Result : 3-1 Win
Goal Scorers : Lucas Jaehnig, Amraj Soor, Daman Bansal
Match Report : Joergen Jaehnig
With the crowds nicely warmed up by the M1s National League match, the U18 boys took the centre stage in fortress Trent Park with the opposition – none less than South London rivals Surbiton – bringing their full band of England U18 and Futures Cup players. Surbiton appeared confident to steal 3 points on this sunny Sunday afternoon as they did not bring a coach with them – or he had run out of petrol on the way.
From the get-go, a highly contested match unfolded with plenty of skills on display on both sides. Both teams pressed and counter-pressed each other without many circle entries initially, however, the Southgate boys broke the deadlock after 10 mins winning the first penalty corner of the game. Lucas Jaehnig stepped up and converted with a powerful drag flick the keeper could only deflect into the net. On the follow both teams created more chances resulting in a couple of penalty corners which did not yield anything though. The equaliser eventually came through a well worked combination with the Surbiton centre forward nailing an unstoppable shot into the back of the net. 1-1 was the halftime score in an even match with chances on both sides.
In the second half Southgate immediately put their opponents on the back foot. From the push back the team showed great patience and a series of 11 passes involving more than half of the team resulted in a beautifully worked combination down the right flank. Sam Ziff passed into the open channel for the ball to be picked up by Barney Collier. His run down the baseline then set up Amraj Soor to score the 2-1 at the far post. 37 seconds into the second half Southgate had re-established the lead and their opponents had yet to touch the ball. Surbiton responded by furiously attacking the home team’s goal showing plenty of skill in midfield, however the battling midfield crew around Giles Woodland, Tom Murphy, Jackson Trathen and Vivek Dongha stopped them in their tracks. Behind that, the battle proven Sam Marshall and Lucas Jaehnig cleaned up the centre and Josh Chandler, Ruben Straat and Sam Ziff kept the wings neat and tidy.
Up front Noah Lavy, Oscar Prior and Nayan Bundhia worked tirelessly to chase down the opposition’s defenders and create chances on the break. 10 mins from the end, one of these team efforts resulted in Jackson Trathen winning ball in our own 25 and a textbook combination via Giles Woodland had Amraj Soor breaking on the other side. He found Daman Bansal in the circle who produced a stunning finish to round the keeper and put the ball in the back of the net from the baseline. 3-1 to the home team and the crowd erupted on the balcony. With that the game was signed, sealed and delivered.
Special mention to Veysal Demir – unilaterally but undisputedly named Man of the Match by the author of this article – who produced stunning saves to deny Surbiton an equalizer. Also, special thanks from the author and coach to manager James Marshall, the excellent umpires Neil Prior and Dave Plummer, Liz and last but not least the roaring crowd on the packed balcony lead by Chief Cheerleader Duncan for creating a great atmosphere.