Match Report : Neil Prior
Result : WIN 3-1 vs London Wayfarers
An away fixture to the unfamiliar (but very well-appointed) Kings House Sports Ground in Chiswick to play the top-of-the-league London Wayfarers was going to be a real test as the last game before the mid-season break.
The Southgate team were all fired up for the contest and started the game with great authority. Superbly anchored at the back by Josh Hedley-Dent and Andy Richardson with Aman Saram, Josh Chandler, Sam Marshall and 3s debutant Will Biggins sharing the wing-back roles, Southgate kept the ball well, moving it through the midfield of Alex Gibson, Jackson Trathen, Vivek Dongha and Lucca Bilyard who all ran into space, controlling the ball, playing plenty of one-twos and threading the ball through to the tireless front line of Todd Lomas, Oscar Prior, Ruben Straat and Cam Sarrington. It soon became clear that Southgate meant business and it was difficult to tell which of the two teams was the league leader such was Southgate’s dominance in the early exchanges. Midway through the first half a move down the right, started by Josh C, the ball found its way through some Wayfarers’ sticks to an advancing Aman on the left wing, he slipped the ball to Cam who had work to do and looked to slip to Oscar who drew the defender wide, allowing room for Cam to get his shot off and what a screamer it was – leaving the goalkeeper no chance – the ball bulging the net halfway up. One-Nil to Southgate. More discipline and confident play meant that Veysel Demir in goal only needed to be directing traffic in the first half and making the odd deft clearance that have become bread-and-butter to him by now.
Half Time – Southgate looking strong at One-Nil.
Greater urgency and intensity from Wayfarers was equally responded to by Southgate in the second half and the away team always looked dangerous moving forward with Alex and Jackson leading the charge. One occasion the ball being slipped to Oscar out wide on the right who penetrated the D and slipped the ball onto a defensive foot for their first penalty corner of the game. Ruben injected, Oscar stopped and Todd drag flicked – it worked like a charm – the ball thudding the backboard for Two-Nil. Wayfarers were crest fallen! Within another five or so minutes the roles were reversed, Todd earned a penalty corner. The variation of Todd slipping to Jackson didn’t quite go to plan, the Wayfarers’ runner intercepting the pass but the ball popped up loose for Oscar to nick, control, swing and strike for another reassuring thud of the backboard and 3-Nil to Southgate. Wayfarers would now have to chase the game but they still had half of the second half in which to do it. A crashed ball into the D from the 23 yard took a couple of deflections the last of which was off a Wayfarers’ stick and gave Veysel no chance. 3-1 and 15 minutes to go. Wayfarers then looked to exploit a temporarily nervy Southgate and looked sure to score after a defensive error but Veysel with a fully outstretched right leg made a save that suggested it was going to be Southgate’s day. Indeed it was, in the final minutes, Southgate kept the ball well and looked the more likely side to score. In the ended it remained 3-1 with Southgate the victors and closing the gap on the league leaders.
The game was thoroughly well umpired throughout by the Wayfarers’ appointed umpires – many thanks to them – no cards of any colour were needed and the contest was fought hard but fair – just the way it should be.
It may sound like a cliché, but this really was a team performance – every player worked and worked all game, it really was a pleasure to watch (despite the rain). Well done and a great way to go into the winter break – Happy Christmas!
MoM: Alex Gibson
DoD: Sam Marshall
Goals: Cam Sarrington, Todd Lomas, Oscar Prior