Sabres take the fight back to Bristol Bombers Seconds team at home at Wide Lane showing they’re still serious contenders for a high ranking finish in SEMLA league 1.
Having been partially reclaimed by the sea for the best part of a month it was a welcome break for the Sabres to run out into glorious sunshine to face Bristol for the second time in SEMLA, having lost narrowly away the Sabres steeled themselves for a fierce encounter to settle the score.
Southampton started strong scoring early in the first quarter, the conditions favouring the fast breaks created off the back of strong face-offs from Alex Hamilton and captain Alex Hustler, such were the conditions that even defender Will Jones got in on the action, missing spectacularly after a pitch-long dash and earning himself dick-of-the-day in the process. There was pressure both sides of the pitch however, the defensive found themselves on the back foot on a few occasions, impressive goalkeeping from Jon Duckman kept the score low at one, the Sabres having scored three.
Starting the second quarter ahead Southampton let their intensity drop a bit, keeping possession from good clearing work, notably by Hustler who ran opposition about the pitch and picked up around half the ground balls. Attack converted well the chances they created scoring two more goals coming more from individual skill than the team performances the attack usually work. Jack McClelland scored his first of six, Jon Martin providing a sublime finish for the second, closing out the quarter ahead five to Bristol’s three.
The start of the second half marked a turning point in the game, typical of Southampton’s performances for the larger part of the season. Defence kicked up a gear, pressuring increasingly nervous attackers and being rewarded with a fantastic turnover rate. Again superb keeping denied the few speculative shots from far out allowing seamless transition play from ever-reliable midfielder Sam Marshall and defender Andrew Pelly to keep pressure high on Bristol. Attackmen capitalized on the clean ball coming up the pitch, working hard at motion offence to start a tirade of goals that would continue to the final whistle. A total of six players got in on the party, off ball movement playing a key role in demolishing a poorly organised defence. Ben McMylor, after an exceptionally theatrical cranking marathon, rocketed a shot into the top corner, joined by Robin Doulton’s couple.
With twenty minutes remaining the home team were in full stride, the ball having a brief vogue in the Home side’s half, but was mostly in the oppositions goal. Robin had a crack at scoring over his head facing the wrong way, acing the crossbar challenge, but if you don’t buy a ticket you can’t win the raffle. At the final whistle the score stood at thirteen points to three, a win for the Sabres. Jack McClelland contributed half a dozen goals, followed by Robin Doulton with two, and joint third with one goal apiece were Captain Alex Hustler, tireless midfielder Yusuke Miyazaki, Ben “Manchester” McMylor and Jon “I milk cows” Martin.