The match started evenly balanced, with the red and black managing to keep the exuberant West London attackers at bay, looking threatening on the counter-attacks. After a close call, which Sam brilliantly saved with a cat-like dive from a seemingly harmless ball that almost found the net due to a fortunate deflection, Southgate struck with one of their best weapons this season – the short corner. Huw capitalised on the slow departure of the defence, loaded his drag-flick and confidently slotted it home.
History repeated itself within minutes: another short corner and the same story with Huw once again thanking his stars and delivering.
The cardinal sin for our lads was letting their guard down after the 2-0 lead, allowing Richmond to claw back some ground. The 2-1 was a tad fortuitous, resembling more of a pinball game than field hockey, with the Richmond striker skillfully driving a mid-height ball into the net.
Southgate had the chance to redeem themselves with three consecutive short corners, but this time, the defence stood firm, leaving the score at 2-1 as the half-time whistle blew.
The second half resumed with equilibrium, but Richmond seemed more driven. Compounding this with a 10-minute lapse from our side, the West Londoners managed to even sneak ahead thanks to two flicks: a heavily debated foot fault on a goal-bound shot with the keeper beaten (but a defender in the goal line) and a clear keeper’s foul on the attacker.
It might’ve been the knockout blow, but this team has shown this season resilience to be one of its top traits. Southgate got back in the game, pressing Richmond, and the equaliser at 3-3, a splendid solo effort by Lik culminating in a sharp reverse shot from the edge of the area was a fitting reward for the endeavour.
Rejuvenated by the draw, the 4s pressed for the winning goal, but a touch of imprecision in the final pass left the Richmond goalkeeper relatively untroubled.
The 3-3 draw perhaps mirrors the play on the field, but there’s a tinge of regret in our ranks; with a bit more focus, they might’ve bagged all three points.
Next week, it’s an away game at Lee Valley against Wapping.
Man Of The Match: Christofer “Lik” Kastelik (Forward).