Match Report by Mark Thomsett

The M7s went into this fixture on the back of two excellent wins and a squad starting to settle into shape. West Hampstead M9s came to Southgate in similar form after a slow start, and so a close match was in prospect.

Southgate started well, with Michiel Van Soest, Lawrence Whyatt, Simon Holmes and Aidan Commons taking control of midfield, assisted by attacking play from right and left back in the form of Neil Murphy and Luke Mather. Clear chances were proving hard to come by though, with an experienced West Hampstead defence prepared to sit back and soak up the pressure.

As the first half went on, West Hampstead grew into the game, and a series of high presses at Southgate 16s pinned Southgate back into their own half, unable to stretch the play. Neil Commons in goal was called upon several times to keep West Hampstead at bay, but eventually, a quick turnover in midfield leading to a swift two-on-one and the ball was in the back of the Southgate goal. 1-0 to West Hampstead, and time for Southgate to reshape and recommit.

Control and territory were taken back, and the recovery was capped off with a fine strike from midfield by Michiel Van Soest. 1-1 at half time, and a match that was finely in the balance.

The second half saw most of the play within the West Hampstead 23, with Tom Van Soest, James Wood and Peter Roughton seeing lots of the ball, but a stubborn opposition defence and midfield content to sit back and crowd out play meant that clear openings were hard to come by. Strong attacking work from a dynamic Fin Batchelor on the left, and sharp passing from Mark Mather added to the pressure, but West Hampstead held on for the draw.

Given their fine spell in the first half, West Hampstead will probably feel that 1-1 was a fair result, but Southgate may see it as a missed opportunity to extend their winning run.

MotM was Neil Commons in goal for his crucial saves at a critical point in the match, with Fin Batchelor also picking up votes after a match where he seemed to cover every blade of (artificial) grass on the pitch.