The LSBU winger eased to his 12th goal of the season against Middlesex but second half defensive frailties will be of concern going forward.
In what could have easily passed for a carbon copy of the reverse fixture in November last year, the game against Middlesex followed an oh so similar pattern. Race into a massive lead in the first half, score some great goals, win the game after 45 minutes. Then come out again and sit off, and leave the first half magic in the changing room. The only difference here today, is that sitting off cost them more dearly than the first time, three goals rather than one, and they did at least check the poor defensive errors by scoring four more goals to make it 9-3 at full-time.
Fast starts have been a bedrock of LSBU’s impressive form this season. In fact, they scored their quickest goal of the season in the reverse fixture. Today was no exception. Racing onto a loose Middlesex pass, Amin Martinez charged forward before sliding through a pass to Kaylem Weadock who took the ball out of the path of the defender and slotted home from 12 yards.
That goal meant Weadock and James Leyton were tied for goals scored this season and the LSBU frontman almost responded immediately. A flick from Darnell Depadrine was chested down and from the edge of the area, Leyton fired a powerful volley that looked for all the world like it was going to nestle in the bottom corner only for the post to come to Middlesex’s rescue.
South Bank pressure kept up relentlessly. Matt Clarke had a powerful shot tipped over the crossbar and Mo Gani shot narrowly wide from outside the box before a rare Middlesex foray into LSBU’s half almost gave them a shock equaliser. A cross from the left went deep to the back post, initially headed half clear from Clive Sarireni, the ball was controlled by the Middlesex forward who spun well before unleashing a ferocious volley goal-wards only to see it met by a spectacular block from Sarireni who denied Middlesex a certain equaliser.
After preventing a goal at one end, Sarireni turned from saviour to provider just moments later. Latching onto a through ball from Clarke, Sarireni, turned inside his man and despite being harassed by the Middlesex defender, managed to hold up the ball long enough to lay it off to Leyton who dropped back to receive the ball and fired home a brilliant first time left-footed shot from the edge of the box and South Bank had powered into a two-goal lead.
Leyton was instrumental in LSBU’s next goal. His quick feet and trickery drawing a cynical foul from the Middlesex defender just outside the box. Up step Weadock. Having found the net twice already this season from free-kicks, this one was presented to him on the other side of the goal, better suited for a right footer. But nothing was going to prevent him curling another sublime effort into the top right corner, leaving the keeper flat-footed. 3-0 and nothing less than South Bank deserved.
LSBU’s forth also came courtesy of a free-kick, although, with a huge degree of fortuity about it. Wide out on the right wing. Clarke swung a left-footed curling ball into the box that flicked off a Middlesex head and nestled perfectly – if unluckily into the corner. A cruel own goal but an own goal nonetheless.
LSBU’s fifth was as simplistic as they come really. Depadrine won a good tackle just inside the Middlesex half, spun and released Mo Gani who charged at the solo defender in front of him. To his left was the lurking Leyton who tucked away with ease after Gani’s simple forward pass.
Easy enough to say a job well done at half-time and that the second-half emphasis would be on pushing on with ruthless aggression. But far from keeping Middlesex on the back foot, it was South Bank that found themselves going backwards. Despite the scoreline, Middlesex possessed their own danger man who struggled to get going in the first-half but wasted no time asserting his ability in the second. The number seven received the ball just inside the LSBU half and proceeded to carve through the entire South Bank team like a blowtorch through butter. Poking the ball home past stand-in keeper Charlie Wetton to ruin any chances of second successive clean sheet.
5-1 however is no reason to fret but it almost became 5-2 almost straight after. A corner was only half cleared and as the ball ran away from the goal, the referee blew after adjudging that Depadrine had tripped the Middlesex man. Penalty to Middlesex. Usually players are pushing to take the penalty, in this case though, it was trying to give the ball to someone else. Once responsibility had finally been assigned, Wetton got down quickly to his left to push the penalty behind for a corner, the lack of power reflected the lack in confidence in the penalty taker.
The chance may have gone but more kept coming. A lobbed ball was seized upon by the Middlesex frontman who had beaten the offside trap, the bouncing ball made it awkward and may have been the reason his shot cannoned off of the post rather than nesting the corner of the net.
The game started to drift afterwards. Weadock had a chance to complete his hat-trick after an excellent one-two with substitute Pol Basso-Pinol but could only roll his shot into the keeper hands. At the other end, Wetton pushed a long shot wide with Middlesex’s number seven continuing to run all of his team’s attacks. LSBU got themselves on the second-half scoresheet soon after. Finding himself in a chasm of space in the centre of the Middlesex defence, Basso-Pinol received a straight forward pass and one on one with the keeper, toyed with one shot before slotting home South Bank’s sixth.
Middlesex responded with a quick one-two of their own. Receiving a defence splitting long ball through the middle, the Middlesex number seven latched onto the loose ball and initially completely missed his first kick at goal, but made no mistake with his second, rolling the ball home. He ran on to another long ball only a few minutes later, taking the ball past the on-rushing South Bank keeper and finishing well from a tight angle to complete his hat-trick.
After being kicked back into reality and finding themselves reduced from a five-goal lead to a three-goal lead. South Bank finally found the extra gear they needed to put Middlesex to the sword. Basso-Pinol kicked things off with his second since coming off the bench. A goal very similar to his first. Weadock received a pass to feet from substitute Brian Yego he waited on his pass through, finally releasing the ball to Basso-Pinol, he finished with a smart side-footed strike that made the score 7-3.
Weadock had dominated the Middlesex midfield and defence all afternoon and easily deserved his hat-trick. And he could not have been given an easier goal to get it with. Amin Martinez’s corner was curled in; it could have easily gone straight in under the bar. Rather it bounced off the top of the crossbar and then delicately fell to an unmarked Weadock who couldn’t miss his nod home from two yards.
The final goal of the game came from a cross from the right. Full-back Bradley Baterip’s deep cross was controlled after the bounce by Yego. Only six yards out, his fierce shot was blocked but Yego persevered to find Basso-Pinol. He was crowded by two defenders but in an attempt to clear, the ball only succeeded in bouncing straight to Weadock who tucked away his second simple tap in and his fourth overall to round of the score at 9-3.
The result in truth was never really in doubt. Despite the wobble at 6-3. South Bank’s five goal cushion at half-time was always going to prove insurmountable. The irritation will be conceding three goals to a team bottom of the league with minus three points. That said, to score nine against any opponent is a startling achievement. To do it two games in a row is remarkable. No doubt they will not meet as generous a defence in UCL next time round but the knowledge is there that even when one good opposition player can take a game to them, they can always respond by simply outscoring whoever stands in their way of the title.