Encouraging signs for relegated Dereham Ladies Hockey Club second team
Dereham Ladies II 2, Ipswich East Suffolk 2
Relegated Dereham ended the season with a positive performance as they bowed out of East League Division 2N.
Good early pressure resulted in chances for both sides but Dereham, pushing high up the pitch, were caught by a long ball out of the Ipswich defence and fired into the back of the goal.
The away side took advantage of their lead and caught Dereham off guard to score their second goal.
The hosts regrouped with Sam Coleman and Krissy Barnard seeing off any potential danger from the wings. Numerous surging attacks from Zoe Leverett and Hannah Dewing saw Dereham taking control but unable to convert chances.
The home side remained positive in the second half and maintained their work rate with excellent play from Gina Steggall in centre midfield. Immy Croakes continued to cause problems from the right hand side leaving the left half retreating up the flank.
A series of strong passes saw Dewing working the tight angles to shoot just wide of the post. With the home side dominating the possession, the Ipswich defence began to tire.
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A perfectly timed pass from Hann Tarry in midfield saw Becky Taylor weave through the defence and unleash a reverse stick shot into the corner of the goal.
Dereham maintained the pressure with great passing play from Hannah Barnard to Zoe Leverett causing problems for the Ipswich defence.
An unexpected break from the away side saw Hev Morgan courageously tackle the speeding centre forward for the centre back Jade Riches to clear the ball out to the wings. Dereham's goalkeeper Nat Grapes gave her defence direction to see off any further danger.
Ipswich began to lose their cool after their early lead and the home side took advantage. Dereham remained focused working as a well organised team with Steggall making crucial tackles in the centre.
Emma Milton picked the ball up from the left flank and used her speed to drive the ball into the area. A pass to Taylor saw a repeat of her unstoppable reverse stick strike beat the keeper to equalise.
Dereham's spirit saw them dominate the closing stages. The captain Morgan encouraged her team to the last whistle as they earned a well deserved point.
After a difficult campaign, Dereham will aim to carry this passion and determination into next season.MoM: Gina Steggall