Close battle see Mens 1s narrowly lose out to top of the table Reading!

Match Report : Will Hargrove

Result : HT Southgate 1-1 Reading | FT Southgate 2-3 Reading

Southgate goals: Giulio Ferrini (3mins) Open play | John Sterlini (41mins) PC

“Pizza Night Perfection” turned to heartbreak in the last minutes of a great tussle at Snakes Lane on Saturday. Southgate welcomed the league leading Reading. A cool and dark yet dry evening saw a good crowd gather on and around the balcony. Southgate started with good energy and looked focused. The game flowed well and after only 3 minutes Giulio Ferrini drove the crowd wild with a well taken shot from a rebound. The team was energised by this and Reading looked a little shell shocked. Ten minuets later with not much of the first quarter left Reading won a Penalty Corner. A good routine saw the ball thud hard into the back board from a good flick low to Ollie Wickens’ right – nothing he could do. One quarter down and ‘gate on top if not on the scoreboard. The second quarter was filled with good hockey but was the least eventful in terms of the goal mouth action. Half time was taken with the score still at 1-1. Port and Cheese (for those on the balcony) seemed popular.

The second half started well, Southgate looking good and Reading dangerous on the break. Then only 6 minutes into the half Southgate took the lead with a flick at a corner from “Captain Fantastic“ John Sterlini. Energy was now very high and as the bar takings did well the crowd roared the team on. The third quarter ended with Southgate 2-1 up. Conceding Penalty Corners was always going to be a concern and so it proved with the scorer of first reading goal – Conor Beauchamp – adding another flick making it 2-2 with 12 minutes to go. Deep breathe time.

Clearly the game was there for the taking and in fairness both teams put pushing for the win above any thoughts of settling for a draw. The with two minutes to go a Reading player weaved past two or three Southgate players and into the left side of the “D” then passed for their tall centre forward – Tom Minall – to score for 2-3 to Reading. So frustrating for all the Southgaters but the drama wasn’t done just yet. Southgate won a Penalty Corner, the final whistle went, the edge of the “D” was crowded. The injection came out, there was a ricochet and the umpire on the by-line (but on the field) turned and the ball hit him on the back of the head. He was shaken. Christy Walklin assumed his day job and checked on the umpire. But how as the game to restart? and was it finished? The balcony gave advice…the umpires concluded it was another Penalty corner, then a further foul and it was another one…as fireworks went off in the distance we all hoped for some in the Reading “D“ but it was not to be – they saw the ball away on the next corner and Reading had their win.

A valiant if frustrating result – onwards!