After an unbeaten 2022/23 season, last Saturday saw the first outing for the Southgate Women’s 1s in Div 1 South. Newly promoted we were eager to prove ourselves vs the recently relegated Prem side, Holcombe. We sought to establish our dominance early by winning multiple PCA’s that were well defended. Holcombe stepped up to the challenge and a few stunning saves from debutant GK, Louisa Bray kept us level for the end of Q1.
The second quarter began with both teams keen to break the deadlock. A strong press, notably led from the front by Charlotte Childs, gave way to several forced errors and close goal scoring opportunities. However, towards the end of the second quarter, the game took a turn with Holcombe scoring a well-executed short corner.
Holcombe continued to apply pressure as the third quarter began. Southgate, down to 10 women, were struck early by another Holcombe PCA routine extending their lead to 2-0. The pressure was on and with a couple of big challenges from both sides the game was heating up. Our cool headed man off of the match Charlotte Kelly showed excellent composure both in her attacking mindset and defensive dominance. Despite our best efforts we ended the quarter 2-0 down but in a strong mindset that game wasn’t over until the final whistle.
Backs against the wall, we came out swinging in the final quarter. We exhibited great determination and managed to pull a goal back, after a strong delivery from Helen Cathcart was clinically put away by Emma Mac. Narrowing the score to 2-1 the comeback attempt was on and met by a roaring Southgate crowd. Our back line, spearheaded by Flora Walker, played a crucial role in not only denying more Holcombe attempts but serving as a strong out-letting force. As the clock ticked down, the girls earned a crucial short corner, raising hopes for an equaliser. However, Holcombe’s defence stood firm, denying us the chance to level the score. The match ended with a score of 2-1 to Holcombe.
It’s impossible not to pause and reflect on the journey that this team has embarked upon during an intense preseason. Our key value of being relentless has been etched into the core of this Women’s 1’s team, and it was on full display last Saturday. While this match may not have ended in our favour, the unwavering resilience showcased by the girls is a testament to the progress we have made. The Southgate Women’s 1s are committed to come back even stronger this weekend, ready to take on our next opponents, Slough, with renewed vigour and determination. The stage is set for an exciting season, and the Southgate Women’s 1s are poised to make our mark.