Surbiton snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against W2

1-2 Loss vs Surbiton W3
Report by Miriam

Losing is less fun than winning. The Women’s 2s loss last Saturday was not only not fun, but also an emotionally painful ordeal. We had victory taken from our grasp at the last moment, played superbly and deserved to win.

Recent high-scoring victories promised Southgate success in our rematch against the youthful Surbiton 3s. We did not play at our best last time, but now our team sheet was different and our quality of play was improved. We expected a tense game with end-to-end action and a narrow scoreline.

The first half matched these expectations. For the first thirty minutes, both sides battled it out to take an early lead. Southgate’s numerous opportunities in the circle were denied by the keeper while Surbiton’s shorts were blocked repeatedly by our reliable defence. At one point, a tumble involving Bobbie B, Miriam D, and an oppo player left Surbiton with an open goal that they failed to convert. As the minutes counted down to half time, the nil-nil scoreline stubbornly remained. But with seconds to go, Southgate’s prayers were answered by Maddy D. Having received a beautifully-timed pass from Freya M, she made an attempt on goal and scored from a rebound off the keeper.

Ending the first half 1-0 up rejuvenated our hopes of a comeback victory. Ronan urged calmness at halftime, advocating boring, ball-retaining play. Ronan is no coward: winning is fun, winning is not boring. Be boring now and be not boring when you win. Enthusiastic at the idea of thirty-five monotonous, mundane minutes, the W2s began the second half as the dominant team. Simple transfers round the back and guaranteed passes broke the Southgate W2s tradition of giving the ball straight back to the oppo every time we had possession. We again outskilled (albeit not outpaced) their unseasoned youth and maintained the attack.

But Surbiton pushed back and won a short corner that gave them hope for an equaliser. Jess B and the back line had already denied several shorts so the odds were in our favour. It came as a shock, therefore, when a perfectly executed drag flick sent the ball flying into the goal. Nevertheless, Southgate soldiered on, determined to win back our lead.

Time dragged on and the prospect of a draw became increasingly likely, though the universe had other ideas. Under pressure during a transfer, Lucy S skillfully danced round an impetuous Surbiton schoolgirl in the D. Praise from the team was interrupted by accusations of a back-stick from the umpire. We implored him to rethink his decision but he was unmoved and a short corner was given against us.

Short corner, Surbiton score, Southgate lose, Sheff not happy. It was a scrappy goal, taken from a rebound amidst a confused tumult of sticks. Surbiton had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and the perfect opportunity for an equaliser soon after was crushed when a ball across their empty goal failed to find a friendly stick.

It was impossible not to feel downhearted after this match. But an even tougher challenge is coming our way this Saturday as we play top-of-the-table, undefeated Wapping at everyone’s favourite Olympic pitch. The idea of knocking them down a peg or two is enough for the W2s to pick ourselves up and take the fight back.