M7 secure Div 6 status in style against West Hampstead

Match Report by Neil Murphy
0-2 Loss

The M7’s season drew to a close on a bright sunny Trent Park day. Our opposition, West Hampstead 8, needed a win to secure the title. Southgate, secure from relegation, but almost as far away from West Hampstead as it’s possible to get.

A bit of a mismatch you might think…but no! As with many games this season the scoreline has not reflected the keenness of the contest. And so it was today – a 2-0 defeat could on another day have been a ‘Gate victory.

Although the last game of the season we welcomed, for the first time, Gavin and Joe to the line up along with the most welcome return of Luke Collier, en route to The Emirates.

A strong 7’s side were, however, soon under pressure as the promotion chasing oppo had much of the possession and all of the chances in the first quarter. Defenders Michiel, Joe, Fin and Giles were resilient under fire against a youthful, skilful and energetic side. The midfield were stoic with Gavin providing an outlet from defence and Laurence, Aidan and Os fighting hard to repel the attacks. This we did well and as the first half progressed we gained possession and with that our confidence grew. Gavin constantly winning the ball and excellent distribution launching counter attacks. Joe delivered some brilliant balls from defence for our forward line of Tom, Freddie, Peter and Luke.

As the half progressed the WH pressure eventually told and a scrappy goal gave them the advantage at half time. However, the Southgate spirit was high as it has been all season. We knew we were competitive with the table toppers and using the width of the pitch and a lot of determination we would be back in the game.

The second half started diametrically opposite to the first – Southgate had much of the play. We were dominating midfield and incursions into our D were limited and repelled by an ever gritty defensive line. At stages, the betting man would have put a tenner on the men in red being top of the table, not the whites….but still no equaliser.

A WH counter attack saw a goalmouth melee in our D – a lucky touch from their centre forward saw the ball spin agonisingly goalwards to make it 2-0 most certainly against the run of play.

Southgate responded with excellent midfield and forward play – Tom, Freddie and Aidan impressive as ever – but the half chances would not go in, the short corners saved. The final whistle of the season arrived and a 2-0 defeat entered into the record book.

A close run vote for Man of the Match between Gavin and Joe saw Joe take the honours – it’s always good to have at least one Spencer in the team.

Retiring to the bar, post match analysis turned the defeat to, at the very least, a moral victory and by the end of the M1 match at 7.30 a promotion winning season next year was confidently predicted. Much to look forward to as our skilful youngsters – Tom, Aidan, James and Freddie – get better and better….