Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wingate & Finchley are coming

Sixth place Wingate & Finchley come to the Grove on Saturday as we enter the final stages of the season.  Other results aside, they are a win away from sneaking into a play-off place; we are a win away from sneaking out of the relegation places.

Last weekend we were outstanding for the first 45 minutes, then in the second half Enfield Town worked out what we were doing and we ran out of ideas.

Kick off at 3pm.  Good luck fellas.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Enfield 2 - 1 Tanners

A very familiar story for Leatherhead; a cracking first half and then capitulation in the second to allow the three points to slip away.

I like going to Enfield.  Last time their crowd was buoyed a couple of coach loads of Belgian fans so I wondered what a standard game would be like but there is a very pleasant and welcoming buzz to the place.  The pitch looked greener but still the occasional puff of dust to show the pitch was hard and dry again.

For the 20 or so behind the goal in the first half it was looking like the trip was worth it.  Enfield could not cope with Jerome and Kadell and chuck in the threat of Carr up front we had them on the back foot.  We got the breakthrough after Jerome worked some space on the edge of the box and had the audacity to try and lob the ‘keeper.  It was inch perfect with their shot stopper only tickling as it sailed over him.  1-0.

We pressed on but the warning signs were there of what was to come.  Namely with us mucking about with it at the back, trying to be clever and to waste time but Wells got mixed up and was forced into a rash tackle outside his area.  A red card was expected but he got away with it and stayed on the pitch to pull off a fantastic save from the resulting set piece.

So, into the second half and the table showed us outside the relegation zone.  All we had to do was play the same and we’d be OK, but that is not how it turned out.  I am no expert but any threat we had down the wings suddenly dried up and we had no plan b.  Perhaps Jimmy didn’t fancy any of the options on the bench as no change came until the damage was done, opting to clap encouragement.

The first Enfield goal was classic Leatherhead.  A free kick on the edge of the box was directed to the back post where a player was completely unmarked and headed home.

The second goal, well we out Leatherheaded ourselves again but I have some sympathy.  It looked like Kadell was fouled on the edge of the box but the ref played on; so from a dangerous position we find ourselves chasing the ball and they score from the breakaway move.

Subs did happen with about 5 minutes to go in drips and drabs – it was as if we were the team looking to waste time – but nothing came of it.

Back into the bottom four and we wait for a tough game this Saturday…

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Travelling Tanners

While on a company conference we were treated to a motivational speech by the famous conductor and producer, Christian Gansch where told the story of how they played the concert of their lives in Berlin.  Three days later they were in Paris in good spirits when the conductor them while setting up with a simple message, “Berlin didn’t happen”.  The point being the past performance did not make it an automatic right that they would play well again and they had to prepare for the concert like any other.

At this point I should have been thinking about career paths or succession planning but my mind drifted to our plight following a good home win.  While confidence is important, Enfield Town will pose a completely different audience.  However we play, I hope they know their brass from their oboe.

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tanners 2 - 0 Folkestone

A thoroughly professional performance gives us new hope.

Folkestone expected to win this one and were taken aback by our attacking positive football.  Jimmy's Plan B of more direct football and cutting out the mucking around at the back, has reaped rewards quickly with 7 points from 4 games.

We were too hot to handle for Folkestone for much of this game and they frequently resorted to breaking up our attacks with cynical fouls. The referee let them off initially but grew tired of the persistent fouling and handed out about 6 yellow cards by the end of the game.

The new addition of Jerome Frederick made the difference last Saturday when he came on at half time and he opened the scoring last night with a cracker. We could have been 2 or 3 up at half time so there were still plenty of nerves when we went in with a slender 1-0 advantage. Folkestone livened up briefly at the start of the 2nd half but we regained our composure and made certain of the 3 points with a Daniel Carr penalty.

We now have a tough games at Enfield then home to Wingate & Finchley but if the players stay positive and maintain the energy levels there is no reason why we can't pick up points. How about 4 points lads?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Folkestone are coming

This is massive. Folkestone arrive at The Grove tonight just 24 hours after Merstham'a impressive win. Hopefully the need for a win has been clearly communicated to avoid the kind of first half performance we witnessed Saturday.

Kick of at 7.45. Good luck fellas.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Where's my paddle?

If you are sat at home wondering why the mood has changed and talk of relegation is in the air, it is because the reality of the season to come has finally struck home.  Those winnable games where we tried to be clever overplaying with no look passes into the path of an open striker have all but dried up and we have a tough run in.  A Leatherhead supporter (Chris) shared with me his predictions on how it will go, so far he is spot on…

The points for the team 4th from bottom in previous seasons has been:
2016 - 50 points - 24 teams (Lthd 11th 62 points)
2015 - 48 points - 24 teams (Lthd 10th 67 points)
2014 - 49 points - 24 teams (Lthd in Southern)
2013 - 41 points - 22 teams (Lthd in Southern)
2012 - 41 points - 22 teams (Lthd 18th 41 points - relegated)

So we may need 50 points, and have 31 at the moment (he did this before Lowerstoft game).  Remaining games and his predictions:

Lowerstoft away - Lose 0 points (Lost 1-0) - CORRECT
AFC Sudbury home - Hopeful win - 3 points (Won 2-0) - CORRECT
Tonbridge home - Draw at best 1 point - CORRECT
Bognor away - Lose 0 points - CORRECT 
Dulwich away - Lose 0 points
Folkestone home - Draw at best 1 point
Hendon home - Hopeful win 3 points - CORRECT
Enfield away - Lose 0 points
Wingate home - Lose 0 points
Kingstonian away - cheeky draw 1 point
Leiston away - Lose 0 points
Billericay home - Draw at best 1 point
Met Police away - Draw at best 1 point (we will be 2 or 3 up and draw at best)
Harlow home - Lose 0 points

Total points 11 .  End of season 42 points.  3rd from bottom and relegated.  Prove us wrong Levred, prove us wrong… 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tanners 3 - 2 Hendon

We were treated yesterday to the very worst and the very best of Leatherhead in a game that looked to seal our fate but then still keep our hopes alive.

Leatherhead were woeful in the first half.  For the first 5 minutes or so I thought this was going to be easy work as Hendon appeared to just sit off us and let us come forward, but soon they decided we looked a bit shaky and too the game to us.

For weeks Leatherhead have been overplaying and trying to pass it into the net, and at last it worked.  It was just a pity it was our own net as a pressured defender passes to where he thought Wells would be and not where he actually was.  Not for the first time in recent weeks, passing without looking where the danger is has cost us goals.

From “no look passes” we then started “no look defending” as a breakaway move down Hendon’s right wing saw us crowd around the ball like it was a Under 7’s match (apologies to any six year old out there).  This left their no8 completely open to receive the ball in front of goal and beat Wells.

There were some high points in the first half; Carr looked unplayable and his shot went just wide.  However, changes were needed especially in midfield.  Ty Smith is a player I like a lot, but with so many attack minded midfielders the role of enforcing some form of discipline fell to him and for whatever reason it wasn’t his day.  So Jerome Federico (?) came on to play down the left and Kadell moved into the centre which worked a treat.

As I mentioned, we had our moments but given how bad we were it was telling that the Hendon defence looked constantly on edge.  With a revitalised Leatherhead they did not look comfortable at all and the reinforced numbers behind the goal could sense we could get something from this game.  The first goal coming from such a spell of pressure.  Their ‘keeper, being forced into a save, concedes a corner and from the resulting set play Theobalds smashes a shot through a crowded box.

Fifteen minutes later Carr gets halfway to his brace.  A looping shot from Kadell (I think) beats the diving ‘keeper, strikes the bar and falls kindly to Carr who taps in.  We rush to get the ball back in play as a draw would simply not be enough to keep us up.

Despite all the attacks we did need some help from the ref.  He then awarded a penalty that I can only describe as soft.  The Hendon back four did have a habit of letting our player know they were there which went largely unpunished, so perhaps they were overconfident in what they could get away with.  Nana was in the box and it was true he was being tightly marked and to a certain extent impeded but when he hit the floor I have seen them turned away.

Over to Carr for the penalty who decided to tease the ‘keeper by hitting it tamely at him knowing he would spill it and get to tap in the rebound.  The very definition of confidence there.

The relegation fight, and it is a fight we should have taking seriously weeks ago, goes on with another crucial game and the visit of Folkestone.