Match Report by Molly Smith
Southgate womens 1s were faced with yet another important game as they saw themselves against a tough opposition- Hampstead and Westminster. Southgate reacted straight off the whistle, moving the ball around sharply with exceptional ball pace from the back line, with Ellie Halliday and Flora Walker looking to break through Hampsteads high press to make connections with the High Midfielders and the forwards. A clever passage of play won us a penalty corner within the first 7 minutes of the game. A well executed corner routine gave Southgate the lead with goal scorer Connie, stepping up once again adding to her goal tally. However, Hampstead and Westminster came out fast causing an instant reaction from our Southgate back line. They pressed high and with great intensity, forcing creativity from our half backs, Charlotte B and Amy K who managed to keep calm under pressure and move the ball effectively between the team.
Hampstead and Westminster constructed numerous circle penetrations giving them momentum to win penalty corners in quick succession. Southgate demonstrated some excellent penalty corner defence with the fearlessness, strength and bravery amongst our defending four, with a heroic goal line save from Flora W and a tremendous left hand save from Molly S. However, one penalty corner that was struck at pace from their near castle resulted in a tie at half time. 1:1
A strong half time team talk from Coach Andy R inspired all 16 squad members- giving the team passion, determination and strong mentality to start the second half.
As soon as the ball was pushed back, the front four showed great intent and intensity to put Hampstead on the back foot and under pressure, which resulted in them mis trapping the ball and making errors. We used this to our advantage straight away as Elisa F showed extraordinary skills, dancing her way through the defence. A free hit was won and she reacted straight away by travelling the ball around the shoulder of the D finding herself on the baseline, hitting the ball across the face of the goal, which met Connie’s stick at the near post, scoring from an angle that wowed the whole team and the crowd. 2:1
Within the vulnerable 5 minutes after Southgate scored, Hampstead and Westminster saw themselves under another attack faced by Lorna C who dangerously carried the ball threatening to score but chose to assist a rapid Emma M finding herself on the back post to tap the ball in- a perfect birthday celebration erupting a mega BOSHHHHH from the crowd. 3:1
In the last quarter of this important game, Southgate showed relentlessness in their deep defence with Bobbie B stepping up to block an important chance for Hampstead and Westminster, seeing the game out for a 3:1 finish. Another immense effort from players all over the pitch, starting from our defence to our screens who made clinical connections with the forward and mid line. A huge congratulation to Bethan H on making her national league debut this season and to Connie for winning a well earnt Man of the match reward from her teammates.
This result leads on to our final game this season which determines the winner of the National East conference where Southgate find themselves against a strong Guildford side.