After a frustrating defeat up at Sandy & Shefford last week, the action returned to Trent Park with 5A’s looking to respond in the right fashion and restore winning ways. With the Wood and von Soest families on 4A duty it was down to the usual stalwarts together with Chris Rouse and Oli Heaviside making their first appearances of the season along with the return of Peter.
Bluehearts 6’s were difficult opponents on both occasions last season and the first 10 minutes were no different on Saturday. Play was evenly spread with Antony working hard to grip the midfield and Aidan and Alex, at right and left back, with lots of work on their hands.
In general, Southgate had most of the play and looked stronger but Bluehearts countered strongly and with a proven centre forward who scored three times against us last season. However, this time we had Mark Thomsett who shadowed him out of the game.
A couple of 5A short corners went astray and balls into the D seemed destined for blue rather than red sticks. But we kept on coming, the forwards working well, the defence joining in to provide wide options. Kieran and Peter hassling for all their worth.
On 25 minutes, Peter picked up the ball to the left of the D and hammered a shot which the goalie could only parry into the top of the net. Peter’s third goal of the season and advantage to Southgate going into the second half.
Not for the first time this season, the second half was really all about Southgate. A few Bluehearts attacks were efficiently dealt with by the redoubtable 5A defence – not Hansen/Lawrenson or Adams/Bould/Keown but Thomsett/Murphy/Weblin.
The midfield and forwards came into their own, growing in confidence. Oli Yaoz turned in his best performance of the season in right or centre mid, Oli Heaviside working the right wing to great effect, Antony pulling the strings. We made good use of the width of the pitch and transitioned the ball effectively.
A big chunk of possession in the second half just couldn’t be turned into goals and 1-0 is not a margin to sit back on, so the high work rate was essential and this the 5A’s did with great effect. An excellent team performance.
As a result a number of strong candidates for Man of the Match – from Antony, Mark, Oli Y to the eventual winner, our goal scorer Peter.
Next week we’re off to second placed St Albans – a chance to show how much we’ve improved during this first half of the season.