Match Report by Alastair Whatley
Southgate secured their premier division status and a spot in the top 6 for phase 2 of the league come 2024 as they put in a performance to remember. Not since 2012 have Southgate put in a bigger winning performance and perhaps never when the stakes were as high. East Grinstead came into the game short of their best after a 13-0 loss at home to Old Georgians the previous weekend but with a game in hand just needed two wins to gazump Southgate to the top 6 spot.
Meanwhile Kwan Browne and his players were looking to build off the back of a strong performance against Oxted and had the benefit of the home crowd as their 12 the player not to mention DJ Wayne on the decks. From the first whistle Southgate went on the offensive and won their first PC within 90 seconds which was well run down by EG. The energy emanated off the crisp playing surface, the red smoke from the flares hung like a wine red mist above Trent Park and the atmosphere from the throng of Southgate supporters bled onto the pitch as the action hotted up with every passing minute.
It took until the 15th minute for the pressure to build to breaking point and it was a crash ball cross from captain John Sterlini that reached Matt Ramshaw on the back post for a simple finish that cued a huge roar from the balcony as Southgate got their noses in front just before the end of the first quarter.
At the top of Q2, confusion reined as EG keeper Curtis was embroiled in a goal line altercation and after some minutes of stoppage, captain John Sterlini was awarded a yellow card as the umpires were unable to accurately place which Southgate player was at fault. Yet despite being a man down Southgate’s intensity continued and in the 23rd minute Kwan Browne got his shooting boots once again to convert the 2nd of the game and his 5th of the season with a smartly taken stroke which EG keeper Simon Curtis almost got to, Kwan expertly elevating the ball just over the diving Curtis to put ‘Gate 2-0 up.
The crowd was up, thanks in part to some electric work on the decks by DJ Wayne and they didn’t have to wait long as Richmond Lum pivoted off Teague Marcano north of the P Spot who turned on a sixpence shooting low and left only for Curtis to save onto the waiting stick of Lum who slapped it over the EG keeper into the goal. 3-0.
A piece of poetic magic followed as Dan West fed Ramshaw with a first time deflected pass which ‘The Ram’ with a ferocious finish lathered the ball at pace and on the move hard into the top right corner to be met with the sound of a now roaring Southgate crowd. 4-0 at the half time whistle.
The second half just got better and better. It began with MVP Rohan Bhuhi threading a ball from top D into the bottom right corner past a heap of EG defenders and the increasingly frustrated Curtis, who it must be said made a series of blinding saves throughout the game, in the 44th minute. Will Calnan put the team 6-0 up in the 50th minute with a rip roaring first time high D shot that beat Curtis on his near post, Calnan charging in from the top of the 25 at pace and bouncing off a magnetic Lum on the right baseline.
Ramshaw didn’t manage a second successive hat-trick when his 59th minute flick from a PC was well saved by the EG keeper but half back Sam Paterson found himself on the rebound as the ball bounced off for a smart off drive slap into the roof of the goal to a voluble howl from the red and back support now in 7th heaven as EG slumped back for the restart.
EG clawed one back in the 63rd minute when number 11 Jack Webb bagged himself a consolation goal in a well taken first time slap from top D which was met with the stick of Anton von Loggerenberg in the Gate goal but just had the power to rock the backboard.
Jack Middleton has found himself in a rude vein of form in recent weeks and so it continued with a magnificent touch into the top D pulling a ball delivered at real pace from his reverse onto his forehand before deftly flicking the ball up and over the blue and white stick for a sublime finish. Dan West in the attacking midfield had enjoyed a strong game having already created all manner of scoring opportunities and he finally earned himself a well appreciated goal from the ‘Gate supporters with a deflected shot from Ramshaw falling on West’s forehead for a fire cracker of a finish into the top right corner. ‘Gate pushed on for their 10th goal but time eluded a team that still managed to record the club’s biggest national league result in over a decade. The fact Kwan and his players managed to get the result in the manner they did under real pressure to perform is testament to the hard work, long hours and commitment from the whole squad on and off the pitch.
The team now face league leaders Old Georgians away at St George’s College on Saturday evening under the lights before they move their attentions to the indoor season. For now the Southgate supporters can bask in the reflected glow of one of the finest team performances seen at Trent Park.