Southgate M2 vs Purley Walcountians M1
17th October, 2023
Southgate Hockey Centre
by Alastair Whatley
Southgate’s Will Shepherdson almost stole Sim Bird’s thunder with his accurate toe poke of a back post deflection creating ribald scenes on the ‘Gate balcony as Purley experienced the wrath of a menacing Southgate performance.
Bird was on the scoresheet with a tidy tomahawk that left the Purley keeper little chance as he gloved it into the owls nook. J
Jez Donoghue followed suit moments later as he scored his 2’s debut goal with a tasty one handed deflection from a Lewis Hollett bobby dazzler of a bobbling cross from the baseline.
Minutes from the half time whistle it was Bird again who broke free on the counter and stormed top D this time slotting neatly past the keepers outstretched left foot making the scoreline 3-0 as the half time oranges arrived.
Will Shepherdson made a name for himself last year as a smart wing back, cool, calm and composed. This year however under coach Chris Pearce the 2’s social secretary has found himself at high altitude lurking like a Scottish mist over Arthur’s Seat. In the 50th minute such a moment occurred and unmarked at the best post he feigned surprise that stand-in Skipper Drew Burkin’s razor accurate cross ended up on his stick within an inch of the goal line. Shepherdson unsure of himself gave the ball a coaxing nibble whereupon the ball popped up threatening one of Southgate’s great misses- yet immediately the training kicked in and with a finish to make Ramshaw and Teague blush Shepherdson deftly tapped the ball home within 10 centimetres of the goal line.
Sim Bird duly put out by this unequivocal upstaging came back on and collared a vibrant forehand on an angle for his hat-trick. Purley responded at the other end as Savvas felt obliged to ensure their long journey from the depths of South London was not unrewarded.
Bird then ensured the match report would be largely about him with another sublime reverse past the Purley keepers at the near post to claim his fourth. Making that now 7 fro 2 games.
A very fine move at the end saw Purley claim a second consolation with a beautifully taken diving deflection leaving Savvas no chance before Will Wright saw his hard work off the ball pay off with a canny one handed finish off a deflected shot making the score 7-2 at the final whistle.
Although Bird and Shepherdson steal the limelight this week it was a consummate team performance from a playing group growing in confidence with their third successive win. This week the team travel to Tulsa Hill & Dulwich where they will look to continue there charge up the table.