Romsey Men’s 1st XI 2 – 3 Southampton Men’s 1st XI

Romsey’s away day woes continue and they remain without a point on the road as another good performance ultimately brought no reward. The visitors were excellent in the first half and played on the front foot from the beginning with Southampton stuggling in particular to deal with Jack Forrest-Charde’s dribbling skills. This, combined with some ill advised attempts to slow down play after commiting fouls, saw the home side concede three penalty corners in the opening minutes.

Romsey were to win a large number of these set piece opportunities throughout the match and their inability to turn them into goals was critical to the outcome of the game. The first two routines resulted in blocked shots and when the third corner broke down Southampton delivered a clinical counterattack, racing forward in a handful of passes before an untimely slip by a defender allowed the ball to reach a winger arriving in the left of the area who swept home.

The response to this setback was positive and a shot from Lucas Cross hit a defender’s foot; this was unfortunate for Romsey given that the goalkeeper might have been beaten were it not for this intervention, as he scrambled across from the far post after initially being caught out of position,. The score was levelled however when Lewis Birch’s run in behind the defence was picked out by a pass from Forrest-Charde, and he coolly lifted the ball into the net as the GK went to ground.

Romsey enjoyed the better of possession and territory for the remainder of the first period, but the scoreline at the break flattered the hosts as they again edged ahead with the final play of the half. After placing the ball on a Romsey foot in the area to win a penalty corner, the resulting dragflick was deflected by a defensive stick into the roof of the net.

Romsey continued to threaten in the second half and debutant Sam Barcia was very unfortunate not to score after stepping up from the 2nds, seeing two good efforts denied by a stick on the line and a last ditch deflection. By the middle of the half the umpires had grown tired of the persistent low level fouling and dissent; Southampton picked up a pair of sin-binnings for repeated stick tackling and backchat respectively, and Romsey’s Jack Murray was also yellow carded for a stick tackle.

Both sides won multiple penalty corners in the second 35 minutes and it was Southampton who were first to convert, extending their advantage with a dragflick to the goalkeeper’s left. A second such effort soon after was deflected over the bar by a defender on the post before Romsey finally made a corner of their own count as Joe Welch got his side back into the game with a drag to the left of the ‘keeper. This set up a tense final five minutes as Romsey searched for the point that was surely the very least their performance deserved, but Southampton were able see out the win without major alarm and thus maintain their third spot in the promotion chase.

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