Hertford VI 2 - 3 Southgate Tankards Y
Another Saturday, another heroic but ultimately unsuccessful fightback from a 3 – 0 deficit against a team from Southgate.
Welcome returns for Geoff Hopkin in goal and Rian Weston on loan from the Academy. 5 changes from last week and a full squad of 16 to manage, but substitutions ran quite smoothly with everyone in a familiar position.
Southgate, mostly veteran with a sprinkling of very young but gifted rookies, didn’t really look like champions elect, they gave us enough space and time to play our passing game and we matched them pretty well for the first 15 minutes. Geoff got the toe of his boot to push their best effort past the post, whilst Daryl fired our best chance just wide. Southgate spotted our weakness against determined dribbling and short, fast passes. Short corners began to mount up and their routine was good, converting 2 to leave us 2 – 0 down at the turn around. We had our chances, Chris Duncan keeping wide and regularly getting the crosses in from the right, but as last week we struggled to find the final touch. Other than set pieces, Southgate were equally profligate.
Again we came out fast out of the chocks for the second half, dominating the first ten minutes with Graham White coming closest with short corner strikes. Southgate rallied and struck again from a short corner, but after that we took control again and play flowed constantly towards their D. We were most effective working our way round the wings, Chris, Rian and Aodhan combined effectively up the left, Jon Durbin thundered down the right in classic wing back mode. With Graham orchestrating, we moved the ball back and around with class and confidence, Daryl darted through the tackles and the Southgate keeper was regularly tested, but the rebounds and clearances didn’t come to us. Southgate still threatened on the break and Geoff H made some vital interceptions to keep us in touch, and Chris Duncan finally got the break with 8 minutes to go. We stormed at the fortress with unprecedented energy until Ian Rawlinson swept in the second……..but the final whistle blew as we made our way back to the restart. Too little too late again, but we have started scoring goals again and more important, playing very good hockey for long stretches.