IES's determintaion reaps reward
MEN'S HOCKEY: Ipswich East Suffolk 2 Cambridge University 1. Rumour had it that the Grim Reaper would be among the spectators for the visit of the Cambridge University to Woodbridge School.
Ipswich East Suffolk 2 Cambridge University 1
RUMOUR had it that the Grim Reaper would be among the spectators for the visit of the Cambridge University to Woodbridge School.
Defeat for IES at the hands of a side in top form would have the man in black ready to start drawing the curtain on their time in the Premier Division A of the Printwize East League. However, it was player-manager David Taylor who scythed through the young blues with two precision strikes that sent Mr Reaper home without a smile.
The 13 in red and black are the only ones not prepared to accept relegation as a forgone conclusion and this display showed why. After last week's mauling many thought end was nigh, but after ten minutes of this game the visitors were just glad to get out of their own half.
IES pressed from the word go, made the most of their own possession and took the lead after only four minutes. Sweeper Stuart Gooderham picked off a hopeful ball out of defence and switched the play to James Boutell on the left who found Guy Marshlain inside the circle. He was crudely fouled and Taylor's penalty flick was clinical.
IES almost increased their lead soon afterwards from a short corner, won thanks to the power and skill of Sam Gibson down the right flank, who gave the Blues' defence a torrid time all game. A slick routine saw the ball back fed back to Joel Dry, but the young Aussie's first time effort went agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
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The students rallied and began to get their passing game going to put the home side under pressure. They relied heavily on ex-Harleston player, Robert Fulford, and their game plan was to get short corners and let his drag flicking do the rest.
However, IES defended superbly and denied them space to create openings. Gooderham and Matt Gardner formed a solid central partnership, while Boutell and Ian Swallow were equally impressive out wide. The midfield trio was shuffled to allow Dry to play a central role with Danny Mayhew and Matt Walker on the left and right respectively and it worked perfectly.
The visitors forced a few short corners but Charlie Farrow was back to his best and made three top draw saves, while the IES tackling was impeccable.
Up front, the combination of Taylor, Gibson, Marshlain and Will Fulker worked well to keep the Blues defence under pressure and won their fair share of short corners without quite finding the finishing touch.
At the other end Fulford was trying to win the game almost single handed and had a personal duel with Farrow from half a dozen short corners that the IES captain won. The home side never lost their concentration and their tackling and marking against a side with very good movement was particularly high.
With Fulford threatening to score, IES needed the cushion of a second goal and after a Gibson thunderbolt had been deflected wide, they got their reward.
With five minutes left, Gooderham found Boutell in acres of space inside his own half. The tall defender played a sublime 60 yard pass to Taylor deep inside the visitors' circle and from his position on the back line he easily beat the despairing defender and drew the keeper before tucking the ball away at the near post with ease.
Fulford reduced the arrears with an unstoppable short corner drag flick high into the top right hand corner of Farrow's goal, but the home side were not to be denied and hung on for what could prove a vital victory.