Sunday, January 29, 2017
In the early moments of the game the ref asked for “nothing silly” from the players while defending a corner. Wishful thinking as the usual slapstick defending was close at hand.
This corner came during a period of Leatherhead pressure. By pressure I mean playing the ball horizontally about 30 yards out with the occasional shot at goal. Pretty to watch but without much threat. The fateful corner was won just after 7 minutes and was swung straight into the impressively tall ‘keeper. His confident catch resulted in an equally confident kick up field where we came up short. A wild swing of the boot hit only air allowing their striker to run through on goal and put his shot away. This was pretty much the theme for the remainder of the second half and, but for Wells, the guests could have been three or four up.
Somehow we managed to stumble into the second half just one goal down and it took us about 10 minutes to truly find our feet. Then we did start to play by opting for a more direct style of play and using our pace to stretch the team who have a goal difference of -35.
On the hour mark we levelled. Some smart work down the left allowed our player to pick out a clinical pass just wide of the post. It fell to Carr who had the simplest of jobs to tap in. He was through one on one with the ‘keeper moments later but his low shot was well saved.
This was a game we had to win but, as we have with other teams around us, we only managed a draw. Off to fifth place Tonbridge Angles on Tuesday night then…
Friday, January 27, 2017
A mild night should allow the frozen pitch to thaw so we can get this game played tomorrow, but a freshly thawed pitch may create the sticky conditions that will make our punchy passing game difficult. Not a bad thing based on recent results.
Canvey Island are a side we simply have to beat. They sit in the relegation zone and are five points behind us so, given the three points could be coming off imminently, it is a nine pointer of a game.
Kick off at 3pm. See you there.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Monday, January 23, 2017
I misread text made me believe the game was called off and by the time I realized it was too late to get there. A lucky escape. Despite Leatherhead’s coveted strikers and one man advantage we simply lacked the application, leadership and desire to get a win.
Wingate & Finchley have strung together a few nice results. Since Boxing Day they have drawn 1-1 with Havant & Waterlooville and Dulwich. They have beaten the sides around them. We on the other hand have only managed to draw with the sides near the drop zone and lose to those above.
It does not help when you cannot keep a clean sheet and it is no wonder why. A long ball from the ‘keeper sends their winger on an almost free run down their right. A cross into the box and an unmarked player taps it in. Hopeless.
On the half hour mark, the ref decided Leatherhead needed some help so asked a Wingate player to take an early shower. The old adage of it being harder to play against 10 men suddenly comes to the fore as for the remainder of the first half.
Leatherhead did rally for the second half but you could hardly describe their second as a “sucker punch”. From a throw-in Wingate moved the ball around the box with ease; Leatherhead standing there like statues with no commitment to close anything down. The invitation was accepted and the shot was rifled into the roof of the net from some distance. You see them end up in the car park but we got what we deserved.
A goal by Carr may have offered some excitement for the 99 people in attendance but it was too little too late. Back to the Grove Wednesday for the all-important game against AFC Sudbury.
Friday, January 20, 2017
If the frost spares us we could be travelling to Wingate & Finchley tomorrow, a side that is unbeaten in eight games: we are unwon in five. It has not been a good post-Christmas period for us having accumulated -1 points. Our only two draws were against fellow relegation sides that we would have hoped to beat going into Christmas.
I went to the fixture and was rather impressed with the ground there. It was also the debut of Lenny Pidgeley, an altogether unnecessary signing but a good bloke to have around.
Keep an eye out for pitch inspections. Directions can be found here. See you there… I hope…
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
The Chairman was speaking in the carpark before the game, stating he was hoping for a clean sheet and then laughed – nervously – as there has been little evidence that this is possible recently.
To get clean sheet you do at least need some help from the ref, but it wasn’t forthcoming at either end of the pitch. When the Ks player planted both feet on the ground and dived over the ball I wrongly assumed the ref would see through this obvious ploy but I was wrong. If the awarding of the free kick was fortuitous there was nothing so about the finish. A wonderful free kick that soared into the top left corner.
The rest of the half made me question some of my lifestyle choices and whether I should take up hardcore drinking. A bottle of absinth would just about take the edge of the tepid display and only watching Jimmy muddy his coat due to low traction winkle pickers on the touch line made for any entertainment.
I am pleased to say Leatherhead responded well in the second half and it turned into an exciting game. Daniel Carr got beyond his man after being played in and was pulled back by the defender. An obvious penalty and when the ref waved play on it was a sobering reminder that today was not going to be our day.
Ks got their second through a powerful run into the left hand side of the box and firing in a low shot using the outside of his boot. The ball bent enough to clip the inside of the post. Leatherhead responded quickly, a ball into Kadell was chested down and his pivoted shot sent goal wards. The ‘keeper anticipated it but his hand not strong enough to stop it and it rolled over the line.
Back into the game, well so we thought. Leatherhead fail to deal with a cross into the box from the right and a free header gifted them the all-important third.
Daniel Carr, when allowed to run freely without someone holding on to his waist, broke free and fired a low shot beating the ‘keeper near post.
The ref then found time to miss two obvious handballs, one of which was in the box, to round off a terrible performance that also saw him run away from a nasty head injury to a Leatherhead player with even the Ks player signally for instant help.
Folkestone arrive to the Grove Wednesday. For the sake of Jimmy’s dry cleaning bill, I hope we don’t slip up again…
Friday, January 13, 2017
My goodness, I was busy doing something else and I nearly completely forgot to write the pre-match preview for tomorrow’s game.
Our old, well stewarded, friends arrive at the Grove tomorrow having turned their season around from the difficult start they had. They now sit in 9th having just beaten Staines.
The disappoint of only drawing against Harrow, given we were so dominant, will hopefully focus the mind for tomorrow’s game. Defeat could see us slip firmly back into relegation contention.
Kick-off (subject to pitch conditions) at 3pm. See you there!
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Despite a spirited performance, Woking had a bit too much about them last night and strolled out 2-0 winners.
The first 15 minutes were uncomfortable for Leatherhead as Woking pinned us back into our own half. After a spell of retaining the balls through about 50 sideways and backward passes we grew in confidence and started to counter attack. Daniel Carr, who seems to have a new lease of life since leaving behind Dulwich for a couple of months, looked the most likely to score as he stretched the host’s defence.
The first goal was therefore disappointing, certainly in the manner it was scored. Wells did well to save a point blank header and a goal mouth scramble with two further attempts were made. On the third attempt, the defender whose job it was to clear was busy doing something else and then forgot so as a result we suffered a one goal deficit…
Second half and Leatherhead did fairly well I have to say. The game could have swung firmly our way with a red card for a Woking player but the ref showed cowardice not once but twice. First of all their no. 7 went in two footed on Ty Smith. A nasty high challenge that was worthy of a straight red in its own right which saw the influential midfielder go off injured. The ref gave the player a yellow and a stern talking to. The ref’s words were soon forgotten however as only moments later the same player mistimed a tackle from behind, not a dangerous tackle but a tackle that would see yellow in normal circumstances but the ref took no action. The net effect, we lose one of our best midfielders while they play on at full strength.
And play on they did, as they strode into our box and fired a powerful dipping shot that gave Wells no chance. At 2-0 the game was all bought and paid for with little hope of us getting anything from it.
Another trip to Woking ends in defeat. On to Saturday where we host Ks.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Leatherhead travel to Woking tonight in the Surrey Senior Cup, who promise to put out a strong side. I just hope the side we put out is all correctly accounted for to prevent further disappointment after we suffered yet another point deduction this week.
I can’t remember a successful result against Woking. Typically this is all done and dusted by half time, but perhaps we can hope for more under new management.
Kick off at 7.45. Directions from the station can be found here. See you there!
Sunday, January 08, 2017
If a half of football was just 60 seconds long Leatherhead would have given a credible first half display and got the winner in the second, but as it is the game is a lot longer and we could consider this two points dropped.
There was something inevitable in the manner we started, playing some fantastic football which was soon rewarded by a goal when a low cross was fired into the roof of the net by Cash.
After a couple of glaring chances being missed Leatherhead then became guilty of overplaying it somewhat and invited Harrow into the game. Their goal came from losing the ball in midfield while attempting a disguised reverse pass which was cut out and allowed them to counter attack. The cross could have been dealt with but it somehow evaded our centre-back and was headed in.
From then on Harrow dominated, striking the post but failing to score to send us into the half at 1-1.
Second half and Leatherhead started in the same manner as the first. This time scoring even earlier into the game on just 47 seconds. Theobolds danced his way into the box and fired past the diving ‘keeper. 2-1.
Unlike the first half Leatherhead did not let off the pressure and we must have missed three golden chances to give us the two goal cushion we needed to be safe. Adam Cash perhaps the most guilty with a blast over a seemingly open goal and striking the post.
Then sucker punch. Playing it from the back is commendable but can be high risk as we found giving the ball away from our own goal kick, deep in our half. We did repel the first attack but not the second. It seemed a little fortuitous as the shot was going well wide but an instinctive strike prodded the ball back on target.
2-2 and while we pressed for a winner no goal game. Disappointing and now we must re-group for the trip to Woking… which is only 0.9 miles from the station. Apparently.
Friday, January 06, 2017
Tomorrow is a massive game. Harrow sit one point above the relegation zone and just three points behind us. They are looking for the double over us after a 3-1 win at their place earlier this season, where we seemed in control for the first half and then got overrun in the second. What is more they have Marc Charles-Smith who simply cannot help himself from scoring against us.
The second of nine January games (that is currently more games than in February and March combined) kicks off at 3pm. See you there.
Monday, January 02, 2017
The glory of the FA Cup 1st Round must seem a lifetime ago to a struggling small club like Merstham. The £50k they received from BT Sport wasn't evident today as it still costs £12 to get in and they seem to have run out of mugs for the tea.
The highlight of an uneventful 1st half was an argument between the petulant Bird and our left back who appeared ruffle Bird's feathers. Bird almost took a peck at him and made himself look a bit of a tit.
The highlight of an uneventful 2nd half was a pathetic attempt by the match announcer to pronounce the name of our latest addition; Nana Emeka Boakye-Yiadom. He gave up after the first two words and slunk down shamefully from the chair he insists on standing upon.
Our defence has improved considerably with the recent signings, but we now seem a little toothless going forward. Merstham pressed on and looked the more likely to score going very close on a couple of occasions. We defended resolutely to earn a point giving us 4 points from the 3 festive games. The players look weary after 2 games in 3 days but will need to rejuvenate themselves quickly for an important home fixture with Harrow Borough on Saturday.