Ipswich away from relegation worries

HOCKEY: Ipswich Ladies 1 Hightown 0. Goal poacher Liane Shadrack has written herself into the record books of Ipswich Ladies.The 30-year-old striker, who joined the Tuddenham Road club from Cambridge at the start of the season, became the last person to score for the club under their present name.

By Martin White

Ipswich Ladies 1 Hightown 0

GOAL poacher Liane Shadrack has written herself into the record books of Ipswich Ladies.

The 30-year-old striker, who joined the Tuddenham Road club from Cambridge at the start of the season, became the last person to score for the club under their present name.

From the start of next season, the merger with Ipswich men will have taken full effect and the side will play under a new name.

Although Shadrack's goal was not a classic and was light years away from some that have graced the artificial surface over the past 12 years, it was one of the most vital.

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It eventually proved enough to lift Ipswich away from the fear of the relegation play-offs and carry on with the sort of confidence that had carried them through to win the EHA Cup final the previous weekend.

After 16 minutes that had seen chances go begging at both ends, Ipswich gained the first short corner of the game and when Kirsten Spencer's strike bobbled away from under goalkeeper Carolyn Reid, Shadrack was on hand to bundle the loose ball home.

Shadrack could have put Ipswich ahead a lot earlier after latching on to a superb through ball from Tanya Barnard but delayed long enough to allow the stoic Reid to smother her shot.

Reid was in inspired form throughout and made two excellent second half saves to deny Leisa King and Spencer.

Shadrack could have put her side totally in the driving seat soon after her goal but Reid was alert enough to deflect her snap shot.

At the other end, Jo Thompson dealt capably with shots from Tina Cullen, Michele Liptrot and Nicky O'Donnell, but in general the Ipswich defence were on top form.

Spencer, Karla Waddleton and Annette Strange proved more than a match for the Hightown forwards and Cullen, who had rattled in a five-minute hat-trick in the 6-2 thrashing on Merseyside earlier in the season, was kept largely under control.

Barnard, who has improved with every game in her first season with Ipswich, came close to adding to the slender lead immediately after the interval when her shot from Colleen Adcock's measured pass went narrowly wide.

As the game continued Ipswich grew in confidence and Hightown resorted to having three players mark the mercurial King who caused panic in their ranks every time the ball came her way.

Jo Ellis also got through a tremendous amount of work and it was her pass that set Sarah Bamfield on the way for what looked a certain second until the 46-year-old Linda Carr belied her years and made up sufficient ground to deny her.

With the threat of possible relegation now lifted, Ipswich can look forward to the chance of claiming a place in Europe as well as a new beginning next season.

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