M5s Match Report 14/01/23
Southgate Mens 5’s pull of spectacular loss from jaws of certain victory.
Goals Richardson x2, Stark x1
The stage was set at the magnificent Lea Valley (2nd pitch), the weather recently abated and a sterling group warm up/forced march around the marsh lands of this lovely spot in East London was largely (with a notable exception) well attended by a 5’s team who were up for a big performance after their disappointing 2-2 draw last week at Osterley.
Jon Dann was away on military duties and he handed the pads to Harun Sohoye who came in for his second run out with the M5 this season, Raif Rosenfield was making his 5’s debut and James Findlay came into the side after a jaunt on tour with The Fishermen Friends singing sea shanty’s. Elsewhere Kabir Bowry and Ivan Stark reinforced a strong starting 11 with captain Dave Richardson and vice captain Nayan Bhundia calling the lines.
The match pushed back on a sticky wicket yet Southgate immediately found their feet with some strong work pressing the East London lines. Duncan Trathen linking well with Kabir and the forward line forcing a succession of incursions into the East London 23 which didn’t quite fall to the hungry sticks of the Southgate forwards.
The opening parries done and largely falling in favour of the men in red and black it fell to Alastair Whatley who taking a quick sideline ball collared a ball hard diagonally into the D over the P spot where David Richardson picked up the ball and jostled it into the East London keeper a brief skirmish occurred thereafter which resulted in their keeper sort of simply giving way to the ball which miraculously found its way over the line to the delight of our skipper and the team who all appeared encouraged by this turn of events.
East London fought back and our 5’s stalwarts Rory Willmott and Mat Mitchel sured up the central defensive lines with some good distribution and Rafi Rosenfield immediately rising like a fine Victoria Sponge to pressure from his opposite number and finding his way to bringing in Ivan Stark into the game in his central midfield spot. With Harun making some good saves the Mighty Fives stayed mighty and kept on pushing.
James Marriot after deciding not to participate in the frog march to save his energies did manage an exertion down the right to notable effect linking well with Arun Solanki working the channel well and finding repeated circle entries on one exciting occasion it fell to the demon reverse of James Findlay who has pioneered the one legged scythe to wicked effect in the 5A’s he wielded said scythe with much precision yet alas it collided with the East London keeper and the score remained stubbornly unmoved.
There then came a time in the game when the 5’s won a PC, Nayan working hard off the ball to good effect. Rory Willmott stood up to inject where upon it landed on the stick of Ivan who flicked it like Hendricks into the top right (ish) there were fist pumps and mannish cries as the 5’s noses went at least three furlongs in front. Another PC was won and captain Dave stood up as Ivan was off celebrating. Dave has a canny hockey brain and so decided to feint a strike, miss the ball with the slightest of edges which fell to someone else which fell to someone else which then hit something, someone fell over, there was a noise, the keeper fell over and the ball went out. The crowd were on tenterhooks.
As the whistle blew for half time and with mens chair of selectors Lucca Bilyard and the coach of Crostyx M1 also in attendance on the sidelines the 5’s won a PC which Rory Willmott injected with customary precision, Ivan flicked, it was saved, Whatley picked it up – he shot, it was saved, something happened and people shouted but the umpires had had enough and called it half time. Southgate still 2-0 up.
…and that was the good bit.
In the half time huddle, the Fives said all the right things, there were words of encouragement, words of frustration and words of wisdom in no particular order. We gathered and decided on absolutely no account would we lose this game.
Which we promptly did.
East London had clearly done a better half time talk than the 5’s as they came out re-energised and pulsating with a buzzing energy to match their orange shirts. If pressed i would venture that they went man to man and turned on the press meaning our defence found it harder to release the ball, yet once released it did fall to the whirling hands of David Richardson who did a run and a little shimmy and a pass to Whatley who gave it back to his skipper who pushed it into the East London keepers pads who then returned it to Dave’s stick who then moved past the keeper and played it to the back post where Whatley neatly tapped it in. 3-0. Game surely won.
Except then fate turned against the Mighty Fives as the Hockey Gods woke up from their night out in India at the fabulous new Birsa Munda International stadium and looked down in this foggy new London light and aghast saw that they were watching a different sort of spectacle and turned their hangover to ire and directed it firmly at the feet of Whatley who it was deemed had in fact kicked the ball over the goal line and mid celebration (a gentle one as it could be argued he had stolen Dave’s goal) and was rudely informed it was in fact a foot and not a stick that had thus caused the goal and so a 16 yard hit out to East London and said goal so hard won was alack so quickly lost. 2-0 after all.
There were looks exchanged at this point. The imagination is best to conjure them. They weren’t wholly pleasant looks.
And of course East London then scored with a rather good reverse strike which Harun had little chance of stopping. Mat Mitchel claimed retrospective responsibility but equally possible was that the 5’s were all feeling the sands shift and the momentum change and a mounting inevitability started to swell and swirl around the hallowed blue turf beneath our feet.
And then East London scored again. 2-2.
The Fives shook over their stupor and rallied with a PC being won thanks to some great work by Kabir and Arun, Ivan stood over the ball which slipped to Dave who found himself like Zelda with a lot of time and under the watchful eye of the mens 3’s warming up behind goal staked his claim on MOM by thwacking it with real feeling against the backboard 3-2.
And then East London scored again 3-3.
And then, and still nobody can quite work out how this happened, East London scored again 4-3.
Everyone was very cross.
At the death knell we won a final PC which Ivan took, was saved and so it ran that the ball fell away for a sideline hit that was soon lost and moved away by an excitable East London side who miraculously snatched a famous victory from the jaws of certain defeat. The final whistle went and Southgate hearts were broken.
MOM went to Dave for two goals, DOD went to the usual suspect. Congratulations to East London who pulled off a blinder of a second half, to Rafi for making a fine debut and to those who stayed on to wallow in defeat and pick each other off the floor, share a beer and cheer on the 3’s. There will be better days.
The 5’s go again with undeserved headline billing at 3pm on Saturday against old friends Osterley.