Result : Southgate 2 – 2 Epsom
Match Report : Jatin Patel
Wet, Wet, Wet…theme of the day! We ventured to Epsom for our 2nd league game of the season in the hope to make right all the wrongs that happened the week before. Injuries and unavailability yet again meant we had to draft in extra manpower and massive thanks to Jez Levy, Mike Hadden & Randall for stepping in.
Team talk was simple, remember what happened last week and use that frustration to make it right!!
We started well and stuck to the game plan – don’t concede in the first 10 mins!! We didn’t enjoy much of the possession but we were disciplined and stood our ground. Mike was called into action early in the game and he stood firm and thwarted anything Epsom were throwing at us. We just needed the opportunity to get the ball out from our half and attack their D and on the 3rd time of asking, Jez managed to wriggle himself away from the defender and keeper to open his account but was brought down just when he was about to pull the trigger. The umpire’s vision blurred by the gushing rain decided to award a short corner when clearly a P flick was the correct outcome. After consulting the other umpire who happened to be signalling the correct decision, the P flick was awarded. Up stepped Biffi who slotted it away as cool as a cucumber. We had to now work even more harder to keep Epsom out as they still had the better game plan but resilience from Southgate helped the cause until just before half time Epsom were awarded another short corner from where they managed to equalise via a disputed one where Hollett had his stick hit from behind which helped divert the ball into the net. As everyone knows Umpire/player liaisons are never 2 sided so any discussions to be had would have fallen on deaf ears!
At half time, we needed to change the set up as we were not getting out of our half easily to support the front. After a quick recap of positions and objectives for the 2nd half, we started to flow a bit better advancing forward and creating opportunities. Even at one a piece, we were still looking to get something out of this game. We had to stay focused to keep Epsom’s pressure under control but luck was on our side. Midway into the 2nd half, Epsom were outdone by the umpire as he blew too early for a hit towards our D which was taken outside the 25, calmly deflected in. A valid goal (VAR approved) but it wasn’t to be. Epsom still were pressing and a moment of lapse and with less than 10 mins to go, they managed to find the net via a short corner. With Epsom 2-1, our heads didn’t drop and we knew there was another goal looming, we had to step it up and go for the equaliser. Epsom decided to hold back which helped Southgate push forward and a few composed passes within the final 25 saw Laurence step up to receive a square pass from Brian which saw him advance into the D and managed to win our 1st short corner of the game. With less than 5 mins left we had to make this count. Good push out, great stop top of the D and a strike by El Capitano saw the ball hit the backboard – Bang. 2-2! With time nearly up, we held on for what felt like a resounding result given the conditions. A well fought draw. Grit, determination and a gutsy performance from all!!!