Ipswich Ladies manage only a point

HOCKEY: Canterbury 2 Ipswich Ladies 2. One point from two games they were expected to win has kept Ipswich Ladies in the lower reaches of the English Hockey League's Premier Division.

Canterbury 2 Ipswich Ladies 2

ONE point from two games they were expected to win has kept Ipswich Ladies in the lower reaches of the English Hockey League's Premier Division.

They showed character against Canterbury by pulling back a two-goal deficit, but the following day at Tuddenham Road were undone by near-neighbours Chelmsford in a game that proved a bad-tempered affair.

Ipswich went behind at Canterbury after 23 minutes when Mel Clewlow scored from a penalty flick after an infringement by an Ipswich defender and right on the stroke of half-time, the Kent side broke at pace for Christina Houslop to deflect a cross past Jo Thompson.

Canterbury were playing well as a team and punished Ipswich for their inability to control the ball while creating lots of movement up front.

The interval talk from coach Sandie Lister must have been quite special as Ipswich were a different team after the break with forwards Sarah Bamfield and Tanya Barnard forcing Clewlow, the Canterbury and Great Britain sweeper into errors.

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Ipswich pressed forward in numbers and the pressure was effective when Leisa King made space on the left to strike a rocket at the far post which Barnard deflected past the Canterbury keeper.

The visitors looked as if they believed that they could salvage at least a point and the positioning of the midfield of King, Colleen Adcock, Jo Ellis and Shelley Pleasance foiled any attacking chances Canterbury tried to make.

With ten minutes left, Ellis equalised when a cross from King found her in the circle and her clever reverse shot gave the keeper no chance.

Ipswich Ladies 2 Chelmsford 3

IN what turned out to be a bad-tempered affair, Ipswich had an early strike by Sarah Bamfield disallowed due to an apparent infringement.

Ipswich played with poor quality and must realise that when chances are made in front of goal they must be more clinical if they want to remain in the Premier League.

The forwards were too easily beaten off the ball and Chelmsford found that they could easily get the ball up to their forwards through the middle of the pitch.

After a goalless first half, Lisa Wooding opened the scoring for the visitors from a dubiously awarded short corner and Lynn Bollington added the second by finishing off a flowing move.

Again Ipswich hit back and reduced the arrears through Bamfield who lifted Kirsten Spencer's pass over the keeper, but with 13 minutes to go, Tracy Willmore added the third in controversial circumstances.

Ipswich were in uproar as a shot was clearly deflected into the net off her foot, but as the umpires tried to make sense of what happened they then asked wrong player before awarding the goal.

The home side again fought back and King added a second three minutes from time, but at that stage it was too little too late.