Southgate’s M1s returned to league hockey on Sunday with a comprehensive victory over visitors Brighton & Hove HC in a replica of the scoreline that got the season off to a flyer back in September.
Under sunny skies and in front of a balcony Wayne Garner got the crowd going with his DJ skills and Kai Browne delivered the match ball in the Matt Ramshaw designed new Southgate R/C car much to the amusement of the onlookers and the bemusement of the Brighton centre forward.
Southgate started strongly with Brighton on the back foot from the first blow of the whistle and it didn’t take long for Gate’s goal-machine Teague Marcano to get back on the scoresheet with a clinical finish on the back post. Kwan Browne followed with the second of the day from a penalty flick before an array of chances were seen off by a strong performance from Brighton keeper Chris Borsoi. Q1 finished with Gate 2-0 up, and it could have been more.
Wing back Simon Walker risked a nosebleed creeping into the D and polishing off a well delivered ball early in Q2 before Drew Burkin managed to get onto the end of a fine Dan West cross making it a comfortable 4-0 lead at the half time whistle.
The second half continued to delight the Red and Black supporters with some free flowing fast paced hockey, plenty of chances coming despite Brighton proving a more competitive outfit after their half time team talk. Teague Marcano secured his brace with a crisply taking flick from a PC which went low, hard and right before Charles Hamilton earned his poaching spurs with a clinical tap in from a ball that was possibly already on its way to the backboard.
The final quarter saw Drew Burkin score a scorching flick that flew like a virgin rocket into the top left netting only for moments later to see Southgate lose their clean sheet as Sam Rose worked a broken down PC past the out stretched pads of Gate keeper Savvas Hadjigeorgiou.
Speaking after the game Brighton team manager Jon Williams was both sanguine and gracious in his appraisal of a match which was played at great pace. “The scoreline reflects the difference between the teams, of that there is no doubt,” he said. “Southgate are just class. Every pass goes to a stick, every ball is trapped, every half chance goes into the net. They are a premiership quality team and they will hold their own there and finish in the top half.
Southgate’s perfect record sees them eight points clear at the top ahead of Canterbury, who leapfrogged Teddington thanks to a 6-3 victory. Bath Buccaneers also hit six in their win at Old Loughtonians which raised them to third.
This weekend the team travel to Teddington for a tough fixture on Saturday afternoon. Despite the success Kwan’s squad is depleted with injuries to key players Ramshaw and West and Teddington won’t make it easy in a game they have to win to keep their promotion hopes alive, meanwhile a win for Kwan’s men would leave our promotion chances within clutching distance.
Corney & Barrow balcony voted MVP went to Karan Sofat for an outstanding performance in his attacking midfield role with nods to Captain Sterlini, Kwan Browne and Drew Burkin.
The next home game is 18th February against our friends and old rivals Canterbury in what is set to be a firecracker of a game.