M5’s hold fast for victory in 5 goal tussle at West Hampstead

2-3 Win vs West Hampstead M6
Match Report by Connor Wright

Having lost only 3 of their opening 10 matches, the Mighty 5’s travelled with a hint of suppressed confidence to the home ground of the ever-competitive West Hampstead.

Things started strongly. WH’s pushback got stolen early on and the ball got shipped forward by what could be misconstrued as a meaningful and visionary through ball. The pass found Mitch in space and, having looked up, he found only one player between him and the goal. Fortunately the agility of this player was somewhat hindered by the fact he was wearing full keeper kit, so Mitch took the opportunity to seamlessly run around him and pass it into the back of the net.

West Hampstead 0 – 1 Southgate

Spirits were high and passion was ample when Southgate’s forwards managed to secure the first penalty corner of the game, only a few minutes after scoring our first. The injection from Joe was sharp, Sohan’s stop was precise, so there was no excuse to not put the ball in top left of the net. I obliged. One PC awarded, one dragflick scored. Five minutes were down on the clock. The Gate were 2-0 up.

West Hampstead 0 – 2 Southgate

The rest of the first half saw some decent attempts at counter attacks from West Hampstead, all of which failed mainly thanks to the combined efforts of Matt, Joe, Sam and Ito at the back. Our attacking-focused tactics laid out by Skipper Jon kept us with a steady stream of chances, and in true 5’s fashion, none of these came off. One thing that did come off, however, was Matt, replaced by the still semi-injured Skipper Jon in the center-back position. Some hockey then happened and two minutes later WH bagged a scrappy goal after a quickly taken long corner. Joh then subbed himself off again.

HT. West Hampstead 1 – 2 Southgate

The second half saw much of the same as the first. Southgate’s midfield, stabilized by Andy and Raj, dominated possession and the likes of Arun, ST, Mitch and Rich all came close to goals, but alas, no cigar. This is until Alex created himself a tiny bit of space in the left of their D and slotted home a very tidy reverse hit finish (we won’t mention it was going wide and came off a defender on the way).

West Hampstead 1 – 3 Southgate

Now came the point in the game when West Hampstead managed some sustained pressure. A couple of great picks from Ito saved our keeper Alex from surely having to go 1:1 with their center forwards. This – coupled with the 5’s love affair with avoiding high opponent presses by hoofing aerials up the pitch (guilty as charged) – allowed us to regain some control. Sadly ‘some’ control isn’t enough to stop a fairly decent West Hapstead side from scoring, which the swiftly did (albeit with the back of their stick). Politely, though, they had waited for Skipper Jon to sub himself on before doing so. He then subbed himself back off.

West Hampstead 2 – 3 Southgate

Once Raj had stopped accusing the oppo of some dark arts, with roughly 8 minutes left, ST gave the imperative command for everyone to use their heads so as to not throw the game away. Not wanting to upset anyone, I thought it best to leave my post at center back and trot up the pitch to take a sideline in the oppo 22. Encouraged by Andy and seeing some space over on the other sideline, I threw a majestic D-clearing aerial which landed safely on the stick of a Gate player some 25 metres away. Sadly this isn’t how the other 21 players, 10 spectators, 3 dogs or 2 umpires saw it and the ball was deemed to have bounced someway inside the D, leading to a WH hit out. ST wasn’t angry, he was just disappointed. Raj was angry.

Happily for me, the final whistly blew only moments later, leaving us with a well deserved win on what was a quite pleasant Saturday afternoon in North West London.

FT. West Hampstead 2 – 3 Southgate

MoM: Yu Ito for his brilliance in both attack and defense.
DoD: Myself (for the aerial), and Raj (for the accusations).