A rather bitter result to swallow in a fantastic team performance.
in 3-2 defeat
To travel to Southgate and lose 3-2 is tough, to travel to Southgate and lose 3-2 in the last 2 minutes is tougher, to travel to Southgate and lose 3-2 in the last 2 minutes and have 3 goals ruled out is tough to swallow.
A bright sunny day saw the 4s make their final trip of the year to London, most people venture to the Tower of London or Hyde Park on such occasions but the 4s were again in the Southgate area for the fifth time this season. On a positive Zach Christodoulou was early and everybody made it to the ground despite some directions from an Iranian gentlemen which were not the most accurate.
With no keeper available Dan Coverdale took on the role of kicking back after much discussions with the umpires regarding what he could wear and what he could do. However a strong first five minutes from Shefford saw a short corner propelled into the back board by Grant Maxted only for the umpire to decide it had crossed the line well above the required height (before defying gravity to hit the base of the back board). Southgate responded strongly to this and soon took the lead with a series of good passes from midfield, a second goal followed soon after despite Ed Murray-Clark doing well not to take one on the chin. A further goal for Shefford and again ruled out. Alistair Wood also coming close and doing well to round the keeper but a heavy touch saw the ball head wide of the post. A third goal ruled out justifiably just before half time with a shot from outside the area being turned into his own goal by a Southgate defender.
So a relatively positive half time team talk as in all fairness Shefford had played some good hockey. The second half began and Shefford were on the score sheet (officially) in the first 45 seconds with Maxted, Barden and Elliot Wood all combining to set up Gully who made no mistake in front of goal. Shefford then played some brilliant hockey, Elliot Wood causing countless problems on the left wing, Paul Barden and Maxted continued to link up well and the likes of Ben Stone and Lewis Barden both getting into shooting positions as Southgate started to look rattled. A short corner saw Maxted again blast the ball into the back board and this time the goal stood meaning a rather frantic ten minutes, Sam Giddings putting in a series of good tackles including a full length dive so disrupt the attackers and Neil Blannin being a constant thorn in the Shefford defence.
However with two minutes left on the clock a Southgate shot went wide only for the umpire then to decide to bring the play back for a Southgate ball (as one of the opposition insisted it had hit a Shefford foot) just outside the D. Despite a further foot just inside the D the umpire decided to play advantage and Southgate blasted the ball home before running off like they’d won the world cup. A few unhelpful verbals from both sides…my Dad’s bigger than your Dad etc …didn’t help the final few seconds of the game.
Sadly a game that won’t be remembered for the great battling S&S performance but more for what could have been had the decisions gone our way. Sportingly Shefford all returned for post-match teas and were joined by 1 of the opposition, 1 umpire and an unknown gentlemen with a rather fantastic beard.
Other assorted highlights of the day saw a red Audi bash into the back of Sam Giddings at the roundabout directly outside of Southgate tube station on the return home and for Gully to show us some method acting in the changing rooms.
A 3-2 defeat, a rather bitter result to swallow and a fantastic team performance.