Goals (Bird x3, Allister x1, Burkin x1, Mc Crossan x1, Shearer x1)
A trip to the sausage factory helped bring back a resounding win from the tricky away berth behind a picturesque Brent Cross ground.
Coach Chris Pearce has been looking to build on some shaky moments in the first two games of the new season which have seen the M2 bring back mixed results from their opening salvos to the season.
From the opening whistle there was an urgency and intensity not yet seen from this group of players who include a heady brew of old and new from Drew Burkin in the forward line to Will Gibson in defence the team is being shaken up and remoulded into what we hope is national league material.
It took just 6 minutes for there pressure to break and Bird devoid of goals in his first two starts made up for it with a clinical smash somewhere in the circle which left the West Hampstead keeper well beaten. He followed his first with a second just moments later at which point for fear of altitude sickness he was taken off as he searched for his hat-trick.
Yet even with Bird in the cage the game continued to pulsate largely in the West Hampstead half as our forwards ran amok and it wasn’t long before Matt Allister netted his first of the season from the right hand side of the D with a fine finish and even finer celebration.
West Hampstead made the odd incursion into Southgate territory but the guiles of Si Walker and Iain Gordon kept them easily at bay as our full backs Max LJ and Gibson penetrated their balls with unearth precision into the forward lines.
Those balls were pounced on with alacrity and Burkin and McCrossan both converted before the half time oranges.
Coach Chris kept his charges earthed and focussed and sent them off into the ether of the second half determined to keep heads and control. And so it followed that calm and icy steel pervaded a second half which again set up camp largely in the West Hampstead end.
Will Wright led hard and posed a threat down right and left channels and Jonny Maunder worked tirelessly connecting the team from the screen as Bird was released from the cage in the hunt for a fabled hat-trick.
Yet it was Rob Shearing who struck first in a darting driving run from defence he found himself on the left hand side of the D and let off a reverse rocket of such ferocity we are certain that the West Hampstead keeper (who actually played a blinder in the second half) ducked for fear of his head. The ball richoted off the roof of the goal and left the Southgate bench agape at it’s brilliance.
West Hampstead attempted some rear guar action and managed to convert a PC passed Savvas for a consolation goal. The final word however was not yet spake as in fear of Shearing his glory, Bird pounced on the re-start and poached a final goal in the dying moments to ensure his sausage status and hat-trick.
It was a rigorous, comprehensive, statement performance that will be needed to be built on in the coming weeks. This weekend the team welcome Purley to the ‘Gate for a big home game, 13:30 PB.