27/09/20 : Mens 1 vs Southgate

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League

Lost 2 - 3

Visitors take the spoils in an entertaining game of hockey.

Havant Men’s 1st  2  -  3  Southgate Men’s 1st
 
As the sunny but windy weekend continued, our visitors today where Southgate for our first South Division One league encounter. It was the visitors that took the spoils in what was an entertaining game of hockey. Southgate made the best start moving the ball round well, but it was Havant who had the first chance when Chris Rea in goal had to make two smart saves to deny Havant taking the lead. Although Southgate looked in control it was in fact Havant that looked the more likely to score in the first ten minutes with some intelligent breaks from midfield.
 
However it was Southgate that went into the lead in the 15th minute when the captain John Sterlini deflected a ball hit into the circle past Maciej Pacanowski in the Havant goal. Soon after James Speke had a chance to level the score but he was forced to shoot from a narrow angle and his shot went wide. Havant won their first penalty corner in the 22nd minute when Maciej Janiszewski found a defenders foot in the circle. Jamie Rawlings fired the ball narrowly the wrong side of the post. In the 23rd minute the visitors doubled their lead after Charles Hamilton deflected another ball hit into the circle once again giving Pacanowski little chance.
 
Maciej did thwart Southgate in the dying minutes of the half when a turnover in midfield saw four Southgate forwards sweep on goal with only one defender to beat. Maciej came off his line to smother the ball restricting Southgate to a 0-2 half time lead. Southgate deserved to lead in a half where they looked a shade quicker than Havant and double teamed us with two and sometimes even three players surrounding a Havant player with the ball. Havant were unable to get into a sort of rhythm and were certainly unable to play their usual attacking flowing hockey.
 
To Havant’s credit they fought back in the second half and within four minutes from the restart Eryk Bembenek won Havant’s second penalty corner of the game and Jamie Rawlings stepped up to pull a goal back. His hard flick just inside the right hand post gave Rea and the defender on the line little chance. This goal lifted the home side who now had their best spell of the game as they pressed for an equaliser. Southgate did work their way back into the game, but there was nothing between the sides as they both mounted attacks. Unfortunately for Havant it was Southgate who scored next when an attack into the Havant circle saw the ball slipped to an unmarked forward just in front of Pacanowski, who came sliding out to smoother the ball, but also bowled over the forward. A penalty stroke was awarded and Alex Williams made no mistake converting in the 55 minute.
 
Despite this set back Havant continued to try and get themselves back into the game, but an experienced Southgate defence absorbed attacks. Havant did win two more penalty corners, the first was saved by Rea and the second in the 69th minute was converted again by Jamie Rawlings this time flicking hard inside the left hand post. In between these corners, Southgate won their only penalty corner of the game which was deflected wide of the goal. 
 
Despite losing this first league game, one should put the result into perspective. Southgate played well and without doubt are a mature, well drilled and experienced team that I am sure will be near the top of the table at the end of the season. Havant after losing a high number of players at the end of last season fielded a relatively young side, or certainly one with a subtle blend of experience and youth and they will take a few games to be most effective. There were plenty of positives to take from the game and into next weekend, which is away against Canterbury who had a good win today to move to the top of the table.

Goals

James Rawlings 2

Man of the Match

James Rawlings