Match Report : Jon Huddleston
Result : WIN 3-2 vs Rickmansworth
In a to and fro encounter, the injury-hit 4As fell behind to an early goal as the physical Ricky forward line muscled their way into the box and swept a ball into the corner of the goal.
However, Southgate have added a recent steel to their performances and were unperturbed, swiftly equalising when skipper Jon Huddleston swept a penetrating ball into the D that the lively Alex Hyer deflected past a static defence.
This brought Gate to life and they began to dominate, creating a number of chances. The ever-excellent Sajiv Saha dribbled through and beat the keeper only to see his shot strike the inside of the post and roll agonisingly along the goal line, and Ollie Costelloe, a regular threat on the right, and the lively Randall Hyer both had shots repelled. However, Ricky could not hold out forever and a roar went up as Raj Saha deflected a Will Hargrove strike home to generate a deserved lead.
Gate should have gone into the break ahead but lost concentration right at the end when a slow moving ball was allowed to connect with the post, wrongfoot the defence and provide a soft equaliser.
This only served to rile the 4As back into action and they swiftly regained the lead in the second half when Alex Hyer crashed the ball home from a tight angle following excellent build up play from debutant Yuvraj Sohanpal.
As the game broke up both sides could have added to the score, Ricky pressing for a goal and exerting considerable pressure. That they failed to do so was thanks in large part to a string of dominant saves and clearances by the dependable Sam Levene, ably assisted by the ever-consistent James Rushton and David Wolffe, the latter crucially clearing the ball off the line from a dangerous short.
Gate could have made the game safe with great pressure from Will and Alex, but no-one in red was disappointed when the final whistle came.
Truth be told, 4As have played better games and lost at times this season, so an ugly win was gratefully accepted.
MOTM was jointly awarded to the outstanding Alex Hyer, who added the attacking realism we have sometimes lacked this season, and to the superb Sam Levene, who gave a dominant defensive performance to keep the team ahead.
With one more team yet to be faced, 4As are starting to establish a foothold in a competitive league, and the goals are starting to flow. This all bodes well for the second half of the season.