Match Report by Alastair Whatley
After fine performances fo St Albans and Wayfarers Southagte’s Goblets travelled to Weybridge to take on the stiff challenge of an Old Georgians mixed side in the April sunshine at St George’s College.
Due to the boys U18 final and M1’s game at Teddington some of our more fiery male arsenal were deployed elsewhere but the Goblets were fortunate to call on support from all levels of the club in a team that spanned no less than 7 teams across the club. The stage was set for a strong contest and as SHC travelling umpire Brian Cade blew the whistle to push back it was clear that Gate were in for a challenging ride.
Yet Goblets started strongly, Mitch Read calling the shots from the front and Milly BC dominating the middle, Shiori and Lucy Sheff calming things in the defence. The first 10 minutes was largely dominated by Southgate, Alastair Whatley going close twice nicely set up by Mandy Feighery and Mitch yet both strikes fell just short of getting Gate on the scoreboard. Yet soon after these opening parries something shifted on the OG’s bench as they juggled their pack on the pitch and within moments the axis of the game shifted and never quite recovered.
Meg Lam and Zoe Griffiths were doing a fine job in midfield but OG’s started getting wide and in behind our lines as soon after 20 minutes they collared a ball across the D to a OG’s attacker on the far post who drilled in a clinical finish. Ivan Stark made a menace of himself on the right midfield and helped link some good passages of play- yet even with the support of Jon Huddleston and Will Hargrove supporting behind him were unable to prevent the second goal which was a mirror image of the first. 2-0. Yet Southgate were far from out as Mitch Read broke free and just missed the mark with the ball scudding past the right post.
The half went back and forth neither side giving much leeway- Gate finding free space on the attack but often getting caught in the middle or seeking to overcomplicate the distribution- Akshay in goal kept some strong shots from OG’s at bay and saw off their short corner threat with ease. On the stroke of half time OG’s managed to win a short and calling all players forward pressed hard despite a bodged injection, stop and initial shot and in the melee the Goblets saw the ball dance against the back board with little élan but a hard to swallow outcome as we went into the half time huddle 0-3 down.
A spirited half time chat saw us jump out of the traps, yet OG’s simply had more legs, strength and skill. Shiori and Milly both managed to see off some tough physical play from the oppo and stood their ground magnificently and Michelle Joubert, Mandy, Al and Mitch all worked hard against a stoic OG’s defence. Gate saw off countless OG’s shorts and the defence put up valiant resistance. in fact it was a spirited a half as you are likely to see. Chances for the Goblet were few and far between, Ben BC nailed a ball into the D to the right post which fell inches from a diving Whatley stick but otherwise the OG goalie was quieter in the second half.
Only once did OG’s breakthrough as they drew Akshay out of his area for a Noya style dive which alas didn’t work as intended and allowed OG’s to send the ball home and make it 0-4 where it remained.
Defeated on paper but not in spirit, a real team performance full of guts, heart and Southgate spirit. The team should be righty proud to reach the quarter finals and will look forward to going further next year.
Huge thanks to Brian Cade for travelling out with us and being a superb umpire once again and special mention to Lucy Sheff and Michelle who played in every game of the campaign!