HOCKEYEastleigh 1, IW 7
IW PICKED up where they left off in 2011 with a clinical win at fifth-placed Eastleigh.
The team fielded a new attacking 3-4-3 formation and were never really troubled by an Eastleigh side who lacked their usual pace.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to go in front, as Stephen Woodford slotted home a perfect cross soon into the game, and they quickly raced into a 3-0 lead when Colin Simmonds and Woodford both netted.
Eastleigh seldom threatened and were too predictable in their build-up play, and their only real chance came via a short corner, which was well saved by goalkeeper Sam Brown.
The pace of the game in the second half slowed slightly but the Island were always in control, forcing numerous chances but seeing many go begging with the home keeper producing several excellent saves.
Eventually though, the pressure told and Barry Lloyd arrived at the right time to slot home another pinpoint cross.
Eastleigh got one back by taking advantage of a rebounded ball, but IW responded ruthlessly, scoring three goals in quick succession to kill off their chances.
Woodford completed his hat trick prodding home a shot, before youngster Tom Gould made it three goals in three appearances by sweeping home. The pick of the goals came from Simmonds, whose reverse stick strike looped over the grounded keeper and nestled in the net.
The win keeps IW top but chasing sides Salisbury and Fordingbridge also won.
Fleet & Ewshot IV 1, IW II 4
A strong second string, including the welcome return of Lewis Heaven-Gandy, enjoyed a great win at Fleet.
From the start, IW were able to find space and time to release the dangerous front pair of Tom Parker and Craig Bruce, who terrorised the home team’s defence.
The opening goal came from midfield with Henry Cripps ghosting in from the left to smash the ball home to score his first for the club. They followed this with a smashing goal from Bruce.
IW bombarded the Fleet goal but were unable to build on their lead and, when Fleet had a rare attack, goalkeeper Tom Speer was in fine form to stop them.
In the second half, Bruce scored his second but after this, Fleet came back in and got their first of the game.
This was cancelled, however, when Graeme Curtis drove right into the heart of the Fleet defence before releasing Bruce for a sharp shot, that was deflected in by the hard-working Carl Joyce.
This ensured the win to keep IW top of the league.
Cripps, along with Charlie Connaugton were the youngest on the team and shared the man of the match prize for their excellent play.
Petersfield 0, IW Ladies 1
IW Ladies produced a solid defensive display to shut out a far stronger Petersfield side than the one they previously defeated 9-0.
Petersfield, boasting Hampshire players, meant business and from the start pressurised the IW defence.
IW took their time to settle and although the defence stayed steadfast, momentum was with the Petersfield attack.
Despite tireless work by Lacey Gammage and Poppy Cook out wide, Petersfield dominated the middle of the pitch. But a tactical switch of players, introducing Kirsty Fraser to the defence and pushing Tanisha Janzen and Jaimie Unsworth into the attack gave IW new energy.
Player of the match Tanisha stemmed the Petersfield attack, and dispatched pinpoint passes to release Janet Fletcher to attack the Petersfield defence. At half time the momentum was firmly with the IW.
The only goal of the game came early in the second half, when Tanisha’s perfect pass found Unsworth, whose shot hit the goalkeeper’s pads, and Andrea Millband reacted to dispatch the rebound.
After the goal, both sides played an even game, and although Petersfield pressured, goalkeeper Saskia Janzen was barely troubled.