Our 2019 Men’s Southern Championship season got underway on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, as Hobart United came to Pembroke Park for the first match of the Division A Summer Cup.
With both sides missing several key players, South East lined up with five players making their debuts and four sixteen-year-olds.
After an even opening twenty minutes, a quick-fire double put the visitors in command. South East fought back well, dominating the latter stages of the first half, and Chris Goodwin’s sweet strike halved the deficit before the break.
The hosts came out strongly in the second period and created two gilt-edged opportunities for Jamie and Reuben. Unfortunately, the chances came and went, and Hobart exploited the profligacy clinically, taking advantage of some slack defending to register another sharp double and, instead of being 3-2 in front, South East suddenly found themselves 1-4 down, with the contest effectively over.
South East continued to push forward and make chances but, with a few players picking up knocks and strains, fatigue began to play a part, and Hobart were able to break away twice more late on to add to their tally, giving the final score a lopsided appearance which did not truly reflect the competitive nature of the game.
Credit to Hobart United, worthy of their victory in a game played in a great spirit. And special mention to the #14, who scored four goals.
There were plenty of positives for South East. Youngsters Chris, Nick and Brock were simply outstanding, Zac and Liam work heroically at the back, Simon kept us in the game for long periods with some fine saves, and Michael overcame sickness to put in a strong shift in the second half. With the likes of Blaise, Pat and Nick T to come back into the side, there is every reason to be optimistic that this team can prove it belongs in the Southern Championships.
Despite the final 1-6 result, coach Glen Roland was in an upbeat mood afterwards. “This was a great opportunity to see the next level and as a group I think we passed. We played with a high skill level, just some silly mistakes due to pressure and intensity cost us. I am feeling very excited and positive for the year ahead. Today was a lot of fun.”
Another tough assignment next weekend, when we go to North Chigwell to face Metro on their own ground in the second round (Sat, 2pm).