Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Grays Athletic are coming

What do you need to steady a ship at a time like this?  A side that cannot buy a win at the bottom of the table perhaps?  Tough, we’ve got second place Grays Athletic fresh from a morale boosting 6-0 win in the FA Cup last weekend.

That said there is nothing like a big team coming to The Grove to focus the mind and (hopefully) raise our game.  I am sure we can all think back to one of those “nights at The Grove” where this has happened… just… well… it’s been a while…

Kick off at 7:45.  See you there…

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tanners 2 - 5 Hendon

The weight of expectation proved too much for Leatherhead today as, in the second half in particular, we were overran by our visitors.  It was not that we lacked effort but the application was completely misplaced.  Avery paid the price for the recent run form.  Perhaps the results could have been put down to a lack of leadership on the pitch but there is little to say things will improve without him.

This was none more so than defence.   Green is desperately missed.  Mahal must have been given orders to stay in his third and played within himself.  The centre back pairing of Jerry and Bruce looks destined for the divorce courts.

I didn’t hear the pre-match and half time team talk but I am sure he would have asked his players to hold a ruddy line.  Be strong, take the game to Hendon and create chances.  Disappointingly this could not have gone any worse for the beleaguered side.  In the first 60 seconds a ball through the middle allowed a Hendon striker to run through and smash it under Wells.  25 seconds into the second half the striker didn’t need to strike the ball but roll it in he had so much time.

Hendon were doing the simple things well.  Their second goal was a result of a free header of the back post across goal being met by another headed again under little pressure.

Leatherhead possess an attacking threat in Vas.  Perhaps today our only threat.  He was deadly from the edge of the box not once but twice with similar free kicks that beat the stranded keeper.  Half time at 2-2 and we discussed what the second half may bring.  Optimistically we settled on only one more goal would be scored.  I should have accepted the 2 and a half all when it was offered.

After the shock of the 25 second tap in Leatherhead fans were hoping for rally but it did not come.  Hendon went on to dominate the half as performance dropped from spirited, to half-hearted to embarrassing.  Hendon were afforded too much space to allow a shot in the box for their fourth and a clumsy foul on the edge of the box gifted a free kick which headed home with ease.

The bar benefitted from a few early drinks being bought as supporters looked for something to drown in.  Wednesday night Grays Athletic arrive at The Grove.  The bar could start serving beer by the bathtub.

Hendon are coming

There will be two sides licking their wounds at Fetcham Grove tomorrow.

Hendon also lost 1-3 in the FA Cup to Ryman One opposition at home. Hendon have also had a very average start to the season in the league.

There is a general feeling that our players are simply turning up to pick up their wages and that running around the pitch is too much trouble when they could be sat at home playing on the Xbox.

Tomorrow could be a case of which side wants it the most. Oh dear…


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tanners 1 - 3 South Park

This was one of the worst first half performances we have seen this season and that is saying something. No energy. No desire. No quality. Many of our players have played at a higher level in their careers but their performances today weren't even worthy of the Kent League.

The prize money of £3,000....the share of a 2,000 gate at Maidstone.....the proud history of our club in the FA Cup.....none of them seemed that bothered. South Park cruised to a 2-0 half time lead and everyone was wondering what had happened to the team that gave such a good account of themselves last season.

Richard Brady must have gone for the hairdryer at half time as something approaching the Leatherhead side of old came out for the 2nd half and started to believe in themselves. Shots started to fire in although some were from ridiculous distances. Finally we got an equaliser and a protesting South Park player was sent off for protesting it was offside. At least I think that was the reason. Maybe the ref was just trying to even it up.

Against 10 men with 15 minutes, left surely we could force extra time? We should have done when Kiernan blasted over from 10 yards. However the last laugh was with South Park who made it 3-1 on 90 minutes and pocketed what must be around £8,000.

If our team doesn't shake themselves out of their stupor soon we will have a relegation battle on our hands.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

South Park are coming

Second time lucky as Leatherhead host South Park tonight in this rearranged FA Cup fixture. 

A lack of goals over the weekend may indicate that the return of Vas isn’t the complete remedy to some of our recent results.  A clean sheet against well placed opposition gives us something to build on though.

Kick off at 7:45.  Good luck fellas.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wingate & Finchley are coming

After being spared a midweek replay Leatherhead now face a side that is doing rather well.  Wingate & Finchley sit in fourth place and have a game in hand that, should they win, take them just one point behind Grays.

On the plus side Vas is back to give us some added fire power and the new players have had some more time to get to know their new teammates.

Kick off at 3pm.  See you there.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

South Park are coming

Leatherhead take on South Park looking to progress into the FA Cup and face Maidstone.  On leaving South Park a local supporter announced what he had seen to be “daylight robbery” and in many ways he was correct.  It was far from convincing and we will need to be better to avoid leaving the competition at the first time of asking.

Good news comes in the return of Vas.  His three match suspension is over and hopefully he and Hughes-Mason can cause enough mayhem to see us over the line.

Kick off at 7:45.  See you there!


Saturday, September 12, 2015

South Park 1 - 1 Tanners

With the route to the next round littered with “CAUTION - SLIPPERY SURFACE” signs eyebrows were raised when on arrival to the ground we saw Big Phil was playing in defense.  By all accounts he has plied his trade there before and did not look out of place but was this the time to do it?  Our best striking options appear to be Vas, Big Phil and Hughes-Mason but with Vas still suspended this move left us at 33% of our scoring potential.

That said we could have put this game to bed in the opening 10 minutes.  Mahal hit the bar in the opening minutes when attempting to chip the ‘keeper and then Stacy pushed a shot just wide of the post.

You need to take your chances and soon South Park were the ones on the front foot.  A curling shot going just wide before they got their goal.  A ball through the middle beat the back line with so much ease there was two South Park players advancing unchecked.  The breakaway move was calmly finished and there was an uneasy feeling behind the goal.

The players came out with Big Phil still in defense and somehow they managed to be even less potent than the first half.  Long hopeful balls hit to diminutive strikers who barely looked interested as it was without being engaged in a fruitless areal battle.

After 10 minutes common sense prevailed and Big Phil was advanced into the front line and instantly the tempo lifted.  We were winning balls in the air.  The players around him could collect a ball to their feet while facing goal.  It wasn’t all a bed of roses.  This initial spurt lasted about ten minutes before we lost our way again.

The goal came from nothing.  A cross found Hughes-Mason on the edge of the box and his first time shot surprised the ‘keeper and it found the goal with room to spare.  We picked the ball out of the net as if to say we wanted the winner.  It was probably South Park who looked the most likely to score in injury time but the ref found time to stop talking to players about how great he was and blow the final whistle and set up the replay.

Leatherhead will have Vas back for the replay.  We can only hope this will bring a change of tempo.

Travelling Tanners

FA Cup day and Leatherhead are in a desperate need of a win.  We travelled to Three Bridges, albeit in the league cup, without taking it too seriously and paid the price.

South Park ply their trade in the Ryman South and sit mid-table BUT with two games in hand a couple of wins could see them go second.

Kick off at 3pm.  Location can be found here.  See you there.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dulwich 1 - 0 Tanners

Leatherhead's very brief glorious summer at the top of the league is in danger of turning into a winter of discontent. Just one point from 4 games and everyone is scratching their heads to establish where we are going wrong.

Man of the Match was undoubtedly Louis Wells who made some outstanding saves. Meanwhile at the other end we did not have a single shot or corner for the whole of the first half. Vas and Green were absent but other than that we were at full strength.

That the score line was kept to just 1-0 was, as Brades stated in his interview, no consolation. At least there were grass fed 100% British beef burgers on offer for just £6. Remarkably, Kiernan could have made it 1-1 near the end when he smashed the ball into the side netting from just a couple of yards out.

There is good news though....Dulwich hang a flag behind their goal stating that refugees are welcome in their hamlet.  Lebanon host approximately 1.2 million refugees and so if Dulwich are good to their word so we can expect to see the attendances at Champion Hill swell dramatically over the next few months.

So from refugees and burgers to banana skins. A whole box full is waiting at South Park on Saturday. Wear sensible shoes.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Travelling Tanners

It’s off to Dulwich Hamlet tonight in the league after a rather turbulent weekend.  Dulwich drew a 1,500 crowd while we entertained a more modest gathering to a 4-4 draw.

If you’re driving I highly recommend an app called WAZE to get you there in good time.  Or you can follow the directions here.  Kick off at 7:45.  Good luck fellas!

Saturday, September 05, 2015

East Thurrock 4 - 4 Tanners

There was a point in this game I wondered exactly why I had driven 60 miles to watch this game.  It certainly wasn’t for the benefit of my daughter who was more than happy to pass the first half by roller skating around the ground.  I envied her as East Thurrock grew in confidence and began to dominate the game.

It didn’t start out that way though with Leatherhead giving as good as they got, providing it was Stacy doing the giving as he was our only real threat.  East Thurrock struck the post from a free kick which must have unsettled us as we allowed them to pressure for the remainder of the half.

Their opener came from a penalty that looked a little soft if you ask me but a gift East Thurrock snapped up.  It was from a free kick we conceded our second.  From distance the ball was struck under the jumping wall and it beat Wells at the far post.

So 2-0 down at half time and perhaps a second half talking to would stir things up a bit… not on first inspection.  Leatherhead did not really pick up the pace and allowed a free header to make it 3-0 and I was contemplating leaving early…

Avery gave us some hope.  Getting the ball just right of the goal he advanced and let fly with a powerful shot that beat the ‘keeper and struck the underside of the bar and in.  3-1.  Something to cheer about.  Now it was not just Stacy looking dangerous on our right but Green was advancing on our left and East Thurrock were finding it hard to cope.  From the pressure Smart struck the post and it bounced out with Jerry in possession at a tight angle and with his back to goal.  While the ‘keeper (me included) waited for him to turn he simply back heeled goalwards.  It caught the ‘keeper off-guard and it snuck in off the far post.  Cheeky and 3-2.

Josh, who replaced Semakula, sent the few who had made the trip wild when he latched onto another attacking move from Green and slipped it past the ‘keeper.  3-3.  Could we go on and win it?

It seemed we could when Stacy used the outside of his right boot to lob the ‘keeper.  4-3.  Twitter was in melt down and I could barely believe my eyes.

It is fair to say with 5 goals and several substitutions (which included taking off Big Phil which I believe surrendered an advantage in the dying minutes) the ref was well within his rights to add plenty of stoppage time and so he did.  Enough for them to build the pressure and smash it past Wells.

With both managers thinking they blew 3 points you can imagine I was quick to rush my children past the dressing room areas for fear of having to explain some new vocabulary.

A good game but leaking goals for our second 4-4 draw will be a worry.  Not least because it is Dulwich in the week!


Friday, September 04, 2015

Travelling Tanners ©

While everyone agrees Brady is the best man for the job the form suggests the team are not fully engaged at the moment.  The first two games gave us hope we could usher in a new period of challenging for the play-offs but it seems the honeymoon period could be over.

East Thurrock meanwhile have only suffered defeat once and will no doubt fancy their chances tomorrow.

Kick off at 3pm.  Directions can be found here.  See you there…

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Tanners 2 - 0 Merstham

Difficult to write this one up.  Mainly because I was not there, not that has stopped me from making it up before, but because there is very little to write about.  

Leatherhead made a nervous start to the game, obviously bruised from the trip to Brentwood.  While slightly more assured they were clearly on the back foot when Merstham struck in the first half.

Second half and Leatherhead did not do much to rally and when the second goal went in, following some nifty work from Tommy Hutchings, it seemed we resigned ourselves to a second straight defeat.

We’re off to East Thurrock on Saturday…