Ipswich hopes end in predictable exit
TO nobody's surprise, Ipswich's interest in the English Hockey Association cup evaporated in autumnal sunshine at Henley Road.It would have been a shock of major proportions had they advanced further than the third round as Old Loughtonians are mid-table in the Premier Division while Ipswich are struggling near the foot of Division Two.
By Martin White
TO nobody's surprise, Ipswich's interest in the English Hockey Association cup evaporated in autumnal sunshine at Henley Road.
It would have been a shock of major proportions had they advanced further than the third round as Old Loughtonians are mid-table in the Premier Division while Ipswich are struggling near the foot of Division Two.
Last season, when the two sides again met in the cup, the Londoners put nine past the Suffolk side and with a full-strength team might well have done the same on this occasion.
However, without skipper Ian Morris, former Ipswich Ladies coach Nick Thompson and their two overseas players, they were unlikely to repeat that scoreline, while Ipswich played their part to the full in a match that was often too hectic for its own good.
The home side went behind after two minutes when a rash challenge on Sam Jennings by Toby Lever led to a penalty flick which Owen Griffith-Jones easily converted.
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Seven minutes later and much to the delight of the large home support, Ipswich were level. A quickly taken free hit found Simon Miller who drove forward down the left before hitting a crossfield ball to Richard Stainthorpe.
Ollie Davis failed to cut it out and the blond front runner, making his first team debut, spotted Richard Fox in space on the left and his finish was clinical.
Their joy was short-lived as three minutes later a slick movement in the circle sparked by a piece of individual brilliance from Paul Dover, ended with Graham Egan putting the visitors back in front.
With Inderjeet Panesar giving right defender James Hughes a torrid time, Old Loughtonians were always in the driving seat, but had to regroup at the back after Oliver Didham cut a ball off the edge of the reverse stick into the mouth of Andrew Balchin.
The game was delayed as Balchin received treatment and again a few minutes later as he was taken to hospital for stitches to be inserted in a cut lip.
The break did Ipswich no favours and six minutes before the interval Griffith-Jones dispatched only their second short corner past Stuart Hendy.
Four minutes after the break, Ross Hayward thumped in a rebound after Panesar's initial strike had been saved and 12 minutes from time Barry Daly picked up a pass from Dover to add the fifth.
In between those two goals, a great run by Stainthorpe from an Andy Swindin pass, led to their third short corner but Didham's final effort was narrowly wide.
With three minutes left, Robin Swindin and Oliver Didham set up Ivan Smith to claim their second goal, but a minute from time Griffith-Jones grabbed his hat-trick and restored the four-goal advantage.
Ipswich, who used the game to ensure that fringe players were given a decent run-out, looked a more cohesive unit and a similar performance in the next clutch of league games will see them emerge with much-needed points.