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M1's Resume League Programme with a Win

06 February 2022, 14:00, Banbury Road North (Near)

Men's 1s 2 - 1 Southgate Mens' 1s

The M1’s entertained Southgate at BRN on Sunday afternoon looking to build on four encouraging pre-league friendly wins during January. Their bright start suggested that they had picked up where they left off against Reading on Thursday evening although it took a customary goal line clearance by Ed Ellis (who makes such feats look easy) from a penalty corner in the 8th minute to keep the scores level.  Six minutes later Hawks had their first clear sight of goal when a smart aerial pass by Drew Blackburn found Archie Winter who carried the ball along the dead ball line before shooting against the cross bar.  Shortly before the first quarter break Hawks took the lead when Charlie Neat managed to force the ball to Matt Wilson whose opportunistic strike from the top of the circle seemed to take the Southgate keeper by surprise.  The play was open with both sides keen to force the pace and Southgate won a second penalty corner just after the break.  But Chris Price made a strong initial save in the Hawks goal and the defence followed up with a good scrambled block to clear the danger. Midway through the second quarter Hawks extended their lead when Winter carried the ball strongly down the left flank to find a defender’s foot as he entered the circle, leaving Jack Biggs to convert the resultant penalty corner.  Four minutes later Hawks were unlucky not to stretch their lead to three when Ed Tristem made a familiar strong carry into the circle which the visitors could only half stop and Tristem’s fierce reverse stick shot must have left a dent in the goal post as it rebounded to safety.  Hawks started the second half slowly and misplaced passes and sloppy tackling allowed Southgate to gain an early upper hand, leading to a penalty corner three minutes into the half.  The dependable Ellis was once again on hand to deftly turn the shot off his pads for four runs.  Two minutes later Southgate’s ascendancy was translated into the award of a penalty stroke, but the visitors squandered the chance, Price pulling off an excellent save, and Hawks finally managed to settle into the half with some swift counter attacks of their own. Two minutes into the final quarter Southgate finally breached the home defence, although not without contention when Price seemed to be impeded before the ball fell to Giulio Ferrini to tap in from close range.  With a tight scoreline the game became frenetic, and Hawks’ discipline was stretched to the full.  Both sides pressed hard, Olie Lobo going close with a shot which whistled past the far post following good approach work by Freddie Foster and Winter.  And home tempers flared when Winter was flattened by the Southagte keeper just outside the circle following a good pass from Tristem, only for a free hit inexplicably to be awarded against Winter.  A couple of penalty corners came and went at both ends and green and yellow cards were shown to both sides as the game reached a crescendo.  But Hawks held firm to take a hard earned three points.  An away trip to Old Cranleighans beckons next Saturday


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