Ipswich rise to the top

WOMEN'S HOCKEY: BTexaxct 3 Sutton Coldfield 1. Ipswich hit the top of the National League Premier Division for the first time in two years.They displayed a sparkling display of attacking hockey and determined defending against a Sutton team fighting to put space between them and the bottom of the division.

WOMEN'S HOCKEY

BTexaxct 3 Sutton Coldfield 1

IPSWICH hit the top of the National League Premier Division for the first time in two years.

They displayed a sparkling display of attacking hockey and determined defending against a Sutton team fighting to put space between them and the bottom of the division.

Despite their lowly league status, it was Sutton who took the lead following a well-worked short corner routine.

Mandy Davies was the scorer after the ball was slipped right and her well-struck shot defeated the otherwise excellent Hannah Robinson in the Ipswich goal.

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The Ipswich revival was led by Leisa King, who was buoyed by her selection for the England World Cup squad that travels to Australia in November.

But it was a player left out of that international squad who scored the equaliser.

Jo Ellis put the ball in the back of the net after a short corner routine that involved a double slip and certainly her coolness under pressure will add to the questions raised about her omission from the England party.

Ipswich were unlucky not to move into the lead when Vicki Sandall saw her shot rebound off the bar.

It was the trio of Sandall, King and Ellis in the Ipswich midfield who ran the rest of the first half with visionary passes and intricate dribbling skills made with an almost audacious ease.

Further pressure from Tanya Barnard and Sarah Bamfield saw the Sutton keeper called into action on numerous occasions and her best moment came when Bamfield swirled on the spot before unleashing a vicious shot that only instinct kept out of the net.

The inevitable second goal for the Suffolk team came towards the end of the 35 minutes when Ellis was prevented from scoring by an illegal tackle and King stepped up to dispatch the ball past the Sutton keeper, low to the right of the goal.

With seconds to go before half-time Robinson was called into action again and showed a lot of courage to take the ball off the end of ex-international Jane Sixsmith's stick following a period of pressure from the midlands team.

The second half saw only one goal added when King scored from a short corner after Ellis had dribbled around the Sutton backline and won a foul in the attacking circle.

Ipswich kept up the pressure for most of the half and were able to give pitch time to Ella Kenny and Jo Anderson, both of whom performed well on this fast-moving stage.

A moment of panic troubled the Ipswich defence when Sutton got a quick break but captain Kirsten Spencer led the retreat and was on hand to clear the ball from the line after Emma Muir had held up the Sutton attack long enough for the home side to cover.

The result and the draw between Slough and Chelmsford leaves Ipswich two points clear at the top of the National League.

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