Vital win lifts Ipswich

HOCKEY: Ipswich 2 Formby 1THE importance of gaining points from this English Hockey League Division Two match, against a side only one point ahead in the table, was not lost on Ipswich, who produced a far better performance than the previous day.

By Martin White

Ipswich 2 Formby 1

THE importance of gaining points from this English Hockey League Division Two match, against a side only one point ahead in the table, was not lost on Ipswich, who produced a far better performance than the previous day.

It was certainly a boost to take all three points but again the inability to put the ball in the back of the net could have cost them dearly as the visitors rallied to produce a tense final ten minutes, despite only having ten men.

Both sides had a good deal of midfield possession , but it was Ipswich who looked the brighter and created more problems for the visitors' defence. Ipswich manager Peter Hogg made changes from the previous day and his appeal for the side to dig deep and fight was not unheeded.

Chris Palmer stepped into the back line with Andy Beresford and Paul Calver occupying the central midfield roles, while Toby Lever and Richard Stainthorpe were both given starting opportunities.

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Ipswich pressed Formby hard, allowing them very few opportunities and trying to force errors to allow a quick counter. The front pair of Richard Fox and Stainthorpe received plenty of ball and good support from Simon Miller and Oliver Didham, but despite creating several chances and winning a number of short corners , it seemed the finishing touch or final pass was eluding them.

In fact for all the chances, Ipswich had just two strikes from Oliver Didham to thank for their half time lead. The first came after 18 minutes, with a characteristic reverse stick strike beating a flat footed keeper, and the second came from a short corner a minute from half-time.

The second half was more of the same , with opportunities wasted. Fox, Calver, Beresford, John Cuff, Didham, Miller and Stainthorpe could all have added to the Ipswich lead, while Cuff did find the net , only for the umpire to rule the ball had taken a deflection off Fox`s foot.

In the final ten minutes the visitors seemed to be spurred into action with the loss of a player for a foul on Lever and as Ipswich tried to play for time they were caught napping when Don Cock found a way past Stuart Hendy after a 64th minute counter attack.

It set up a nail biting finish for the home side who were unable to capitalise as Formby threw caution to the wind and pressed forward in search of an equaliser.

The game finished with the visitors enraged at not being awarded a penalty flick from their last minute short corner and the home side elated at gaining vital points.

Ipswich 1 Indian Gymkhana 5

A PULSATING second half display by Indian Gymkhana condemned out-of-sorts Ipswich to their fourth defeat of the season (writes Martin White).

The rearranged game saw the Henley Road side concede five goals for the second week running while they are painfully aware that not enough are being scored at the other end.

After Stuart Hendy had made two superb saves from the lanky Authwal early on, Ipswich came to life and took the lead. Simon Miller drove down the left before reaching the edge of the circle, turning, holding the ball up and then slipping it past the keeper.

Indian Gymkhana's defenders were expecting a pass but were outfoxed by Miller and Ipswich nearly increased their lead when a superb pass by John Cuff put the lively Oliver Didham away but he was denied by a good save.

With Richard Fox and Ivan Smith using their pace to effect on either flank, Ipswich carved out a couple of decent chances, but it was Indian Gymkhana who exerted the more pressure and it was little surprise when G Soor roofed the ball past Hendy seven minutes from the interval.

The second half virtually belonged to the visitors who, with their four and sometimes five-man attack, simply swamped the midfield and defence.

As a result, Ipswich, playing with a flat back four, completely lost their shape. Their passing out of defence left a lot to be desired and they failed to stay calm and use the ball under more controlled conditions, something they did last season to great effect.

Eight minutes into the second half, Purewal ran threequarters the length of the pitch and exchanged passes with Jandu whose execution was clinical -- and from that point the Ipswich heads went down.

Hendy, who was getting little protection, was beaten again four minutes later when the defence stood off as Singh lashed a reverse stick effort into the net.

At the other end, Fox went narrowly wide from another Cuff pass, while Didham and Fox set up Richard Stainthorpe who just failed to get on the end of the final pass with the goal gaping.

After a brief lull, Indian Gymkhana came roaring back and two goals inside three minutes just before the end killed off the home side.

Ipswich's defence failed to clear the visitors' seventh short corner and Authwal gleefully accepted their generosity while Purewal again motored up from the back to provide M Soor with the ammunition to put the seal on another wretched home defeat for Ipswich.