A glorious sunny morning greeted the Mighty 5s as they took the early train to Chiswick, who were riding high after two comprehensive wins in their previous two matches.
Withdrawals had reduced the 5s to a bare 12 that rapidly became 11 ten minutes in when Rich pulled up after a great start, and the 11 became 10.5 at half time when Zac felt a tweak and spent the second half posting high up to avoid aggravation.
In spite of all, this was a tremendous effort across the whole team, who drained themselves in maintaining a constant pressure on Chiswick.
In goal Sam was his usual brilliant self, imperious in his interventions and making one stunning save diving low to his right.
Across the back, skipper Jon held the centre with the outstanding Conor. At full back Joe was a non stop machine up the right flank while Rory was consistently solid and, in one barnstorming run, spectacular.
In midfield, Fergus was a livewire, a constant thorn in the Chiswick side. Ito stepped into midfield following the injuries and in an unfamiliar role, was absolutely fantastic. He shut down the opposition right flank and proved a potent attacking threat. Andy was coolness personified in the middle, keeping the team going forward at all times. To his right Jai was phenomenal. He popped up in attack, tracked back to support the defence as it tired and he ran rings around the opposition.
Up front, Mitch guested in attack and proved an incredibly valuable outlet. He dropped deep, picked up the ball and ran hard at the oppo’s heart. Alongside him, after a gutsy first half, Zac was a hero for keeping the defence honest whilst staying high.
The Chiswick goal was peppered with shots but Gate just could not find a way past a very good keeper. And this almost proved costly when five minutes from time Chiswick capitalised on a melee from a short corner and bundled the ball home.
Broken but unbowed, the mighty Fives dug in and in the dying embers earned a short corner. The final whistle went, the team moved up en masse and a calmness set upon the pitch. The ball was injected to Conor, who scythed through the runners with balletic grace. He shot, the keeper saved, another shot, another save and then finally, with the last touch of the game, Jon lashed the ball home. A visceral roar came from the Southgate ranks, Chiswick players fell to their knees and the game closed on a well-fought 1-1 draw. It was a great game, well umpired and played between two sporting and committed teams, an excellent start to the weekend.
MOM was Fergus for his relentless energy and guile but it could have gone to many this time, such was the effort and grit shown.
Onwards to an early home date with Harrow 1s next week.