Southgate M7 conjure resistance if not the result against top table Ealing

Ealing M1s 7 – 1 Southgate M7s
Match Report by Mark Thompsett

The M7s went into this match hoping to repeat the performance, if not the result, from the return fixture, when a narrow defeat against Ealing pre-Christmas flattered the top-of-the-table side.

On a bobbly pitch, surrounded by grazing sheep, Southgate started strongly, with Simon Bate, Lawrence Whyatt, Martin Christie, Chris Rouse and Michiel Van Soest passing and moving the ball well through midfield, aided in support by Fin Batchelor in an attacking right-back role.

As the half went on though, Ealing’s control and pace up front started to make the difference. Happy to sit back and soak up the pressure, their defenders were able to hit crash balls up to the wingers, who would run at the Southgate backline assisted by strong support running. It was only a matter of time before the goals started to come, despite the heroics of Harun Sohoye in goal and Neil Murphy, Giles Weblin and Kieran Slorach in defence.

Once the first went in, others followed, and a chastened Southgate went in at half time 5-0 down.

A quick pep talk – cut out the back-marking, be sharper to the ball – and Southgate came out for the second half stronger and snappier. Ealing were always going to add to their tally, but Southgate scored the goal of the match, with Fin Batchelor, Michiel van Soest, and Lawrence Whyatt combining well to slice open the Ealing defence and tee up Martin Christie at the back post for a fine goal.

Southgate continued to press, with Freddie Bachler and Amar Johal working tirelessly to put the Ealing defence under pressure, but they held out until the end of the match.

A much better second half performance was reflected in a narrow 2-1 loss, with lots of positives to take from the turnaround. Man of the match votes were shared around, but it was Harun Sohoye who took the honours for his display between the posts – without his contribution the score could well have reached double figures.

The M7s have one more match to go in their London League debut season. It’s been a steep learning curve, but the progress of everyone in the squad has been marked, boding well for season number two.