Winning Start to 2016
By Will Thomson
Happy New Year from the Men's 1s
One a grey January afternoon the 1st XI welcomed Gillingham for a friendly at the Sports Centre. The 1s were missing a couple of regulars in Oscar Rigby and James Nurse, Will Meacher is now starting his school hockey and will miss the rest of the season. All the best Will.
The home side were using a new formation and were using the friendly to trial the formation change. The game started at a slow pace as both teams were getting there edge back after the Christmas and New Year break. The home side created plenty of chances and opened up the away side time and time again. The first goal was coming, a penalty corner was how Southampton took the lead. The ball was shifted right and back into the middle where Simon Watson casually slid the ball into the bottom corner to give the home side the lead. 1-0 Southampton.
Another period of possession was held by Southampton, Spanish student Alejo fired a ball into the 'D' to find O'Brien who spun his marker and ghosted passed another defender to the round the keeper and score on the angle. 2-0 Southampton. With half time approaching Southampton wanted to close out the half on a high note, Gillingham had a string of penalty corners and Simon Betteridge making a string of top saves to keep the score at 2-0, a break down at the back let a shot from the top of the 'D' from the Gillingham forward but it found the kicker of Betteridge, from the save Southampton broke and had a right side attack where O'Brien pulled a inviting ball back across the front of the goal, Simon Watson beat his marker to slap the ball hard into the bottom corner. 3-0 Southampton half time.
At the half we spoke about moving the ball at pace and moving it with purpose. The ball pace was much improved in the second half. The first bit of action in the second half was a loose high ball crashing into the side of captain Bryn Webber's head causing a nasty gash. After a bit of repair work by Bryn himself he returned to finish the half, he later went to Hospital (where he pulled rank) and had some glue to fix him up.
As the half wound on Southampton never looked in danger, keeping the ball well and created chances. With another ball into the 'D' O'Brien spun his defender again and slid the ball under the approaching keeper. 4-0 Southampton. A quick Southampton attack down the left hand side saw Stephen Wickes link up with Simon Watson and the latter finding O'Brien at the near post to deflect the ball over the diving keeper, completing O'Brien's hat-trick. 5-0 Southampton.
As the game came to a close Southampton wasted a number of gilt edge chances to expand the score but the 6th goal was scored when O'Brien passed the ball across the goal to Leo French who tapped the ball into the empty goal. 6-0 Southampton.
A good game for the side to trial the new formation and a good run out for the players we a huge fixture coming up this weekend against fellow struggles Hamble at Hamble College.
O'Brien x3, Simon Watson x2 and Leo French.