of Danny Mayhew, Matt Walker and Joel Dry were easily winning their battles and giving good possession to Gavin Cole, Sam Gibson and David Taylor.

The first goal came following some excellent defending from Brown who won possession and cleared the ball cleverly down the side line deep into the visitors half. Cole made a good tackle that saw the ball run on to Taylor. The wily striker made a beeline for the circle, used Gibson's run to trick the defender and expertly beat the goalkeeper from a tight angle with a superbly deft flick.

Within minutes it should have been two. Again IES pressured the mistake and won the ball. Taylor picked it up just inside his own half before picking out the impressive Gibson with a superb crossfield pass. Gibson met the ball in full flight and played a first time cross right into Cole's path only for the ex-Harleston man's shot to go agonisingly wide when he should have scored.

Broxbourne started to get their passing going without really troubling the IES defence, but just before half-time the home side's concentration let them down. IES conceded a needless free hit just outside their area and then were slow to react as the quickly taken hit was deflected in off the far post past a stranded Charlie Farrow.

The home side made changes in the second half going to a 4-4-2 with Stuart Gooderham slotting in at sweeper, Gardner reverting to right back and James Boutell coming on at left midfield. This was to counteract the visiting side's shape which saw them bring men up from the back into midfield spaces and it worked effectively as IES were enjoying more of the possession.

Dry was a constant menace in his wider role down the right and his pass set up Walker for a shot that was deflected wide. However, despite having the better of the game IES were struggling to make that pressure pay-off until Gibson drag-flicked a short corner past a stunned keeper.

The game should now have been won, but instead of keeping possession and playing with the same confidence IES contrived to give the game away and committed the cardinal sin of not tracking back which allowed a simple far post tap in for the equaliser.

With five minutes left, Broxbourne stole the points when IES again lost possession and were outnumbered when the visitors scored their third to leave the home side struggling and frustrated.

Shefford & Sandy 3 Felixstowe 1

FELIXSTOWE must have wished their game had been abandoned as they slipped to defeat in atrocious conditions.

The home side started with some fluid movement, which caused Felixstowe to give away a number of short corners. From one of these a switched move left goalkeeper Dick Smith and his defence wrong footed allowing the ball to be slotted home.

Felixstowe held on to the ball a fraction too long, allowing the opposition's defence to take the ball. Good defending from Hop Chen, Mark Bailey and James Judge ensured they didn't add to their lead.

The roles were reversed at the start of the second half, with Felixstowe dominating.

Quick accurate ball from David Healey was then passed through to the attack of Jack Entwistle, Gavin Haggart and Steve Taylor.

Now the home defence were giving away short corners and rom the fourth one, Haggart swept the ball for Olly Holloway to stop. Judge dummied his strike at goal and pushed the ball back to the unmarked Haggart who knocked into the open goal.

Some poor passing allowed Shefford back into the Felixstowe D and when what looked like a perfectly good tackle was penalised, Shefford scored their second goal from the resulting short corner.

The game was still evenly balanced, with James Walker making strong runs from midfield, while Holloway and Matt Lincoln made good tackles.

The game was settled when Shefford made a quick break. Smith managed to make two fine reaction saves leaving Chen marking two players, one of which tapped home.

Bishop Stortford 1 Ipswich Ladies II 0

IPSWICH did not deserve to lose, but despite numerous attempts on goal, the lack of clinical finishing saw them leave Stortford pointless and frustrated.

The visitors started brightly and moved the ball neatly around the pitch, while Stortford looked intent on defending, packing 11 people behind the ball.

Ipswich had the ideal opportunity to open the scoring, when a fine run by Katie Leach ended with Emma Millar seeing her effort stopped illegally on the line by a Stortford defender. Captain Jane Cook stepped up for the stroke but her effort did not really test the keeper who made the save.

As the second half wore on Ipswich kept pushing for a goal, but were caught on the back foot by a Stortford breakaway that left their striker with a one-on-one with Hannah Robinson.

A neat dummy saw Robinson beaten and in their only attack of real menace Stortford were ahead. Ipswich kept on fighting to the end but despite having the majority of pressure and actually playing the patterns well, they could not break down a Stortford defence.

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