A chilly, drizzly setting awaited the 5As as they ventured to the northern outpost of Shefford and Sandy. Lacking the reassuring presence of captain Neil, Antony stepped into the spot and did at least manage to win the toss. A positive start led to a PC within the first five minutes, Daniel Spencer being rather manhandled in the D, requiring him to have a discreet, purging vomit on the sideline. Woody Snr comfortably put the PC away with a traditional straight strike that rattled the backboard. Some good quality Southgate play followed, with youngsters Oliver, James and Tom growing in confidence with every game; this one was certainly physical, and they didn’t hold back in harrying the opposition despite some strong challenges. S&S appeared to have a couple of guest players, with a skilful spine that moved the ball on quickly. Unfortunately we got caught out by some route one hockey from them, when our forward dominance led to a high backline, and we found ourselves 2-1 down by half-time, despite our experienced defence spending most of the game looking fairly comfortable, with Michiel and Mark controlling things nicely.
Undeterred, we committed to better structure and composure, and were awarded with an excellent second goal, straight from the training ground, with a sharp Daniel pass to Oliver wide in the D, who sent it across the goal mouth for Woody Snr to tap in. Suddenly a second Wood family hat-trick in two weeks beckoned, but unfortunately S&S caught us out again, once with a very well executed chuck and once following a quick turnover of ball in midfield (captain’s apology), leading to a 4-2 deficit. This did not reflect the overall play of the game, as we had around ten PCs in the entire game, versus their two. A few PC shots went just wide, and the S&S keeper was experienced. One of their PCs showcased the epitome of making restitution; awarded when a harried Giles played the ball over the backline, Giles then managed to somehow deflect an excellent drag flick away from goal, leading to sporting tributes from the opposition. Thanks also to Kieran for joining the team late on; as a Scotsman he seemed well at home in the dour conditions.
Finn B had a very good and active game, playing in both defence and midfield and making some excellent passes into the D. Randall provided good width on the left and made customary good ground around the pitch.
For the last ten minutes Southgate showed real spirit in pressing hard for goals, rewarded with five minutes remaining with Daniel putting a screamer into the top corner; the S&S keeper graciously made a point of acknowledging its quality after the final whistle. For the last five minutes S&S were clearly rattled and running down the clock, and sadly the last grains of sand dropped through the hourglass just as James was nearing the D for a counterattacking shot. Glory eluded us this week, but we can all take heart from an encouraging performance.
MOM Daniel Spencer
Goals: Woody Snr 2, Daniel S 1