Match Report by Alastair Whatley
The mood coming off the pitch on Saturday afternoon was somewhat bleak. The mood low, the brows furrowed and the spirits less than perky as the M4’s gathered themselves after a 3-1 loss to rivals Barnes M2’s.
The team welcomed back Huw Stevens and welcomed club legend Rob Schilling to bolster their ranks with some regular players not available and the combination of aerial (Huw) and silky skills (Rob) worked well with penetrations into the Barnes D forcing shots, saves, missed and action a plenty. Zech Mengrani went closest with a shot saved by the busy Barnes keeper from the left side of the D well kept out by the gloveman.
Yet Barnes had inherited some vibrant new forces in their frontline and searching line balls saw our defence wrong footed and a solid finish gave Barnes the early lead. Huw Stevens had a PC saved expertly by the left postman so it fell to Freddie Trathen to breach the dam and equalise before half time.
Some messages were relayed by the 4’s leadership team and we went in to the second half with more confidence- but the game remained tight poised. Sam Rowson was called in to action and held fast whilst up front Huw had another PC saved well by the same postman as connections in the final third just didn’t quite spark.
A cruel blow befell the team when a counter attack led to a well finished goal beat Sam and gave Barnes their noses in front. Southgate rallied with Rob Schilling forcing more saves from the Barnes keeper including one outstanding stick save stopping an almost certain goal. Yet it was Barnes’ day and 5 minutes from time the Southgate press to equalise was punished with Sam left isolated as the back board thudded home a likely defeat.
Still the M4 pushed on, more saves from Barnes until Alastair Whatley won a flick as the final whistle went. Nobody else coming forward the heroic forward stepped up, and what followed did not change the scoreline despite best efforts. At least there is no video of this moment and it can be forgotten by all.
A fitting end to game that left Southgate players asking what if. Some soul searching done, the team regroup, rally and go again this weekend against Richmond in what will be another testing affair. The team lie a respectable 6th in the Division 2 North table and need a win to sure up their ambitions. Up the Gate!