Travelling To- Polygon

Southampton Saturday League Senior 1

Polygon 0

Testlands 5

(Dan Spencer x2, Sean Haines x3)

Attendance: 0

Southampton Sports Centre

If you could have any superpower for a day, what would you choose? 

When asked this question, a few options spring to mind; the ability to fly, being invisible or super strength. But if someone asked me this question today, I would have to say the ability to be in two places at once. As a local football fan, I would just go to multiple games kicking off at the same time- imagine how many games I would do if I could be at two places at once! 

Tonight, was one of those nights where I just couldn’t decide where to go. A top of the table clash in the Southampton Saturday Junior Three between St Francis and Dynamo Dockside had caught my eye and it was being played at a ground (pitch) I hadn’t been to. A couple of friends were heading up to Compton Reserves (also a new ground for me), but a late venue change for Polygon against Testlands to the Southampton Sports Centre tempted me for tonight’s entertainment, and it sure was entertaining!

Statistics

Tonight’s hosts, Polygon FC are a relatively new side to Southampton football. This is only their second season in the league. Their name suggests that they are representing the mostly student area of the Polygon in the city centre of Southampton (the residential streets between the train station and Bedford Place for any locals reading this. The side seem to be made up of foreign (mostly Portuguese) students from Solent University. Having lived in the Polygon area when I was a Solent student many years ago, on paper this seemed like a decent idea for a team, but it is unfortunate that those thoughts changed pretty quickly. 

It became apparent very early that their ‘European’ style of play was going to be hard to watch. Diving around and squealing whenever the opposition came near them became very boring, very quickly. The referee had a game on his hands for sure. At 5-0 down they seemed determined to get the game abandoned without much luck. If there is any team not to start fights with, it would be the lads from Testlands! 

After talking with a couple of other sides who have had the displeasure of playing them, it seems like they are universally disliked. I am not surprised when their goalkeeper told me he hates the English leagues and players. I was also verbally abused by a couple of their players for taking pictures for Testlands. I have never come across a more rude and self-entitled bunch of players. One of the characteristics of student teams is that they are usually short lived, so maybe in a few years’ time Polygon FC will no longer be around, if the league doesn’t step in beforehand to quash their thuggish approach to losing before they graduate and move on. I certainly won’t be rushing to watch them again any time soon. 

I must be clear that not all student teams are like that. Boujee Pint are a Sunday team of Solent students and they’re a great bunch of lads. The Solent Uni BUCS sides are also a great bunch, as are the lads at Southampton Uni FC. It is a shame that Polygon feel like they have to act the way they do as a couple of them could clearly play football. 

As for Testlands, I am always made to feel welcome when watching the boys from Millbrook and after seeing their win on Saturday, it was good to get down and support them again. They have now won three of the five games that I have seen since they started playing Saturday football at the start of the 2019/20 season. Despite playing more games than those above them, they are certainly in the mix for a top three finish come the end of the season, a great achievement after being promoted from Junior 1 last season. 

The Ground

This was my first visit to Southampton Sports Centre for a game of football. The area just to the north of Southampton City Centre is equipped with a dry-ski slope, an athletics ground with a seated stand, hockey pitches, netball courts, a BMX track and a handful of football and cricket pitches. It really is a great facility and offers a lot of open space for sports in the city. 

The football pitches aren’t in the best condition and they are a little on the small side and probably better suited for youth games. There are six pitches in total. There are steep embankments that separate some the pitches, offering raised views if preferred, and a potential hazard if you take a step too many away from the touchline. There are no rails around the pitches and the goalmouths are a little worn away and dry. I can imagine it is a little hectic on at the weekends if all pitches are in use. This was the only game tonight despite the other pitches being used for various club training sessions.  

Polygon usually play their home games in Eastleigh at Fleming Park, so I am not sure why there was a venue change for tonight.  

The Game

Testlands moved within four points of the league leaders following a comfortable 5-0 win over Polygon. 

Dan Spencer scored either side of half time before Sean Haines came off the bench to score a sensational treble to stretch their unbeaten run to nine games. The game had been a feisty affair and ended in some ugly scenes as Polygon reacted badly to the score line, with players from both sides embroiled in a scrap that the referee had no control of. 

The opening exchanges were littered with fouls for both sides and Testlands were unlucky not to get an early penalty when Dan Scott was tripped on the edge of the area. The Testlands forward picked up an early booking after some theatrical diving from the hosts. 

The first goal of the game came from the penalty spot after the Polygon goalkeeper tripped Ronnie Devereux inside the area. Winger Dan Spencer stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and put the visitors 1-0 up. 

Testlands continued to create chances without causing Polygon too many issues with some wayward attempts. Polygon’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to #12 who scuffed his shot wide of Malcolm Davie’s goal.

The visitors made two changes at the interval as Haines and Harrison Weeks replaced Ewan McCaffery and Dan Scott.

Polygon’s full back (#5) had a great chance for the hosts when he started his run deep in his own half, dribbling through the whole team before his shot had the beating of Davie and trickled just wide of the post. 

The miss gave Testlands the boost they needed to go up the other end and double their lead when Haines played a brilliant ball over the top for Spencer who dispatched a brilliant shot across the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. 

The host’s #5 then started a melee on the pitch, raising his hands towards a Testlands player before substitute Floyd Bedwell got involved with the referee struggling to calm the players down and failing to issue #5 with a red card for inciting the fracas.

Haines then made it 3-0 with a goal of the season contender. The forward lifted the ball over the head of Polygon’s #17 before using the bounce of the ball to rifle an unstoppable strike from the edge of the area past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. 

Haines made it 4-0 soon afterwards when Weeks’ strike had the beating of the goalkeeper and bounced off the bar, falling to Haines to convert the rebound. The linesman had his flag up for offside, but it was overruled by the referee and the goal stood. 

Polygon could sense the game was slipping away from them when #9 showed his frustration by dragging a shot wide. 

Haines completed his hat trick when a long goal kick from Davie prompted a Testlands counterattack. Devereux controlled the ball on halfway and Haines runs through, holds off the defender and places the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 5-0. 

The final minutes of the game turned ugly when Polygon tried to get the game abandoned by sparking a riot on the pitch. With players and spectators from both sides involved on the pitch the referee blew his final whistle and result stood.

For a full album of images, check out my Facebook page!

Line Ups; 

Polygon: Not Available

Testlands: 1. Malcolm Davie; 2. Michael Graham; 4. Martin McCann; 5. Lewis Bridle; 6. Lee Wells; 8. Ewan McCaffery; 9. Ronnie Devereux; 10. Bradley Frampton; 11. Brandan Beazley; 13. Dan Scott; 16. Dan Spencer. SUBS: 3. Stephen McCrory; 7. Sean Haines; 14. Mitchell Noyce 17. Harrison Weeks; 18. Floyd Bedwell. 

2020/21 Games: 85

2020/21 Grounds: 55
New Grounds this season: 27

Total Grounds Visited: 317 (76)

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