Surplus players in the top ranks of the club means lots of drop downs and some much-welcomed skilled players. One such player is ‘Lighting McQueen’, AKA Jimmy Wood, and another firm favourite, whom the M4s would dearly like to convince to remain but sadly he is still too good and in hot demand, is Neil Sneade. Neil, on the mend from a viral infection, performed at his customary best, denying the opposition strikers any opportunity to score. The delight and excitement of having Jimmy drop down was overwhelming. We all know what he is capable of and relished seeing the opposition struggle to keep up with his blistering pace, but unfortunately he suffered a hand injury three minutes into the first half resulting in a hasty exit to A&E; an even bigger tragedy is that he might be out for a while due to compound fractures in his left index finger. Get well soon, buddy.
So to sum up the day’s proceedings, South were victorious by one goal to nil at the final whistle but Leadenham weren’t push overs and made sure it would be a tight battle, so kudos to them. Our goal came compliments of Oli Weston, a bright young man whom has gone from strength to strength as the season has progressed, cementing his place within the 4s’ squad and earning him joint MoM with James Hayes. This being said, James’s performance on the day was exceptional. An athlete at peak performance, he has skills, speed and a defensive strength second to none. The man is everything a buding young hockey player would want to immolate growing up [Ed - I'm leaving that one in!]. James outclassed everyone in the central midfield position, bossing the opposition like a true soldier.
The new M4s’ skipper, but certainly not a novice by any standard, Mr Jan B returned after his extended travels abroad and forged a quality side for the day. His prowess as a captain could be exactly what the M4s need to ensure they stay in Div 5NW, avoiding relegation. On a more comical note, Jan managed to lose his voice only minutes from the start; perhaps a blessing in disguise for me, for had Jan been at full fog horn capabilities it could well have made the in-field bollixing I received for taking out an opposition player whom was possibly 4 x younger and 4 x lesser in body mass (fat) far worse… thank my lucky stars.
The forward paring of young Oli with South’s true foundation players, Rob Barton, Paul South and Stu Creed, each bring unique skills to the table, made life very difficult for the opposition. Stu had recovered from a fractured thumb and was back in full bloom with sniping runs, dribbling and scribbling, tying knots in the opposition; Paul somehow manages to find space and position himself perfectly - it’s become a signature skill, often rewarding itself with goals at the most opportune times; and finally but by no means last is Mr Barton - the Goal King of South has a deft touch and a calmness on the ball making him the envy of many, myself included.
Our midfielders Simon K, John G, Simon J, James H where fantastic, giving it their all and not allowing Leadenham an inch. Man marking was on point, work rate exceptional, providing throughput from the defence to the strikers. Lovely stuff to both watch and play among.
Our attaching short corners…mmm, just unlucky I think. Six in total: two wayward drag flicks, a cracker smash from John G and not even the almighty swoosh of the Monkster’s sword could penetrate the opposition box. But not to worry; heads up, guys, there is always next weekend.
Our goalkeeper on the day, George ‘Double Up’ Toynton, bored from his winning M3s’ game, was called into action a number of times, saving our skins and ensuring we would be victorious (enter the song by Muse – Uprising).
Cold day out but a warm encounter among friends, always a pleasure.
P.S. Jimmy got Lemon for not keeping his finger to himself. Harsh but true.
P.P.S. Big thanks to Andi C and Garth Weston for supporting from the team from the sidelines.
P.P.P.S. Pete Dreuitt made a brilliant come ack for the remainder of the game from what can only be described as either a super-clever tactical leave or a very sleepy ‘Ooops!’ first touch of the ball. Personally, knowing Pete it was definitely tactical. Well played, sir.