Southampton are eyeing the possibility of a late promotion play-off push after knocking Croydon & Old Whitgiftians off the top of the Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 2 table.
The 6-4 win over the deposed leaders (who thrashed them 7-1 in the autumn) was Southampton’s fourth in a row and lifted the club into sixth spot, five points off the top.
Sunbury & Walton Hawks now wear the yellow jersey after winning 4-1 at Hamble.
Southampton produced arguably their best years in a long while as they surged into a 3-0 lead and turned around 4-1 up.
Jack Holloway’s early penalty corner, well saved by the Croydon goalkeeper, gave notice of Southampton’s intentions and it wasn’t long before Rob O’Brien finished a chance created by Liam Eastwood.
Before Croydon knew where they were they were 3-0 down.
Holloway scored the second and James Girling the third after O’Brien’s drag flick had been saved.
Croydon eventually pulled themselves together and, after clawing a goal back, swarmed all over Southampton.
But the city side regrouped with a sublime quality move involving Simon Watson and O’Brien giving Josh White the opportunity to give the men in blue a 4-1 half-time lead.
“This was the best first half display from Southampton in a number of years,” O’Brien remarked.
Soaking up pressure and playing on the counter-attack, Southampton stretched their lead to 5-1 with O’Brien’s second.
At 6-1 – White also scoring his second – it was effectively all over, but Croydon scored three late goals to take the gloss off an otherwise sparkling home performance.
It was Southampton’s fourth win in five games – a run they will need to extend at Winchester II on Saturday and when Romsey come to the Sports Centre on March 4.
Romsey were thrashed 8-1 by second placed London Edwardians, who Southampton still have to visit.
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