Result : LOSS 0-1 vs Indian Gymkhana
Match Report : Alessandro Onano
Bittersweet debut for the 4s who, after last year’s winning campaign, are immediately called to test their chances in the London N2 league against Indian Gymkhana 2, a club famous for its post-match curry but also for the characteristics of a team with great skills techniques and strong competitive fury. It is no coincidence that the west London team finished the last championship in 2nd place and just a few points from the promotion zone.
The 4s showed up with a very young and deeply renewed team compared to last season, with seven rookies among the 4s out of the 12 available.
The game started as expected with Gymkhana in control and possession of the ball but rather sterile thanks to the careful organisation of the reds, able to block the passing lines and effectively stop the opponent’s attack in the few ventures in the 16’.
Southgate has also created some danger counterattacking on a few occasions and showing how the opposing back line was not so unbeatable.
Gymkhana’s goal comes as a bit of a surprise… with the defence in position and few spaces available, an opposing midfielder tried a rather unrealistic pass from outside towards the area in no man’s land. But fortune favours the brave, and the tenacity of the opponent attacker was rewarded after the ball destined for the end line luckily hit the post, catching the Gate defence by surprise and allowing the attacker to score the easiest of the tap-ins.
The score did not demoralise the 4s, who continued to contain the opponent’s attacks and create dangers with fast counterattacks by Angus and Lorenzo (welcome back to Southgate!). A couple of short corners went against us, well neutralised by the red defence, were followed by the first real chance for Southgate with Waqas (a positive debut with the club for him), who hit the post on the development of a short corner at the end of the first half (the only one of the match for Southgate against five for the hosts).
In the second half, Southgate tried to raise the centre of gravity, creating more pressure on the opposing defence but also leaving more space for the initiative of Gymkhana’s attacking line, able to create extra work for the excellent defensive quartet Will-Luke-Kirian-David (and is not accidental they all received a nomination for MoM) and finding an insurmountable obstacle in an always attentive Sam the few times they managed to shoot on goal.
Many goal opportunities on both sides but there are two sensational missed for the 4s: the first with Waqas, able on the counterattack to dribble even the goalkeeper in 1vs1 but a bit clumsy in executing a backhand in a goal now free: a performance which will be worth the DoD award for him to make even more memorable his debut with the club.
The second big opportunity is on Freddie’s stick who, at the end of a prolonged ping-pong in the D orchestrated by the trio Angus-Waqas-Alastair, hit a difficult shot in a precarious balance from the height of the penalty spot directly to the legs of the goalkeeper.
The final 1-0 is perhaps a correct result in the eyes of a neutral spectator, but there are many regrets for the 4s, who would not have stolen anything if they had managed to take home a point.
Now the head goes to the next home game against East London.
MoM: Luke T.
DoD. Waqas D.