Ladies lament late blow

HOCKEY: Ipswich Ladies 3 Slough 4A GOAL six minutes from time by Kate Walsh condemned Ipswich to a defeat they did not deserve in the Premier Division of the English Hockey League.

By Martin White

Ipswich Ladies 3 Slough 4

A GOAL six minutes from time by Kate Walsh condemned Ipswich to a defeat they did not deserve in the Premier Division of the English Hockey League.

Watched by representatives of their new sponsors, BTexact Technologies, Ipswich felt in confident mood following the previous day's victory.

However, it was Slough who went ahead after two minutes when former Ipswich striker, Jane Smith, took advantage of poor defending and struck an excellent short corner, which was deflected in off keeper Jo Thompson's hand.

Two minutes later, from another short corner, Slough increased their lead through Lucy Newcombe, but although Ipswich looked shell-shocked, they hit back immediately to reduce the arrears.

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Jo Ellis, playing on the left, picked up a cross in the circle and after controlling the ball with a good first touch she got the ball on her strong side and slammed it home.

Ipswich now started to dominate the game and with the midfield playing a commanding role, Tanya Barnard was unlucky not to convert an interception.

The pressure on the Slough defence was too much for the visitors and it was no surprise when Leisa King calmly dummied the Slough defence, dragged the ball right and struck the ball into the back of the net.

Slough slowly regained their confidence and took the lead when Smith claimed her second from open play.

At the other end, Ipswich were also creating opportunities and three minutes from half-time, a cleverly worked short corner allowed Lorraine Catchpole to equalise.

Ipswich believed they had taken the lead after the break when Vicki Sandall, saw her cross from the right deflected in by Shadrack.

The umpire at first gave the goal, but Slough complained Shadrack had not touched the ball and after consultation, the decision was reversed.

Slough took advantage of their luck and continued to pressure down their right and as Ipswich found it hard to release the ball, Slough gained a short corner.

Walsh received the slip from Smith and tucked the ball past Thompson to put her side on top of the table and complete the double over the Tuddenham Road side.

Ipswich Ladies 2 Doncaster 0

TWO superb short corner strikes by Kirsten Spencer handed Ipswich Ladies only their second victory in the Premier Division of the English Hockey League (writes Martin White).

The right defender, who has always possessed a bullet-like shot, scored in each half of a match that was neither pretty nor inspirational.

For Ipswich, however, the three points were vital, while Doncaster could have played until midnight without seriously troubling goalkeeper Jo Thompson.

Claire Ferguson, the Yorkshire side's hat-trick heroine of the previous week, was seldom seen with the Ipswich defence comfortably coping with the sporadic and unimaginative attacks instigated by her, Jo Clark and Rachael Smith.

For their part, Ipswich were not a lot better, but at least when they broke it was with purpose and a semblance of determination.

Their passing was crisp and to the point while Doncaster's was thoughtful but ponderous.

With a combination of Liane Shadrack, Tanya Barnard, Lizzie Aldous and Sarah Bamfield playing high, Doncaster's defence had to be watchful especially with the promptings of Jo Ellis, Colleen Adcock and Leisa King in midfield.

Phillipa Jones squandered two chances early on, with Thompson saving one and the other being cleared as she dwelt too long on a through ball. Ferguson's sole opportunity came when Clark shovelled a pass to her feet, but the former Olympic keeper narrowed the angle and forced the blonde attacker to shoot wide.

Spencer broke the deadlock after 22 minutes when her well-struck shot took a deflection on its way in past Anna Vessey and her repeat performance came ten minutes from time.

In between there were a few high spots and a multitude of low ones and if Doncaster do possess a short corner routine, they keep it extremely well hidden.

Ipswich won't gain three easier points and the only mystery is why they failed to punish a side, who are destined to struggle all season, more severely.

Canterbury 2 Ipswich Ladies II 2

AN equaliser three minutes from time secured a point for Ipswich in the Printwize East League Premier Division who had fought back from being two goals down.

Ipswich started brightly, moving the ball with confidence on the unfamiliar water-based pitch, but although several promising moves created shooting opportunities, the final shot was not testing enough.

Against the run of play, Canterbury broke upfield to take the lead and within minutes added a second, when a short-corner strike, initially saved by keeper Hannah Robinson, somehow crept over the line.

Things deteriorated as Jo-Jo Anderson was sent off for five minutes for what looked like an accidental incident, but this only served to inspire Ipswich who began to control the game.

Player of the match, Sarah Juggins, worked tirelessly alongside Fiona Molloy and Jane Cook and Ipswich finally converted the pressure when a fantastic through ball was neatly deflected in by dynamic forward Lucy Philp.

Philp was unlucky not to have a second, when her mazy run and shot went agonisingly wide, but she made amends late on. Receiving the ball in the circle, she created space for herself before finishing with an undercut shot passed the stranded Canterbury keeper into the roof of the net.

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