Match Report – Mens 1s vs Southampton Uni

With Christmas a little less than a month away, winter had truly set in as Haslemere M1 hosted Southampton University. Preparation was less than ideal, with a frozen pitch meaning that Thursday training moved from the edge to the pub. 
In the pre-game team talk Coach, Rob Dilworth was keen to impress on his players the importance of this fixture. Top of the table Haslemere were coming off the back of some excellent results, including three clean sheets, while Southampton University were  mid-table, but on a good run of form. 
As Dilly had predicted, a young and energetic Southampton side  started the game well, stunning Haslemere for the first 10 minutes. The home team even went down to 10 men for two minutes, following a slightly harsh double jeopardy decision. 
However, after this ‘rabbit in the headlights’ opening encounter, Haslemere players mentally ‘switched on’ and started to get a grip on the game. The rest of the first half was a good battle between the teams, although Southampton managed to sneak in the first goal of the match. Haslemere maintained composure with stand-in captain, Andy Powell converting a penalty corner on the second attempt, after the initial shot was intercepted. 
The teams went into half time on level terms, which was probably a fair result on balance. If it were not for the joint man of the match performance from Alex Regan in defence, Haslemere could have gone in behind. Fresh and relaxed from his romantic spa retreat, Alex Knight also put in a composed performance, earning a number of MoM votes at the end of the game.
Following a productive team talk and refuelled thanks to match manager, Tim’s mum, Haslemere looked a different outfit at the start of the second half. A goal from Charlie Millsom, keeps his impressive goal-a-game record in tact and put Haselmere into the lead. This being said, a stewards inquiry may be required to determine whether he meant to mis-hit it into the floor. Nonetheless, they all count and even the opposition players could do little but smile.  
Perhaps the greatest positive from the second half was the ability of Haslemere to control the game, with patient and controlled build up play. At the opportune moment, Elliot Hall played an eye-of-the-needle pass to Finn Robertson, cutting open the Southampton defence and creating a 4 vs 3 opportunity. In a slick move that was straight off the training ground, Finn picked out Charlie, who found Zack at the back post. It was unclear who was happier with this team goal, Zack or the coach!  
Andy Powell added another goal, to make the final score 4-1, and earn the captain a number of MoM votes. However, not quite as many as the joint man of the match, Josh Eve (alongside Alex Regan) for a solid performance in the midfield. Luckily, it seems most teammates had forgotten Josh’s rather poor ‘square-ial’ from the first half. 
It was notable that every players got at least one MoM vote, meaning that this really was the definition of a team performance. With two games to go, Haslemere look to continue their good run and go into the Christmas break at the top of the league.
Many thanks to Len Millsom for the amazing photos from the match!
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