Result : DRAW 3-3 vs Ham & West 5
Match Report : Kabir Bowry
Goal Scorers: Andy Buckle, Kabir Bowry Lucca Bilyard
MOM: Kabir Bowry
DOD: Kabir Bowry
Last Saturday saw the top of the table clash between the league’s two inform teams. With only 4 pts between Hampstead and Westminster 5s (1st) and Southgate M4s (2nd) we knew it was an all or nothing moment for our season.
Having lost to H&W back in November (3-1) in what was a hard-fought and close encounter. We all had this game pencilled in the diary and we were out to settle a score to prove mainly to ourselves that we are the best team in this league.
With the glorious spring sun on our backs and the stirring words, from our captain Kabir Bowry, about holding on to our unbeaten record, (this half of the season), at the fortress that is Trent park.
The match began like any heavyweight bout with both teams being tentative and sizing each other up. Although we managed a few attacks no outcome came from them and at times it felt like we were defending for the majority of the 1st half. Credit due to GK- Akshay P, Will Biggins and Luke Tullo who marshalled the team very well enabling us to see out the half with the score 0-0.
As the 2nd half got underway, you could feel the temperature both on and off the field rise.
Unfortunately, H&W drew first blood within 7mins of the restart a spirited run from a H&W player was only met by our very own Luke Tullo who clearly wanted to mimic the Charlie Ewels tackle. Thankfully it only cost him a green but meant that the man advantage was fully utilised and H&W in very quick succession found the back of the net twice. 0-2
With plenty of time remaining on the clock we started to mount attacks, and brilliant runs and energy upfront from Mitch Read & Leo Garner meant that we were stretching the game causing chaos for H&W.
Finally, our chance came from a midfield interception by Guy Garner to which he whipped the ball upfront to Andy Buckle, who battling stick tackles and shoulder barges against 3 defenders only came out trumps and calmly slot the ball in the back of the net. 1-2!
As the H&W legs began to tire. Southgate camped in the opposition half for large spells of the game meaning that Ben Cade and Lucca Bilyard could influence the game with the fastball pace through the middle and attacking runs from Alessandro Onano, Kiran Ghosh and Joe Kelly creating overlapping runs pushed the H&W midfielders further back.
Winning numerous fouls in the opposition final third, a quick free hit from James Cubin from outside the 25 meant that a faint deflected touch from Kabir Bowry inside the D, brought the scoreline back to 2-2 with about 10mins left on the clock. Game On!
However, H&W eventually broke through the lines of the Southgate attack and found themselves within our D only to slot the ball in the back of the net 2-3. Advantage H&W!
As nervousness and tension swept the pitch, tempers began to flair which most noticeable was from our captain Kabir, who decided to make a scene in the opposition D with their CB (unfortunately earning him DOD). But with time still left on the clock Southgate M4’s as they have done all season never stopped believing and pushing for an outcome.
In the final minutes of the game, Southgate eventually won a pressure-induced penalty corner. Upstep a hero!
The Penalty corner team had to convert. After a series of 2 Penalty corners in a row ….. the whistle had been blown for a full-time attempt number 3 had the M4s surround the D.
The ball somehow found its way back to Alessandro, who decided it was time to play ping-pong against the goalkeepers’ helmet and as the ball eventually dropped past the keeper towards the line a combination of forwards and defenders scrambling to score it was deemed to be stopped by the body of an H&W defender on the line. The umpire had no choice but to give a Penalty stroke.
As the whistle had blown for full time this was the last action of play Lucca Bilyard had to convert to earn the team a point (and H&W made sure he was aware of this).
However, the banter/noise didn’t affect Lucca he calmly slotted the ball under the diving keeper. 3-3.
With all home games completed, the M4s travel away for the final 2 games. Promotion is still not complete we need to continue winning and other results in the league to go our way.
But we thank the support we have received at home games all season.