The 4As had a late trip up to Hitchin to face Blueharts 5s on Saturday. Southgate started brightly and used the lovely surface of the Blueharts pitch to move the ball around quickly, and the early pressure paid off with Rich Martins receiving the ball in the D and managing to find the bottom corner to gain a deserved lead. From there Southgate looked to extend their advantage, Rich dispossesing a defender and sending Kyle Shah through but the keeper was out quickly and the ball went narrowly wide. Blueharts then worked their way back into contention, and only several fine short corner saves from goalkeeper Justin Edwards and some solid defending from Captain Jon Huddleston and Will Hargrove, in a new sweeping role this week, kept Southgate ahead going into half time.
Maybe because captain Huddleston couldn’t get through to tactical advisor James Rushton at half time, but he was rightly not happy with just the slender single goal lead and some stern words were spoken and Southgate knew they had to up their game to make sure of the points in the second half.
The hairdryer treatment and inspirational words did the trick as into the second half Southgate moved up a gear and showed their class. Fergus Comrie from midfield and Sajiv Saha from right back making incisive runs and passes, Jai Martins pulling the strings once again in midfield, Raj Saha marshalling the middle of the park, breaking down Blueharts possession and setting the reds on another wave of attacks. The pressure told, Zac Mistry from left back, with a solid debut, linking with Fergus time and again and eventually Blueharts were breached again, Kyle sweeping up a deflection after their keeper did his best to keep out striker Sohan Dhana. More pressure from Chris Ray then resulted in a short corner, Will stepping up with a beautifully placed flick right in the corner giving the keeper no chance and making it three goals, and three points. Kyle could have added a fourth from another well worked short but may have been put off by a loud shout behind him. Other than another couple of solid saves from short corners from Justin, Blueharts knew they were beaten and Southgate came away with a good win and a clean sheet.
An all round great team performance, especially in the second half, but special mentions to Zac, Justin, Will, Raj, Jai and man of the match Sajiv.