Result: Lost 3-2
(by Neil Prior)
A youthful (with a couple of important exceptions) 3s based team led by Todd Lomas hosted the East Region’s finest selection of Over 35s on Saturday as a warm-up for the O35s showdown vs their South Region equivalents next weekend. It was not lost on the more mature amongst those gathered that the East were harbouring some quality players – one give away being the wearing of retro national representation track suit top emblazoned with “Kenya” for example.
This was to be a close, hard fought game throughout with good spirit and even “banter” in the mix. It made the contest a pleasure to umpire in partnership with the umpiring icon that is RBL!
Southgate opened the scoring with a slick move and quality finish with a reflex near-post deflection by Alex Gibson through the goalkeeper’s legs. The lead was snuffed out by the East before half time with a move that belied the ageing legs of the O35s!
The second half saw similar combative play and an early Southgate goal from Kabir Bowry who dribbled himself to create the tightest of angles yet still managed to squeeze the ball into the goal past the rather dischuffed goalkeeper.
Digging deep, the experience of the men from the East started to show. They mounted a skilful attack on the break down the right flank, centred the ball only for the centre forward to be cynically impeded by the back-pedalling defender – according to the aforementioned match official – the decision: a penalty flick. This was handsomely converted into the bottom left corner to level the scores at 2-2.
Southgate went on the attack, won a small handful of short corners, had a sure-fire goal brilliantly scooped off the line by the unfeasibly tall sweeper and generally looked like the more likely winners. However, slow and steady wins the race and this was to be proven by the cunning from the East as they conjured another clinical break with quick passing and ball movement, catching Southgate on the back foot, and neatly finishing an attack started just ten seconds earlier from their own D.
3-2 is was to finish and a very good pre-cursor to the East’s challenge against the South this Saturday.
Much sympathy goes to Nigel Sellers (Costa) who organised the fixture and then had to miss the game due to track-and-trace issues. Good luck for Saturday.”