IES fail to turn fight into goals

Hockey: Harleston 4 Ipswich East Suffolk 2 -  TWO goals early in the second half decided this top versus bottom clash and gave a somewhat flattering result to the home side.

Harleston 4 Ipswich East Suffolk 2


TWO goals early in the second half decided this top versus bottom clash and gave a somewhat flattering result to the home side.

IES were full of confidence going into a game that few people expected them to get any points from, while Harleston were desperate to take another big step towards the National League playoffs by winning Premier Division A of the Printwize East League.

They have a very young squad held together by experienced players like Phil Cobbold and Stuart Baker and proved to be a very well organised side.

Baker's intelligent running caused problems and Harleston took the lead when he forced Ian Swallow into a mistake and IES slept as his quick hit was slotted home from two yards by an unmarked runner.

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IES responded well with Joel Dry coming more into the game and running the show from central midfield. They won a number of short corners and from one of these Sam Gibson equalised with a fierce drag flick.

Harleston counter attacked superbly and regained the lead within a few minutes when quick movement caught IES cold and the ball into the circle was perfectly weighted for the winger to touch first time past Charlie Farrow.

The visitors came so close just before half time when Guy Marshlain went on a mazy run across the top of the circle before picking out Gibson's run with a perfect pass, but unlike at the other end the first time deflection was agonisingly wide.

IES knew that their game plan was unsettling the home side and went into the second half looking to continue the pressure, but after five minutes of the second half Harleston earned a dubious penalty flick when Stuart Gooderham was penalised and Farrow was unlucky not to make the save.

Two minutes later the IES defence was opened up again as Harleston added their fourth, but IES refused to lie down and defensively closed up shop.

Their midfield trio of Danny Mayhew, Matt Walker and Dry took over with the young Australian outstanding. Too often for their liking he picked the ball up deep in his own half and glided past desperate tackles to set up attacks. More short corners were won but without any joy, before Matt Walker provided the moment that brought hope of a dramatic comeback.

Picking up the ball outside the 25 he drove for the circle, beat Cobbold twice and then lashed the ball high past the surprised keeper's right shoulder.

The home side were rattled and IES were unlucky not to be awarded a flick themselves from an incident not unlike the one at the other end. With two minutes to go they did get the right decision, but Dave Taylor's bullet-like flick hit the bar.

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