A strong London Edwardians side seized top position in the London Premiership as they defeated a valiant M2 side on home turf.
It’s a long way to Honour Oak Park from Oakwood especially for a late 16:30 PB on a cold December afternoon. Yet the M2 traipsed gallantly south of the river for a top table clash with fellow promotion seekers London Edwardians.
Southgate were missing some key players in the shapely form of Sim Bird and the wizard hands of Vivek Dongha but welcomed in Adam Shiret for his debut as the M2 looked for a decisive performance. From the first whistle Eds put Southgate under a strong press, they had done their homework and looked to pressure our midfield and prevent the easy release ball.
It wasn’t long before they took the lead from a PC, Veysel Demir in the Southgate goal unable to do anything to prevent Eds taking the 1-0 advantage. There followed a heavy collision between captain Andy Fell and his opposite number in a crunching tackle that left Felly out on the carpet. Yet Eds took advantage and doubled their advantage with a nifty clinical finish which cut open our defensive lines.
Meanwhile the M2 were getting themselves back into the game with some good possession and some nicely developed sequences which saw Todd Lomas, Harry Haynes and Aeden McCrossan all sniff the Eds goal with some nice opportunities. PC’s were won and well saved by some exceptional keeping. Veysel in the Southgate goal followed suit as the game started opening out. And on the stroke of half time Kai Browne pulled off a training move to perfection and crossed a ball from the right onto the back post for Andrew Westbrook to zealously put the ball away into the roof of the goal. When asked for comment he replied,
“Back post tap in… inside my normal range of one yard… rolling back the years…”
The second half resumed with Southgate working hard to overturn the advantage, yet were put to a disadvantage when Mark Ellis came off nursing a still sore hamstring. Lewis Hollett stepped up putting in a shift for the team and kept himself on the pitch, who along with Aedan McCrossan, Kai Browne and Adam Shiret worked overtime to prevent the overload. Yet London Edwardians kept up the pressure and eventually found a cink in the Southgate defensive armour and shot through it with an alacrity of purpose. 1-3 and Southgate were on the ropes, yet still the boys came out with Harry Haynes once again showcasing his pace outstripping 2 or 3 defenders forcing chances which pinged around the London Eds goal. Posts were hit and their keeper continued playing a blinder with repeated saves.
The game wore on and Eds wore down the Southgate threat- Charlie Rookes and Ollie Wickham defended like lions and Will Shepherdson and Louie Sadler played a full game without respite. Eds however scored two further goals before the final whistle which left the M2 nursing a sore defeat from a very good team who are making their case to reclaim their national league status. Yet despite the scoreline, Gate were not outplayed and created plenty of chances. Another day, a bit more luck and bit less injury and the game could have fallen differently. Either way the bar has been set, the boys will go again and we will be waiting, well primed for the London Edwardians when they visit us in the Spring.