We arrived at a cold, windy and slightly raining Long Road, raring to take on a decent St Ives 2s side that we had a superlative 4-2 away win against in November.
With somewhat of a player deficiency across the club, we welcomed Oven for his first proper game back from injury. We also saw the likes of Matt Allsopp and big Si joining the line-up. I, unfortunately, had to join the spectators for this one, having damaged my ribs in a street fight earlier in the week (not). Naturally I received some Lemon votes before the game had even started. What a game I was in for though:
Both sides started off strongly and South started to show St Ives what they were made of. It didn’t take long before Oven and Ed produced some magic up front. The move finished with Ed smacking the ball into the back of the net, resembling something more like a cricket drive from Kevin Peterson. Six!
South were now in high spirits and St Ives realised that the M3s meant business. Toby, showing some serious stick skills, made mincemeat of their defence on a couple of occasions, narrowly missing the glory that is a goal. Both teams continued to fight through a thoroughly enjoyable first half. MSG was holding strong in goal until the opposition managed a scrappy one to make it one-all at half time.
Second half. Both teams continued to push forward, hunting for that goal to make the difference. Opportunities at both ends, but still no one could break the deadlock! Entering the last fifteen minutes, it was getting tight. Both sides started showing signs of frustration. Umpires decisions were argued and players started appealing like footballers. Signs of tiredness from South allowed St Ives to slip one through our defence.
Ten minutes to go… South know there is still time to equalise. St Ives have a short corner. ‘READY, READY, READY, OUT!!’, MSG bellows. St Ives offload the ball and shoot. Neil, pumped with adrenaline, sees the ball floating past MSG and leaps across the goal. His acrobatic skills resemble something close to Manuel Neuer’s goalkeeping, but unfortunately he forgets to use his stick and heads the ball away from goal. No flick. Neil’s kept South in the game.
South continued to fight a hard-fought last few minutes. On the sideline, a slightly dazed Neil was under attack from several pitch balls flying into him. St Ives clearly didn’t like his goalkeeping efforts and wanted to add to his already dimply forehead, resembling that of a teenager who’d just hit puberty. The game ended with no equaliser from South, but a quality game of hockey that we can definitely take a lot of positives from.
MOM and Lemon both go to Neil for “using his head”.