Match Report : Neil Murphy
Result : Southgate 3 – 2 Shefford & Sandy
After three consecutive losses the 5A’s mustered around pitchside at SHC on a sunny Saturday afternoon to face Shefford & Sandy, always a strong opposition. Pre-match nerves were evident in the conversation…”we must win this match, we need the points, we have to win” our veteran MS Patti demanded…”where do you want me to play?”…read on…
A closely fought first half ended 0-0 but really we had most of the game. Mark Thomsett marshalled the defence and Rafi was going well with his first time outing at right back and building attacks from our 16’s. The midfield combination of the Spencers (Daniel and Antony), Rob and Fergus were exerting control. The forwards though had few real scoring opportunities.
0-0 at half time is a worrying position for the 5A’s. We’ve been there before in recent weeks only to end the game with no points. An impassioned plea to dig deep, keep working and await our chances set the tone for what we hoped would be a change in our fortunes. But we all knew more would be needed. Who would step forward to take responsibility and take the fight to the opposition?
Cometh the hour, cometh the man! No one is more committed to our cause and to Southgate than Patti. Patti took up his position upfront, roaming around the opposition D.
Within 5 minutes, a short corner, 1-0 to Southgate, a cracking rifle shot strike from Patti hit the backboard. Shortly after and more action in the opposition half, a strike from the edge of the D landed with power in the back of the Shefford goal. 2-0 up to ‘Gate. “Who hit that one?” asked a Southgate defender, struggling to see so far ahead. Who else but Patti!
Two up might sound comfortable but there was still 20 minutes to go and the afternoon was far from over. Our midfield was dominant with Fergus showing great maturity alongside Antony and Daniel (who has impressed more and more this season) and Youvraj and Rafi creating space up front. As with previous weeks though the opposition kept coming at us. Twice within 10 minutes we had been caught on the break, twice they scored; 2-2 with 5 minutes left. Here we go again, groaned our regulars…
Shefford looked strong, we looked fed up but no one was prepared to give up. We continued to fight for every ball with Chris Ray driving into the D with great determination, short corners followed, shots on goal but to no effect. Two minutes to go, the ball came loose at the top left of the D, there’s time to shoot…who would you choose to strike at goal when the stakes are this high? The answer…NOBODY ELSE BUT PATTI!
Stick poised like a trigger on a Smith & Wesson, wrists cracking through the ball, eyes fixed on target, trajectory bottom right of the goal, a resounding thud as the ball hit the backboard. Patti has scored, it’s 3-2 to Southgate. Patti jumping for joy like a …well, someone a lot younger than he really is. A HATTRICK for PATTI!
The last minutes seemed to last forever, the entire team focussed on victory, fighting to make sure Patti’s efforts got their true rewards – a win for 5A’s.
The final whistle went. A 3-2 victory and a hat trick for Patti which will be long talked about and for all Patti’s team mates that day, we can say “I was there!”
No doubt about the Man of the Match but as Patti said this is a team game and we won because we played for each other. There were some great performances and honourable MoM mentions for Fergus, Antony and Daniel.