A hat-trick from Captain Peter Flanagan was enough to give Brooklands a 3-1 win over Southgate ensuring they join their opponents in the Premier League next season and in doing so, condemning Sheffield Hallam to relegation.
Flanagan’s deadly ability from penalty corners made the difference as he pushed them into a 2-0 lead before making the result safe after Rick Gay’s penalty corner had threatened to spoil the party.
The first half took some time to get going with the majority of the game spent in the midfield as the sides battled for control. It took until 12 minutes had passed before the first penalty corner was awarded, to Brooklands. The ball was slipped to the left to Flanagan who did the rest, finding the bottom corner to settle his team’s nerves.
At the other end, Chris Scott looked accomplished in goal making a good diving save to his right and dashing from his line to mop up any through balls from Southgate. With six minutes left in the half Southgate forced a penalty corner but Gay’s high flick was brilliantly picked off the line by David Flanagan. The Brooklands No11 popped up at the other end moments later but could only blaze over the bar from the right of the D.
Three minutes into the second half Southgate had a penalty corner but Gay’s flick was well saved by Scott. Brooklands started to look edgy as Southgate begun to put them under a sustained spell of pressure but after 50 minutes, Flanagan stepped up to the plate once more to double the lead with another trademark penalty corner.
Joe Sterlini set up a sliding John Sterlini with a pinpoint cross from the left that was deflected over by the No11 before Stefan Ray-Hills was expertly denied by Chris Hibbert at the other end. Scott was called upon to come out of his D to clear the ball from Andrew Westbrook as Brooklands started to tire and gaps started to appear. With six minutes remaining they must have feared the worst as Gay finally beat Scott with a penalty corner. However, with two minutes remaining all fears were put aside as Flanagan scored his hat-trick from another penalty corner, and Brooklands were up.
Mark Aveson-Bateman, Brooklands coach was a relieved man, telling The Top of the D: “I don’t really like games when they’re like that but I’m so proud of the lads and what they’ve achieved. Peter Flanagan is Brooklands through and through. He is a big reason why we’ve done so well. He is Mr Consistent, so to have him score the goals that get us there is really great for us. As you’d think, we’re delighted.”
The win ensures both Southgate and Brooklands will play in the Premier League next season.