IES can take heart in defeat

HOCKEY: Ipswich East Suffolk 2 Harleston 3 For the first time in their history IES faced local rivals Harleston in a league fixture when the two sides met on a cold but sunny afternoon at Tuddenham Road for this Printwize Premier A fixture.

Ipswich East Suffolk 2 Harleston 3


For the first time in their history IES faced local rivals Harleston in a league fixture when the two sides met on a cold but sunny afternoon at Tuddenham Road for this Printwize Premier A fixture.

All the pre-match talk focused on ensuring that the Rushmere based side did not give their visitors too much respect and instead tried to push them back. Two changes were made from the squad cruelly beaten at Cambridge last week. Peter Blake was called up from the seconds with Peter Elsom going the other way, while ex-Harleston star Martin Reader was welcomed back for his first run out of the season. The game started at a fast pace with both sides trying to gain the upper hand and it was the first of two errors by the home side that gifted Harleston the perfect start.

An innocuous ball into the circle seemed to have cut out by Matt Gardener, but the ball spun away from the end of his stick and fell invitingly for the visiting striker to lash it home. Worse was to follow as Stuart Gooderham saw yellow when he was caught out and inadvertently used the back of his stick and from behind the goal had an excellent view when four minutes later Stuart Baker scored a trademark short corner goal.

IES were reeling not long after when a hit in from the side was totally misjudged and passed straight to the Harleston striker giving them a two on one from which Baker comfortably scored his second.

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As an attacking force IES were pretty woeful. Passes in the final third were either too weak or inaccurate, while Reader must have thought that he was a spectator.

Charlie Farrow's rousing half time talk asked for more commitment from his side while asking them to show less respect for their opposition and this seemed to stir his players into action.

They tightened up noticeably at the back and began to exert some pressure on the visitors. Slowly they began to stop them playing and then began to knock the ball around with purpose. Matt Walker and Danny Mayhew started to win the midfield and this gave more ball to James Boutell and Reader, the latter causing anxiety in the Harleston defence every time he ran at them. Up front, the youthful partnership of Tim Caston and Will Fulker fulfilled their promise.

An attack seemed to have broken down on the IES right but Caston's determination won back possession and he immediately turned and ran at the defence before slipping a delightful pass to Fulker who expertly deflected it high into the net.

Harleston came back and Baker was unlucky with an optimistic reverse stick effort that never troubled Farrow. From another attack Gooderham was in the right place to cut out the danger and his accurate pass set Reader off on a mazy run. He in turn found Caston who drew the defence and gave a beautiful pass to Fulker that he clinically finished for a superb counter attack move that warmed the hands of the sizeable crowd.

Harleston were rocked and were virtually restricted to trying to play down the clock. With minutes ticking away IES had one last chance when Caston, who was outstanding in the second half, again robbed the defence and again set Fulker in the clear, but as the young striker prepared to score the ball became tangled in his feet and the chance, along with the point, slipped away. As the home side reflected on another defeat they must again take great heart from a performance that, along with last weeks, didn't get the result it deserved but at least showed them what they are capable of when they get their act together. Phil Cobold, in his 25th season of first team hockey at Harleston, was quick to praise IES and while unhappy with his own side's game felt that it was largely down to the home side's performance.