LOSS 0-1 vs Havant
report by Alastair Whatley
Havant away is perhaps not the favourite fixture in the calendar- a fair old trek and a slippy, greasy pitch make always makes for a challenging game.
Havant have had a tough season to date sat firmly bottom of the league and guaranteed relegation come the end of the season. Meanwhile Southgate are fighting to stay out of the relegation zone and came battling into the game off the bat of some strong performances yielding poor results with you just one win in four games.
A win would clear the boys from fears of relegation and after an exceptional showing against league leaders Canterbury the mood was positive.
Gate once again dominated vast swathes of the game playing well and welcoming Thaddeus Rivett back onto the team sheet after a couple of games on the sidelines. Charles Hamilton had his best game in some time and began flexing his twitch muscle fibres to great effect.
Yet on an early PC Matt Allister was sent back for setting off to quick and with just 3 men on the line, Havant took advantage and slipped the ball past Ollie Wickens in goal to send the men in green 1-0 up.
The game continued after half time with Southgate creating plenty of chances, circle incursion and opportunities coming in from the goal line pushing back to the T spot. Yet nothing quite stuck until Charles Hamilton won a penalty flick in the dying embers of the game. Thaddeus stood forward to take it and sent it low into the corner but the Havant keeper read it well and made a sharp save meaning Gate were still 1-0 down with minutes to play.
Goal-Keeper Ollie Wickens was replaced by 11 outfield players for the final moments and the gamble backfired when Havant countered and slipped the ball through the sticks to make it 2-0 and the game finally gone from Gate’s grasp.
A hugely frustrating result for all which once again showcased some great hockey but offered up neither goals nor points.
This leaves us with 3 games left and still 4 points clear from the drop zone. But points are needed to send us up the table and safe from relegation. This weekend the boys travel down to Reading for a tough game against the new league leaders who were running away with the title before Christmas yet suffered 3 successive defeats (including a shock defeat to Havant 3 weeks ago). Gate took Reading deep in their last encounter before Christmas just losing out in the very final moments.
After strong performances against Canterbury and Old Cranleighans the team are looking for a big bounce back and come home with the points on Saturday. There is a strong away contingent heading down to cheer on the team- so do come on down and enjoy the Reading hospitality and cheer on the men in Red & Black. Up the Gate!