4As taken on league leading WGC

November 24, 2021

Match Report : Jon Huddleston

Result : DRAW 2-2

4As played out an enjoyable match with league-leading Welwyn Garden City in Hatfield on Saturday. In a tense and evenly-fought encounter, both sides had significant periods of pressure without ever landing the defining blow.

After a cagey opening Welwyn sneaked ahead when the ball sneaked past keeper Nigel Dixon after a melee in the D. Nigel was called into action shortly afterwards when faced with a one on one but he held firm and provided the impetus from which Southgate launched their fight back. With Will Hargrove and Scott Ramsay becoming increasingly dominant in midfield, Gate worked the ball forward and almost equalised when James Rushton flung himself at a strike on goal by Scott, the ball narrowly missing the far post. Undeterred, 4As built again patiently and following good work up front from Alastair Whatley, Scott drilled a ball into the D that wrong-footed the opposition keeper and pulled the sides level.

With Chris Ray becoming increasingly influential and Raj Saha and Simon Holmes linking midfield and attack 4As finished the half as the stronger side. They carried this momentum into the second half, with David James an increasing threat on the right and making incursions into the D. With Alex Holmes pushing forward on the left the game Gate held the upper hand and the second goal swiftly arrived, Nayan Bhundia showing a wonderful tight control before driving a clinical and unstoppable shot into the corner. Welwyn were forced to rely on attacking on the break but Gate showed their typical resolve, Phil Peters and captain Jon Huddleston repelling the numbers and maintaining a sense of calm under pressure.

Both sides created chances, Gate from open play, Welwyn from short corner strikes and it really did come down to who could get the next goal. Sadly it was Welwyn who finally breached the goal after a well struck short was cruelly deflected high into the Gate net. The final chance of the game fell to Wolffie who in spite of injury had put his body on the line to ensure we could field a full squad. This time he was just unable to repeat last week’s heroics and so the game ended in an honourable draw.

On balance 2-2 felt like a relatively fair result but Southgate could once again take pride in a solid performance and the satisfaction that they had fronted up to the league leaders, showing that this young and developing team have the potential to create waves when everything finally clicks.

Scott was a well-deserved MOTM, having added speed and pressure to the attack in a new attacking midfield role. Phil was his usual dominant self, marshalling his players to maintain Gate’s strong defensive record. David once again put in a fine and mature performance from right back, continuing to astonish the opposition when they find out how young he actually is. The biggest cheer was for Nayan who coolly scored a fine maiden goal for the team, the first we hope of many for the 4As.

There are tough games ahead but slowly and surely the 4As are beginning to develop an attack to support their dominating defence and with it the points are beginning to come. Onwards to our old friends and rivals Rickmansworth next week, one of the strongest teams of last season. 4As will though go into the game with confidence.

Southgate Hockey Club. Great fun, great hockey, great facilities.