Match Report by Alessandro Onano
This week’s match features West Hampstead 2s, a traditionally difficult opponent for the 4s.
The match is not the most aesthetically pleasing… numerous mistakes on either side make it clear that the game will be played on nerves and determination.
West Hampstead tries to press high and confine the 4s to their half, but the red and blacks maintain their composure fairly well, defending in an orderly fashion and breaking out with relative ease.
The counterattack is this team’s most dangerous weapon, and on one such break, the 4s earn a short corner which the usual suspect, Huw S., converts.
At 1-0, Southgate gains confidence and begins to push forward. It’s 15 minutes of panic for West Hampstead, pressed back into their own half, weathering the 4s’ assaults. However, the excellent chances that fall in quick succession to Alastair W., David J., and Saj S. all fizzle out, just inches wide of the posts.
In the second half, West Hampstead manages to reorganise and takes control of the ball possession. Their dominance is rather ineffective, though, posing no real threat to the goal, guarded for the first time by Daniel J. in his debut with the “adults” for our club. But the danger is ever-present, and fate deals a cruel blow to our team who find themselves down 2-1 in a matter of minutes: the first goal comes from an unfortunate deflection in the box, with the white team’s striker adeptly netting from close range. The lead is taken with a short corner.
Our team is not content with a loss and, more with grit than technique, they fight back and craft an equalising goal thanks to a swift move that in a few box-to-box exchanges, puts Angus B. in the position to beat the goalkeeper one-on-one.
With less than 10 to play, the teams (tired) begin to stretch out, leaving ample space in midfield. The psychological balance of the match seems to tip back in our favour, but the scoreboard from here to the end will mark no further noteworthy events, and the match concludes with perhaps the fairest result.
The draw allows our team to maintain 5th place in a table still dominated by the 3s. Next week poses an interesting challenge against H&W ZH, second in the standings and among the contenders for promotion.
MoM Angus Burns (midfielder)