Match Report by Alastair Whatley
Kwan Browne’s side returned from Reading with their first win since the opening weekend when they defeated Cardiff at Sophia Gardens.
Good performances notwithstanding against some of the leagues big hitters it was clear that Southgate needed the 3 points against a Reading side who have struggled to find their feet in the early salvos of the season.
An afternoon of heavy rain meant the assembled spectators who lined the pitch at Reading’s Sonning home shivered into their jackets as October weather arrived with a vengeance.
Southgate started promisingly and pegged Danny Newcombe’s side back in the early minutes and Ramshaw in the 11th minute doggedly punished a Reading defensive error to give his side the early advantage.
Charles Hamilton, looking increasingly confident in his forward position won a PC at the stroke of quarter time which was well run down by the Reading defence.
Southgate supporters found their voice at the top of Q2 when Richmond Lum achieved another quality finish to double ‘Gate’s advantage. However without drawing breath Reading responded with a misplaced pass leading to George Fletcher clinically finishing past Van Loggerenberg to the delight of the previously subdued home support.
Yet in a frenzied passage of play just 3 minutes later in the 23rd minute Southgate’s Teague Marcano poleaxed a ball with ferocity of purpose into the top bins making it 1-3 to the visitors.
The greasy pitch and slightly dim lighting helped add a feisty dimension to the game and it wasn’t long before cards and injuries followed as both teams fought close quarters. Michael Chapman kicked a ball away with some venom earning him a yellow which Southgate despite some sustained pressure were unable to press home
the man advantage.
Half time came and went as the post game ice bath was prepared at the rear of the Reading clubhouse to the puzzled backward glances of the home players. The second half was notable for Ramshaw’s 50th minute low right drag flick to earn his brace but also for a sharp challenge on Guilio Ferrini causing what transpired to be a jaw fracture.
The remaining minutes played out with a slight edge and became increasingly scrappy with Hamilton, Sofat and Gill being called on to run down a succession of Reading corners. Van Loggerenberg also pulled out a stunning stick save to his right stopping a near certain goal to bring the home side back into the game.
The final whistle came in a blur as spectators huddled into the warmth of the clubhouse and the Southgate players headed into the icy depths assistant coach Huw Stevens childhood paddling pool which cut a navy blue dash as each players endured a 3 minute recovery splash to prepare for their second game the following day
against Nottingham University at Trent Park.
It wasn’t always pretty, but 4-1 proved a decisive win and 3 happy points.