Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merstham 1 - 2 Tanners

Leatherhead lifted the Mick Sullivan Trophy with the hosts getting the lesser prize… The Hayden Bird Cup… after an entertaining second half performance.

It was not that the first half was not impressive.  It just seemed to lack chances but you could not fault the effort made on either side.  It was Tomi who had the first chance to score for the visitors.  Put through and clear on goal his powerful shot was aimed straight at the ‘keeper who had done well to come out smother.  Dembelle too managed to wriggle through the defence but could not get enough space to get the shot away and it bounced off his shin to safety.

Second half and the game was still played with plenty of huff and puff but little in the way of clear cut chances until Mahal came on and added some new pace down the right wing.  From his run on 69 minutes we won a corner and on the second attempt of swinging the wall in we got our goal.  It was a dangerous ball into the ball, low and hard and could have gone in on its own.  Perhaps it did as Mahal, Jerry and Tomi all seem to want a part in it.  I seem to think it came off Tomi and he certainly got the lion share of the praise from his fellow players.

Our lead did not last long.  A nice build of play saw the ball in open space just inside the box and it was lashed home by their winger.  Wells got his hands to it but it was simply too well struck to save.

Merstham now looked the more purposeful but with Mahal we were quick to break.  Also we welcomed back Sam Blackman, who after adjusting from playing football from soccer, looked very composed.  His best moment came when he danced through the Merstham defence with his shot going just wide.

It was from a break we got the winner.  Tomi chased what appeared to be a lost cause but just managed to get a cross in which eluded the sole defender and ‘keeper but not Hughes Mason who had the presence of mind to chest in the cross.

Merstham started to press for the equalizer again when Mahal went on another run down the right.  His cross beat the ‘keeper and found Tomi along in front of goal.  He had scored a goal and created another.  Perhaps now his confidence was up.  Alas if it was it did not help as from three yards the ball was ballooned up over the bar.  At first we cried, then laughed and then began to panic as it looked increasingly likely that the miss would cost us two points.  On the death a powerful header beat Wells and from my angle it looked to have dipped under the bar, but it sailed just over and the ref blew the final whistle.

A fantastic victory that makes it three in a row and was felt hard by the local supporters by the boardroom who are usually so smug.  In fact, if you’re a teenage boy smiling to yourself on the way out you could expect to be told off for such a show of disrespect…

So.  The Tanners have some time to see in the new year then look forward to the visit of Hampton & Richmond…

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Travelling Tanners

With Bubble & Squeak consumed we travel to Merstham for this important Mick Sullivan Derby game.  The two sides, who know each other from our Div One South Days, are separated by just one point.

An ex-Tanner leads the line for the hosts.  Phil Page has come in for Tommy Hutchings who now joins the ranks of the Leatherhead Hall of Fame at Westhumble.

All in all it is a big festive game… let’s hope it will be the Tanners who will be sleighing Merstham today…

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


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tanners 1 - 0 Brentwood Town

Leatherhead voyage in the league looks to be on calmer waters after today’s win.  Back to back wins against teams in deeper relegation trouble than us has seen us pull away 11 points clear of the dreaded drop zone.

It was another assured performance with the new Assistant adding much needed leadership and commanding things at the back with Jerry.  Walsh was pushed upfront and was masterful in his knock downs and holding up play.

Kinnear Jnr got our opening goal from such a knockdown and steered a shot from the outside of his boot in off the inside of the post.  It wasn’t the most powerful shot but did enough to beat a ‘keeper who went on to make two top class saves.  Watts could have doubled the advantage but his powerful header bounced off the bar.

Second half and Leatherhead played largely being in control.  Walsh was went off injured and on came Tomi.  He went on to miss two big chances which did little to calm the nerves as the game went on.  Playing well at 1-0 is still a dangerous position.

Leatherhead held on and took all three points.  Now on to the Mick Sullivan derby this Boxing Day…

Brentwood Town are coming

Our new friends from Essex make their first trip to the Grove today. After winning the Ryman North League play off final they are finding wins slightly harder to come by than us. They sit delicately poised fourth from bottom. This is yet another 6 pointer.

Leatherhead were spared a midweek trip to the league leaders. Unlike a handful of supporters who arrived only to discover the news of it being was not sent to anyone in the club who cared enough to spread the news.

The welcome win against Farnborough should set us up for this big game. No early clangers please!
Kick off at 3pm. See you there!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Travelling Tanners

Leatherhead hit the road again and travel to the current leaders.  Our much needed win of the weekend may give us some confidence going into the game… then again we got a much needed win away at Lewes and then they beat us 2-0 in the following game.

We do have a new layer of management to help steady the good ship Leatherhead.  It will be interesting to those that make the journey to see how it all fits together,

Kick off at 7.45.  Directions can be found here.  Good luck fellas.

Travelling Tanners

Leatherhead hit the road again and travel to the current leaders.  Our much needed win of the weekend may give us some confidence going into the game… then again we got a much needed win away at Lewes and then they beat us 2-0 in the following game.

We do have a new layer of management to help steady the good ship Leatherhead.  It will be interesting to those that make the journey to see how it all fits together,

Kick off at 7.45.  Directions can be found here.  Good luck fellas.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Farnborough 1 - 3 Tanners

Leatherhead got a much needed win to give us some breathing space at the bottom of the table.  A word of the hosts though.  A fantastic stadium for a club that should they be relegated will find themselves drop down to the Combined Counties next season.  OK, they still charge big club prices (£12 to get in) but are friendly and with no chips on their shoulders.  A far cry from our local rivals in their rented stadium…

Sandmann wanted to steady the ship and he must have feared the worst after just four minutes.  A poorly hit back pass fell between the defender and ‘keeper and both tried to clear the danger but neither succeeded.  The ball fell kindly and, despite scuffing his shot, the striker found the back of the net.

Luckily Farnborough were equally charitable.  A scuffed goal kick went straight to a Leatherhead player who played in Hughes-Mason.  The ‘keeper came to smother but missed allowing a simple tap in.  After two clangers it was time to start the game again.

Leatherhead took their lifeline well.  Hughes-Mason in particular was lively and cutting through the host defence with ease.  He just simply was not able to get a shot away of square it to new boy Tomi.  With some of his glaring misses in both halves there may be a reason for that.

Second half and Leatherhead dominated the game.  Our second goal came when the ball came from out wide to Dembelle in the box.  He had a lot to do but somehow managed to flick the ball over his marker and find room to power a shot past the diving ‘keeper.

2-1 and Farnborough tried to get an equalizer but we killed the game when Mahal was set free on the left wing, pushing the ball past the rushing ‘keeper and he passed it into an open net.  3-1 and the points were safe.

A great win but Leatherhead will face tougher opposition than Farnborough though.  Notably Tonbridge just this week.  The home fans, despite the result, sang “We’re the famous Fanborough and we’re off to Camberley”… on this evidence they are correct.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Travelling Tanners

Tomorrow we travel to Farnborough FC in this league fixture.  Our new manager has come out to say he is ready to steady, what many believe to be, a sinking ship.  Certainly a couple of life rafts in the shape of lofty strategic positions and higher placed clubs have already been jettisoned.

I haven’t been to Farnborough since their Conference status as Farnborough Town, and their stadium looks like a ground worthy of higher leagues.  After they had a brief spell of getting their administration in order at the start of the season they are now finding their rhythm.  Stringing together a few wins in a row but still sit in the bottom four.  Six pointer?

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


Sunday, December 06, 2015

Tanners 1 - 2 Harrow

This pretty much summed Leatherhead’s season up so far.  A bright start saw us create a number of chances.  Our right back in particular was involved in many of the attacks, overlapping and delivering dangerous crosses.

It was Hughes-Mason who got our goal.  Slightly on the left wing he cut across the edge of the area determined to get a shot away.  After riding, even pirouetting, over a number tackles he found enough space to send his low powerful shot into the bottom corner.  1-0.

It appears though that 45 minutes of competitive football is as far as Brady can take the current team, given the financial constraints blah blah blah, and so we were forced to watch a very different Leatherhead performance.  Credit should be given to Harrow who perhaps adjusted to the threat down our right and pegged him back.  Vas certainly didn't get lonely with two chaperones close by whenever he got the ball.

Leatherhead’s demise started almost as soon as the second half whistle sounded.  Harrow finding the back of the net in the 49th minute.  I actually missed this goal as I was walking to my usual spot behind the goal.

It was not as if we were overrun but for great periods of the second half it looked destined to be a 1-1 draw, it was just allowing them to waltz into our penalty area and rifle home a powerful shot ruined that.

So now we welcome a new era of a new manager who, if the statement is to be believed, is brimming with new ideas.  Where were these new ideas yesterday or throughout a spell that has seen us drop into relegation trouble?  Perhaps they were stifled… by the same person who will now oversee all footballing matters and, despite needing more time away from football, will be there on match days… it all makes perfect sense I’m sure…

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Harrow Borough are coming

Leatherhead “welcome” in a new era today with the visit of Harrow Borough.  A big game as we are transitioning from the middle table pack into the relegation group.  Something for the new Head of Football Development to ponder on...

The game also takes a poignant turn with a tribute to Pete Lavers with some past managers such as  Keith Oram and Dave Harlow bring some their golden generation to the Grove to pay tribute.

Kick off at 3pm.  See you there.


Thursday, December 03, 2015

Tanners 3 - 0 Carshalton

Leatherhead put out a strong side, applied themselves and got what they deserved.  A much needed win and a place in the next round.

Confidence must be fragile in the Leatherhead camp and I wonder what would have happened if the visitors made more, despite being under constant pressure from Leatherhead, of their early chances.  In the opening minutes they were through 1-1 with Wells but he saved.  A similar move down the middle brought about a clumsy challenge and a penalty.  It was struck powerfully but too close to Wells who had guess the right way and it was saved.

Leatherhead got their breakthrough from a set piece.  A free kick curling in with Big Phil to glance it in.  Then on the half hour mark we doubled our lead.  A ball played across the box was watched as the defence played musical statues.  Hughes-Mason took full advantage of this and powered it past the ‘keeper.

2-0 at half time and the home fans could begin  to dream

The second half could not have gone much better for Brady.  True, Wells was forced into a couple of good saves but on the whole we were in control and he got to introduce three of his Academy players.  Notably Calum Davies who played the whole of the second half.  Fresh from scoring four goals in an Academy game on a pitch just recovered from severe flooding he played out 45 minutes with the big boys.  While on a couple of occasions it was clear he needed a few more post-match curries in the Five Rivers to bulk himself up a bit he certainly had something about him.  None more so when a long ball from Wells, following an injury in our goal mouth, fell to Davies 18 yards out.  An instinctive finish left the visiting ‘keeper no chance to round off a good night.

So, the monkey is off the trophy chasing back and on to Saturday with the visit of Harrow…


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Carshalton Athletic are coming

Four cup games have come and gone with one draw and three defeats (largely against lower level opposition) and so we attempt a fifth in this popular competition to get something from it.

Carshalton again are in the league below although I had to do a double take.  A side that I have always associated with a higher level have lost their way but sit just outside the play-off places in the Ryman Division One South.

So what can the home fans expect in tonight’s Surrey Senior Cup game?  Hopefully not a red carpet leading directly to a “Welcome” mat placed in front of Wells as was the case in the Trophy.  Just an indication that we have set out to win the game in the first place would be a start.

Kick off at 7:45.  See you there.