After last week’s nail biting 6-5 victory (the first since Christmas), the 5A travelled to Hitchin to face Blueharts 6’s. Always a good, competitive and enjoyable game.
A few early stresses as our goalie was ill and a replacement was proving hard to find. Many phone calls later Neil Commons answered our prayers and arrived just in time.
Once we had all assembled – not too long after the scheduled start, we were ready to face an opponent who had been on something of a winning streak in this second half of the season. A familiar line up with our youngsters excelling last week and returning for more – Tom, James, Freddie and, this time, joined by Aidan.
In the early skirmishes it was apparent that this was a strong oppo, much improved since our 1-0 victory over them at Snakes Lane. Like us, a development side and a couple of Dads & Lads who knew what they were doing. Ten minutes of pressure was enough to break our resistance and 0-1 down became 0-2 after a further five minutes. A tough afternoon lay ahead and some wayward Southgate passing did little to ease the pressure.
Southgate counters were frequent with Woody battling hard to control midfield and Tom and James (x2) all threatening the opposition D. The defence worked hard and repelled numerous Blueharts attacks with Aidan impressive and working tirelessly on right and left side. Jez, Leon and Neil stuck to the task of marking the forwards and after that first quarter of an hour, we were back into the game until another break away and sound shot hit our back board meaning we would go in 0-3 at half time.
A rallying call and determination on the faces and in the hearts of Southgate, we were ready for a second half battle. And battle we did. A huge effort from everyone with determination and commitment on show from the oldest 5A to the youngest. Aidan excelled in defence, Woody more dominant in midfield and all the forwards consistently threatened – James W and Tom showing some excellent skill and strength to hold off the weighty experience of Blueharts. Despite conceding a fourth, we fought on.
At last an attack in their D – well worked by James Finlay who proceeded to fire the ball home with his back to goal and a pleasing thud on the back board. 5A hearts were lifted. We upped the tempo and reduced the Blueharts attacks to a handful. Another 5A attack and this time it was Woody with the ball at the end of his stick – no mistake – GOAL.
So, back to 2-4 but sadly we had left it too late. Another five minutes and who knows…
We won the second half well!
Some excellent performances on show and a fully deserved Man of the Match award to Aidan Commons with mentions also for his Dad, Neil, who undoubtedly kept us in the game when we were most under pressure.
Two games to go, St Albans next.