Harleston, sponsored by Dynamic Club Shops travelled to Ipswich for a crucial derby game hoping to continue to apply pressure on the league leaders Wapping. Harleston started brightly and though they had taken the lead when David Skinner finished neatly at the back post, only to see the goal disallowed for a foot earlier in build-up. The game then settled into an even contest, with Harleston attempting to negate Ipswich’s direct threat. With fifteen minutes left of the first half, Harleston changed systems and boldly applied maximum pressure on Ipswich, forcing them into errors that led to chances for Dave Gilbert, Thomas Ridley and Raunaq Rai. Just when Harleston looked to be in charge, Ipswich went up the other end and scored to surprise Harleston. The pies didn’t flinch though and within 5 minutes were on level terms after a steal in midfield led to David Skinner rounding the keeper and smashing the ball at goal which via a goalie clearance landed at to Raunaq Rai who calmly slotted home. HT – 1-1
Harleston started the second half well and gained control in the midfield through Thomas Ridley and Pete Baler, along with strong defending from Andrew Bedwell and Leigh Sitch. Once again however, just when Harleston knocked loudest did Ipswich secure a short corner. Tim Whiteman using all his experience to pull Ipswich up the pitch by conceding the corner knowing that Harleston would be able to counter attack. Ipswich looked to have scored, only for the decision to have been reversed. Immensely smart thinking from James Gray then sparked a fantastic Harleston counter attack when he played a long ball forward to Dave Gilbert who carried into the circle and squeezed home. This was an evenly contested match and despite good chances with Pete Bale, Raunaq Rai and Thomas Ridley, with such a small lead, Harleston were always in a precarious position and would have conceded if it wasn’t for Chris Routs who made a stunning save low down to his right.
Ipswich did however find a way minutes later though with a powerful short corner that made it 2-2. Without a shred of panic, Harleston stuck to their game plan and after a superb high transfer. In a carbon copy to last week the dynamic full backs Andrew Bedwell and Leigh Sitch sprung a counter attack, they found Pete Bale on the right who delivered to James Gary who picked up the scraps, turned and under immense pressure slotted past the goalkeeper on his reverse to score the winning goal.
The final ten minutes was tight but with captain fantastic Thomas Ridley leading the team, Harleston had the grit and concentration to finish victorious. Next week Harleston take on Chelmsford at 3pm down at Weybread.