Sometimes it just works. After the debacle of a capitulation against Rickmansworth the previous week, the 4As got back on track with possibly their best performance of the season, securing a high quality 3-0 win over Blueharts to kick off Southgate’s Super Saturday.
The 4As Rolls-Royce purred into life from the first whistle as crisp passing and movement dissected the Blueharts midfield and defence, Sohan Dhana and Simon Holmes both having early chances.
The addition of Brian Cade to midfield alongside 4As stalwart Will Hargrove established a tight centre of the pitch and Blueharts struggled to gain a foothold. This resulted in their young side running from deep, but attacks were coolly snuffed out through secure defence from James Rushton and Jon Huddleston. Sam Levene, as ever, was dominant in goal.
Having controlled the spine of the pitch, Southgate began to make inroads on the flanks and steadily increased the pressure. Aman Chhaya on the right was a superb pivot, interchanging well with brother Aryan on the right and creating plenty of threat. On the left, Steve Gwynn-Jones was playing some beautiful penetrative slaps through the lines and debutant Oli Yaoz was getting to the line and threatening with some superb cross-D passes. Chris Rouse added thrust and guile on both flanks.
Yet Blueharts held firm until the arrival of the irrepressible Ali Priestley halfway through the first period. His arrival coincided with the first short of the game and immediately the 4As in-out routine was deployed with Hargrove drilling the ball home after a good first save from the keeper.
At half-time Gate reinforced the message about passing and movement and immediately found purchase, with shots raining in on the opposition goal. The keeper played really well to repel shots from several players but the second goal felt inevitable and it duly arrived following excellent build-up play from the back. Felix Rushton was central to this, dropping deep to link the lines, which allowed Simon Holmes to unleash a devastating tomahawk that Dhana deflected in with some superb reflexes. Opinions will differ on whether the ball was heading in but the deflection was high-quality.
With Aman installed at sweeper and dictating the tempo with some lovely interplay across the pitch the coup de grâce was applied through Aryan, as he glided through the defence and dispatched a cool shot into the corner.
MOM votes were widely shared with Aman and Aryan richly deserving a shared award after a brilliant team effort. 4As will hope to reproduce the effort against table-topping Potters Bar next week.