Southgate Snipers vs West Hampstead 1’s W 5-1
report by Alastair Whatley
Goals: Alastair Whatley x 2, Todd Lomas, Barney Collie x2
Southgate Sabres vs West Hampstead 2’s L 2-4
Goals: Lewis Hollett x 2
This double header was effectively the play off for the winner of the much enjoyed mens midweek league. Sabres needed a win against West Hampstead 2’s and then only needed to maintain their winning record against Southgate Adelaide this Wednesday to win the much vaunted league. Snipers on the other hand needed a win and for the Sabres to lose or draw to take the title.
The Sabres kicked off first under the watchful eye of Captain Lucca Bilyard. Lewis Hollett was caught in traffic and missed the pre-match tactical talk- with Sabres starting in a traditional 4-3-3 formation. What began promisingly soon dissipated with Hampstead passing the ball fluently around the Sabres midfield and leaving our defence exposed on a few occasions with three goals getting through leading into half time.
Yet it wasn’t all doom and gloom with some good work in display all over the pitch. Some tactical muscling saw Ben B-C joining Ivan Stark at centre back- with Brian Cade joining Joe Kelly over as a wing back. The midfield formed into a delicious diamond with Lewis and Lucca forming its top and bottom artery. It took a while to steer into place, but after the first quarter it clicked and Lewis Hollett converted the first of his two short corner strokes. Raj Saha and Chris Rouse both worked incredibly hard throughout and Southgate looked dominant up to the final minutes- alas allowing just one more ball through the legs of Veysel to leave the score a 2-4 loss.
The Snipers came next in a fast and furious game which went end to end from the first whistle. Hampstead were strong and featured some players who had already played against The Sabres- they hit the ground running and despite a strong Snipers press and several chances go close in the first quarter- it was Hampstead who took Southgate to the interval one nil to the good. It was all to play for though and pretty even contest. Mitch Read was very passionate and was advised to be less passionate by the steady whistle of umpire Neil Prior. The allure of the trophy still available to Hampstead, Snipers and Sabres- it all rested on the final 30 minutes.
Barney Collier was dominant in midfield working well with Noah Lavy to release the ball yet the Snipers couldn’t quite find the finish despite sustained pressure up front with Harry Hayes leading the charge like a majestic Russian ballet star of the old bent dancing around the Hampstead back line yet never quite finding his way through the Berlin Wall of the dogged Hampstead defence.
Todd Lomas released a stunning strike which nearly decapitated at least four of his own players ricocheting like an Elon Musk rocket off the crossbar. Still 1-0. Lik was getting a bit grumpy in defence and commandeered a spot on the right wing and immediately starting connecting with midfield and wing backs, a fine move from defence and a great ball released by Noah down the right side line found Lik who found his way in turn to the goal line finding a perfect ball across to Alastair Whatley’s outstretched stick and alas it failed to find it’s way past the obstinate WH goalie who was having a blinder.
Veysel in his second game of the day was working hard at the other end, WH countering hard but their legs were beginning to fade as 10 minutes from the end a short corner was released which deflected off the keepers pads falling again to Whatley who duly converted with a nice slap and a roar indicated Southgate had levelled things at 1-1.
Everything then happened very quickly, WH hearts sagged and Snipers blood was hot as they seized the initaive- Whatley turning in a Lik hot on the deflection at the right post before Barney netted another, then one from Todd and another from Barney all in the space of 5 minutes. The opponents had held strong for so much of the game, but once the flood gates had opened the Snipers were simply too much and showed some real quality to stick at it and win the game and with it the Mid Week League.
A great team performance managed well on the bench by Ben BC with passionate displays from all. Thanks to Paul Creeley and Neil Prior for their diligent umpiring and to Neil, Liz, Sara and the team for their hard work organising it all so well.
Snipers win the Mid Week League 2021, Sabres have one game left on Wednesday against the Southgate Adelaide Griffins.