Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Staines 2 - 5 Tanners

A superb attacking display stunned a Staines side who had scored 9 in their last 2 league games without reply.

Staines think they are more special than most by charging £12 to get in. They must have forgotten they are no longer in the Conference South. Their supporters haven't forgotten though as most of them decided to stay at home and watch the champions league.

The game started normally enough with not much between the sides. Then on 23' the Staines keeper decided to kick the ball to Adam who cashed in by passing to Akindayindi who scored at the 2nd attempt.

Then a great strike by Kadell Daniel saw us take a 2-0 lead. The goal was reminiscent of Vas who is on loan at Dulwich which is why we they loaned us Kadell.

Leatherhead were now on a rampage good enough to make Attila the Hun envious. It wasn't long before Akindayindi made it 3-0 on 39'. However, we were soon brought back down to earth by our nemesis. Another goal conceded by a breakaway from our own corner. Jimmy is considering a new tactic.....should we kick our corners straight out for a goal kick? Never mind it was half time and we were 3-1 up.

To be fair for the first 30' of the 2nd half Staines were all over us and scored on 56' and went very close on numerous other occasions. Somehow we weathered the storm and in a rare attack Theobalds came to our rescue on 77' to give us a 4-2 lead and calm the nerves. Daniel scored again on 87' to finish off a remarkable 5-2 victory.

The league table is starting to look a bit more healthy so Folkestone won't be quite so keen to visit us next Wednesday.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tanners 1 - 3 Bognor Regis

As it was the last full day of my in-laws visit my son opted to spend time with them rather than watch the game.  “Did we win?” was the first thing he asked when I returned home with a face as hopeful and na├»ve as our approach to the game.  “Of course not Peter, we conceded three easy goals as we do nearly every week”, was my inevitable reply.

Let’s not dismiss Leatherhead completely, we are an attacking side with Daniel and Cash looking the most likely to create.  It is a pity that the most likely to score, Akindayini, is returning to his old club as with the loss of Bradbrook we will start to look light upfront.

The goal we conceded was a classic sucker punch from my most hated of routines; the short corner.  On this occasion the ball in did threaten but all too often we fail to take advantage of the free pass into the box and lose possession.  What the short corner always does is commit another player into the attack, so when the ‘keeper caught the ball from the left he could throw into the path of a now attacking player down the right.  The basketball equivalent of a fast break was on and with a low cross and a deft flick it was one nil before most of our players had a chance to get into our own half.

We did start the second half well, which created some excitement but soon the more experienced Bognor appeared to have it back under control.  The introduction of Rash Kamara made a huge difference to our attacking options down the left and he soon found himself on the score sheet.  His run on the edge of the box until he had room to shoot, beat the ‘keeper.  His celebration was a thing of wonder, taking all the hi-fives and hugs the referee would allow.

The ref then decided to play (or not play) a part in the game for us.  Momentum had firmly swung in our favour and we were soon on the attack again.  A clever ball put Kamara in with only a Bognor player between him and the ball.  He feigned to go on the inside but then switched to the outside, the marking player did not anticipate this and lunged hopefully for the ball but caught Kamara in the box.  Now it was blatant enough but there were two further clues for the ref to react.  Firstly the marking player was wearing the number 9 shirt, therefore the most likely to mistime a tackle.  Secondly, this player suddenly seemed injured.  The ref bottled it and also went onto not see a shot blocked with an arm, claiming it was a chest.

Even without the penalties we should have had enough about us to close in on at least a point… but that would completely ignore how we have played this season.

First of all we over committed on an attack and gave the ball away in midfield with no one in place to cover the attack down the right.  The low short was powerfully smashed into the back of the net.  The third goal, bloody hell.
 
Playing from the back in commendable.  Some of the best performances I have seen Leatherhead play is when we build with confidence from the back but confidence is something we lack.  There surely should come a time when panicked pass after another should be met with a good old fashioned “get rid” but no, we shuffled back until we practically passed it into our net.  I would have had more respect for Leatherhead if Jerry had just smacked it into the top corner so we had something to marvel at rather than watch our poor ‘keeper be placed under so much pressure he fumbled the ball into his own net.

Before the game I sat with some travelling supporters as they discussed their hopes for the season.  I told them if they didn’t score three against us they may as well forget their title chances.  Their hopes are still alive while we go into Tuesday's game in need of a miracle.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Bognor Regis are coming

Tomorrow the level of opposition increases considerably from the mid-week opponents of Molesey (of which we struggled), with the visit of second place Bognor Regis.

Our visitors sit in second place with an impressive goal difference of 16, the second highest in the league.  With our goal difference of -6 I hope we have worked on our defence.

Kick off at 3pm.  See you there.

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Molesey 0 - 1 Tanners

Scruffy, scrappy, and messy but at last Leatherhead become the knocker, and not the knockee, in a knock-out competition. And there was more good news… there was no sign of Chuck Martini.

A strong Leatherhead side was sent into battle and we hoped for a comfortable win but this was far from comfortable.  Molesey battled the whole way through and had the best of the chances but were profligate in front of goal.

A dull, drab, dank, dreary, disappointing, first half ended goalless and almost ball less as all the match balls ended up in the surrounding new build houses. Jimmy screamed "look after the ball" but his words went unheeded.

The only goal of the game was a header from Mo Sagaf early in the 2nd half. Molesey then deliberately had a player sent off to try and make us panic. It worked. We did indeed panic. Jimmy urged everyone to calm down. No one did. Luckily it didn't matter as Molesey spurned their chances to equalise.

We march on triumphantly into the draw for the last 16. Ties are due to be played early January.

 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Travelling Tanners

The best kept secret in Surrey football.  Leatherhead travel to Molesey in the next round of the Surrey Senior Cup on Tuesday night.  After a weekend of playing with ourselves who knows what side will be put out in this cup game.  A chance to rest players ready for the next friendly?

We have not played our hosts for about three years, where we beat them 1-0 in the same competition.

If you’ve forgotten the way to Molesey you can find directions here.  Kick off at 7.45.  Good luck fellas!
 

Monday, November 07, 2016

Leatherhead 3 - 1 Lowestoft

Leatherhead got a much needed win before entering a two week pre-winter break thanks to a new look team.  Overall this management lark seems easy; simply find a player who has experience of playing six leagues above…

What was been heralded on the message board was the arrival of Ricketts.  I took a seat on the halfway line for this one and he controlled the game for us.  Constantly telling his team mates to slow it down and where to pass while making telling contributions of his own.  The most telling was to set up the equaliser for new boy Akindayini, a cute through ball for him to run onto and smash pass the ‘keeper.

Before that it looked all too familiar for Leatherhead though.  After just a few minutes we found ourselves hemmed in and failed to deal with a low cross in the box and it was prodded home from close range.

I appreciate I have described the goals in reverse order there but that sets the tone for the rest of the report.  How often have I had to praise first half performances to then go ballistic over the second half “effort”?  Not this game though.

There were times though it felt like the win was not going to come.  First of all we appeared to have a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside.  A pass found Daniels (I think) who passed backwards to Ricketts (I think) who buried the shot.  The lino only then put up his flag; the ref had a lengthy chat and ruled it out for offside.

The ref knew it was a dodgy decision so promptly awarded us a soft penalty.  Now here is where Lowestoft exposed the ref’s lack of control.  Two players stood in the area and questioned where the ball was placed for quite some time.  The ref allowed this to happen and the pressure on Akindayini grew and told as he dispatched a tame spot kick.  The cheating and smug laughing from the visiting supporters sat near me angered the footballing gods and the game swung dramatically in our favour…

No one will know what was going through the Lowestoft’s defender’s mind as the ball was heading out for a goal kick at waste height but something told him to try and catch it… just inside the area.  The ref, almost apologetically, awarded a second penalty which was put away with ease this time by Ricketts.

The silly penalty was a cruel blow for Lowestoft but it was the turn of the Leatherhead fans to laugh smugly when a Smith free kick took a wicked deflection and wrong footed their ‘keeper.

3-1 it ended and the players rewarded the fans by walking straight off to take their applause rather than making us wait while they jog around.

So that is it for two weeks, although there rumours of friendlies...

 

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Lowestoft are coming

Today we welcome Lowestoft Town to the Grove, and according to my records this is the first time we have played in a long while.  The chance to play Lowestoft was simply too much for some players, with Sole, Tomi and Charlie (who?) all leaving with some players coming on board in return.

The club will be showing the early FA Cup game featuring our local rivals Merstham if you want to get to the club house early.  There is (strangely) a happy hour for the Chelsea v Everton game and not the FA Cup fixture…

Kick off at 3pm.  See you (and my father-in-law) there!