Match report : Jo Price
Southgate 5s 2 – 1 OMT 2s
The 5s finally got their campaign underway a week late. With low availability and torrential rain throughout the day this was not the relaxing start that we had hoped for. Last minute changes and late call-ups (thank you Karen) to ensure that both 4s and 5s had eleven players on the pitch meant that there was little time to do more than a cursory warm-up, introduce ourselves and decide on positions. Our new-look team saw league debuts for four of our under-14 Juniors – Amba, Edie, Julie and Tilly. We also welcomed Mon, Julie B guesting and Sarah R swapping the sideline for the pitch.
Once play got underway, however, things came together nicely as we used the extra field player to make the ball do the work and take control of the game. With no keeper our aim was to pass speedily out of defence and keep the press high. Despite not having played together before we combined well showing good positional discipline at the back and driving strongly through from the midfield to take advantage of our opposition’s lack of speed.
Sarah did a good job of controlling the middle and within ten minutes had burst through from centre mid to gain a penalty stroke. A good effort was duly saved by Taylors’ well-drilled keeper but the Reds were definitely in the ascendancy. Around 15 minutes in, Kim BL, released from L1s’ managerial duties, was able to join the fray to give us a sub and enable a welcome breather for those who needed it.
‘Gate provided a sustained attack on goal but found the OMT defence hard to penetrate until a sharp pass to Mon at RF found Tilly running into space in the D and her cross was neatly slotted past the oncoming keeper. The half ended with a rare assault on the Southgate goal and with a penalty corner awarded just before the whistle it was a great relief to the home side to see the ball skid off an attacker’s stick just wide of the post.
Despite the rain still beating down and everyone completely sodden, the second half continued at a high tempo. Sarah was relentless in her control of the middle driving through to the top of the D to take shots at goal while still providing good distribution to both sides. Numerous short corners, a ball that hit the bar and a couple of excellent saves but still no more goals. The break finally came with a slick move from Southgate defence, a pass out to Jo P was swiftly released to Tilly running at pace and slipping to Sharon, well placed in the D, to find the back of the net.
With the end of the match in sight and sensing some tiredness creeping in to Southgate play, OMT made a final push to get something from the game and were rewarded with a goal coming from a short corner. This was the final score – a really good team performance played in terrible conditions but with great sporting spirit from both sides.