When Leatherhead pulled off the famous victory at The Grove last season we had a side packed with pace and at full strength, which were things we lacked this trip. Clohessy (suspended) and Chike (tapped up) were both missing which left Midson to plough a lonely furrow.
We sat deep for much of the game. Although on 19 minutes we pushed forward as Sam Blackman and Tom Richards were causing Billericay come concern down the wings. A long kick from the 'keeper set their striker free and he powerfully finished from an angle.
We tried to get an equaliser. A goal bound header from Midson found the back of Jerry's head and bounced clear being our best chance in the first half. A glimmer of hope came when the fired up Konchesky received a straight red. Mcmanus slid in for a tackle but fell short of making contact with any Billericay player. Konchesky either mistimed his wild swing at the ball or reacted badly to this sliding move and kicked our man while still on the ground.
The home side will feel hard done by but really the ref was far too soft on the home side. The second half was a disgusting display of how talented players abandoned the skill they are paid so highly for but resorted to sad tactics. Namely by diving and completely overreacting; surrounding our player and the ref in an attempt to even things up. This worked for example with Midson, who was guilty of simply running towards the ball. Their number two clears it and then jumps into Midson to make contact. Grimacing with pain to the ref; winking and smiling at the travelling supporters. A yellow card was shown and No 2 gets on with the game.
We huffed and puffed and had some good shots on goal, but their 'keeper was equal to the challenge. Luckily so was our 'keeper who pulled of some important saves to keep us in it.
1-0 it ended, but no point dwelling on it. We have the FA Cup to look forward to...
Lock up your adolescent boys; put away your Soccer AM faux handshakes... we are off to Billericay Town tomorrow.
Our hosts, despite an opening awkward loss to their ex-manager's Ks team, have risen to first place. Nothing unusual about that, given the money they are throwing at the team. What is unusual, if you are a long term Leatherhead fan, is that we sit in second place after having only lost to third place Harrow.
Since their opening day loss, Billericay have thought nothing about putting four or five goals past their opposition, so we could either be lambs to the slaughter or could we perhaps put together the resilient display that saw Jimmy Bullard singing "The World's Greatest" last season..?
Kick off at 3pm. Directions can be found here. See you there...
After a plucky start from our guests the superiority that comes by being two divisions higher and in good form told. Leatherhead put away four goals in the first half (three coming in quick succession) and two in the second to see us through to today's draw.
For 30 minutes a cautious Leatherhead approach to the game allowed Cray Valley to dare to dream about winning this game. On several occasions they mounted attacks that kept our defence busy. Then came our goal...
While a youthful crowd behind the goal, their 'keeper was not short of "your mum" jokes and he bit a little too early in the game. Perhaps distracted he failed to deal with a cross properly that fell on the line for Chike to prod home.
Midson soon got on the act. A flying header from distance and a glancing one from close range made it 2 and 3 nil in quick succession. Then Cray lost the ball from the restart and Chike was played in to slot it past the 'keeper who was now wishing he had stayed quiet for 15 minutes longer. The battle for the hat trick was on though...
Chike won this battle after his shot was too strong for the hand of the diving 'keeper and in crawled in. Then Sam Blackman came on with his usual creativity and pace. He won the ball through sheer determination and then lobbed the 'keeper deftly to make it 6-0. The loudest cheer only coming when their female physio had to tend to an injury in front of the bar area... Karen Brady would not have been amused...
I was trying to think of a good paper joke, but they were all tearable...
Cray Valley come to the Grove tomorrow to face us in the FA Cup. A competition that we, frankly, have been bloody useless in over the past few years. I sense that the FA Cup this year will be taken a lot more seriously but with us an banana skin is only 90 minutes away.
The Eltham based club currently play in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division.
There were more fouls today than there are tweets and emojis on match day. A horrible game to watch but one that ended with a deserved 3 points and joint top of the league with the obnoxious classless egotistical wide boys of Essex.
The game started cagily with a typically niggly spoiling Met Police side looking for a draw or maybe to sneak an odd goal. The weather was dangerously hot by British standards as it was almost 26 degrees celsius. How they manage without drinks breaks in Spain when it is 35 degrees we will never know.
The first half saw very few chances. The biggest concern was a misbehaving yellow motorbike until the usually superb Clohessy had a rush of blood to the head. An off the ball incident noticed by the assistant referee saw him receive a straight red. No one complained much so the decision must have been correct.
Met Police almost tried to launch the occasional attack when we were down to 10 men but it was half hearted. We went into half time on level terms but slightly hot and bothered.
Despite their player advantage, Met Police created few real chances in the 2nd half and it wasn't long before one of their number (who should have been keeping people safe in Notting Hill) was shown a 2nd yellow. Our spirits rose and the boss brought himself on. We started to control the game and we searched for a winner which finally came in the form of the influential Blackman and the lively Chike.
A superb start to the season and a well deserved 2 week rest from league action. Onto the FA Cup where last year a dreadful performance under a hapless Sandman saw us crash out at Hythe.
This year will be different. Mooro stared down Steven Gerrard in the FA Cup not that long ago so surely will not fold against Cray Paper Mills from 2 leagues below. The friendly against Glebe showed we can not afford to be complacent . An A1 sized performance will be required, not A3 or A4.