Monday, October 31, 2016

Leatherhead 2 - 3 Chesham

So another knock-out competition comes and goes as we lose at home on the first time of asking while conceding the statutory minimum three goals.  It begs the question, why change a “winning” team.  With a league win under our belts last Saturday, why not run out the same team Wednesday?  Why rest them only to lose again on Saturday when there is no game midweek?

Leatherhead got off to a bad start, conceding early to Pearce and putting us on the back foot.  While a free kick from Smith made it interesting it was not long before Pearce regained their lead.

Going into half time at 2-1 down, one could hope for some organisation to be instilled into the team but alas no.  Just eight minutes into the second half we concede again.  A powerful header from Bradbrook did make it interesting but with three goals conceded the most we could hope for was a draw.  The third goal didn’t come and we crash out or two cups in a week.

Lowestoft at the weekend then…

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Chesham are coming

I'm too jet lagged for this one. I'm tired, disorientated... you write the punchline...
Today we welcome Chesham in the Trophy. Kick off at 3pm. Try not to lose a cup game fellas!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Merstham 4 - 3 Leatherhead

The 1st Team have been doing so well lately in the league that half of them were rewarded with the night off. We don't need the match practice after all and so they had a night in with a take away and watched the Liverpool V Spurs game.

It would only seem fair to similarly reward the U21s who played tonight with a rest and let the U18s have a run out in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

Merstham have decided they are in the big time now and felt that £12 was an appropriate admission fee. I can only assume that the most expensive entrance fee in the league must include keeping the souvenir mug into which my soup was poured.

Anyway, we took an early lead through Sole while Merstham pondered whether it was worth putting a tackle in with the Oxford game just 10 days away. Eventually they decided enough was enough so stretched their legs and scored a couple of goals to go into half time 2-1 up.

Merstham gave the impression throughout that they would be able to do just enough to win this one but they didn't expect 2 quick goals from the visitors. A Sole free kick on 50 mins was deflected into the net to draw us level at 2-2, and then Cobban scored a great goal on 55 mins to give us a surprising lead 3-2.

Merstham don't like losing to Leatherhead and stepped up a gear. Goals on 75 and 88 minutes gave them a 4-3 win and we march on to see play Chesham in the FA Trophy on Saturday hoping to concede less than 3 goals.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Grays 1 -2 Tanners

The Ryman League have made a mistake. This win was surely worth 9 points at least.

It wasn't entirely convincing though. Grays were onto their 3rd goalkeeper of the afternoon and down to 10 men but we were still more nervous than a prostitute in church whilst trying to hold onto a 2-1 lead.

An uneven meadow was not what Jimmy wanted to showcase his protege's passing skills when he ventured into Essex in his white Range Rover but that is exactly what he got.

The travelling hordes of around 10 Levred supporters were scratching their heads to arrive and see Bradbrook, Sol and Mahal on the bench but we just muttered to ourselves about it. None of us could claim to be worth £55,000 a week to play football, no one is capable of playing golf to scratch, and no one has fished for England. Anyway it's not like we were changing a wining side.

A scrappy encounter ensued with the deadlock broken by a well taken free kick by the new boy Ty Smith. Towards the end of the 1st half the Grays keeper went off injured to replaced by what seemed to be a genuine reserve keeper rather than an outfielder. Then, just before half time Grays equalised.

Soon after the re-start a scrappy goal by Kamara saw us take a 2-1 lead. The replacement keeper didn't last too long after that and was sent off for handling the ball outside the box. This sent us into a state of mild panic. The pressure of not beating the bottom side with 10 men and a 3rd choice goalkeeper was almost to much to bear. 

Somehow we held out for the 9 points and go into a League Cup and FA Trophy mid winter break. We sit comfortably outside the relegation zone by one point but having played 38 games more than anyone else.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Travelling Tanners

Leatherhead face Grays Athletic today in what is a massive game. The team with the least amount of points host the team who have played the most games.

Leatherhead dominated the home tie at the start of the season but let it slip. If Leatherhead are to survive this season they can't do that again tomorrow.

Kick off at 3pm. Good luck fellas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Worthing 3 - 2 Tanners

For the neutral this would have been a cracking game.  End to end football played at pace with some fantastic saves and missed chances.

Leatherhead are not making life easy for themselves.  In the opening few minutes it was clear we had not familiarized ourselves with the new artificial surroundings and Worthing tore into us.  A silly free kick was conceded on the edge of the box and they scored from the resulting free kick.  From the view behind the other goal there were some of us who felt they had time to run to the other end and save the looping shot so were puzzled how it beat our returning ‘keeper.

The attacks kept on coming and soon Worthing had doubled their lead.  We failed to deal with an attack down the left and the powerful shot beat the ‘keeper as the ball flew in off of the far post.

Leatherhead did manage to get one back.  A lofted ball into Bradbrook and a deft header sent the ball goal bound.  Normally this would have been saved with ease, but their ‘keeper decided to impersonate a chicken and came out flapping.  The ball trickled in and we had hope at half time.

This hope did not last long.  Jerry fizzed a cross in and Bradbrook tried to adjust his body to get his head on the low ball but his effort flew over the bar from about three yards out.  From the resulting goal kick the ball went down the other end; we won possession and then needlessly gave the ball away to their powerful striker who evaded three tackles before curling a shot into the top right corner.

Then Godman went into beast mode and showed why he was brought back to as our ‘keeper.  He pulled off a string of fantastic saves to prevent the score line becoming embarrassing, but questions need to be asked as to why he was forced into so many saves.

The ‘keeper came to our assistance one more time.  He delayed a clearance which allowed Bradbrook time to chase the ‘keeper down and make a block which fell kindly to Sole.  With an open goal he curled the ball into the side netting.  For Leatherhead to get an unlikely draw we needed their ‘keeper to concede the perfect hat trick and let it go through his legs or something but it didn’t come.

So another game played (we have played the most in the league) and another disappointing result.  On to Grays, which is now classified as a “12 pointer”; at least.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Travelling Tanners

Leatherhead will have mixed feelings about the weekend.  A draw would have been snapped up at the start of the game but after building a 2-0 lead there will be disappointment in the ranks.

With that comes a midweek trip to the south coast and a visit to our old friends Worthing.  They are mid-table with five more points BUT have a two games in hand and slightly better goal difference.

Kick off at 7.45.  Directions can be found here.  See you there (I think)!


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Dulwich Hamlet are coming

Leatherhead host our old friends Dulwich Hamlet today. While the club sit just outside the playoff places, their home support is breaking records every week it seems. If just 10% of their support travel then it will be a good gate for Leatherhead.

Kick off at 3pm. Good luck fellas.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Tanners 0 - 1 Havant & Waterlooville

It was a stark contrast to Saturday, where then the players had been instructed to go out and enjoy themselves but last night they were clearly told to be bloody miserable.

It was a far more conservative approach to the game, against a very good visiting team, that was not easy on the eye.  Havant were experienced and patient enough to wait until their goal came while we offered little in the hope of a draw.

I am not saying the ref cost us the game, we were quite impotent, but it couldn’t have helped.  First of all Lopez was brought down and the ref had the good eyesight to spot it happened an inch outside the box.  This eyesight deserted him when Tomi was pulled back inside the box.  He was a ref who loved to “let things go” for both sides but when Sole was fouled and the ball fell to a marked Leatherhead player he shouted advantage.  This advantage quickly disappeared as the marked player was dispossessed and they went down the other end and score. 

Tomi was later booked for diving after riding three poorly timed tackles and then getting clearly tripped.  While the ball had run on slightly beyond him there was clearly contact and a massive mistake by the ref.

Hughes Mason came on and looked dangerous when playing through the middle.  He actually found the net but it was ruled out for offside.  Those fair minded supporters by the bar were convinced it was yet another blunder by the officials.

So Leatherhead lose, albeit to a side that are going to be challenging for top spot, and it may get worse with the visit of old friends Dulwich Hamlet.  Perhaps Bradbrook will be back to reaquaint himself…

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Havant & Waterlooville are coming

Tonight we welcome second place Havant & Waterlooville to the Grove, an away fixture that was embarrassingly one sided back in August.

We can perhaps hope for “one of those nights at The Grove” which has seen some fantastic (often 1-0) wins over higher placed opposition.  We will need a fair wind, a kind ref and a host of other things to go in our favour if the second half away at Burgess Hill is anything to go by…

Kick off at 7.45.  See you there.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Burgess Hill Town 3 - 2 Tanners

A large home crowd turned out, in almost stunned silence, to watch a Leatherhead side playing some of the most fluid attacking football seen in the Ryman Premier.. for about 15 minutes.  While it lasted it was breathtaking as we passed the ball from the back, around a hypnotized Burgess Hill, to build attack after attack.

It is true that the shots on goal were low and at one point I was just willing for a reassuring long ball but it was impressive stuff.  From the pressure we got our goal.  The home side did not deal with a corner properly and when the ball was sent back in Jerry was at hand.  Some say it was an own goal, but he was there to apply the pressure so I am putting it down to him.  On 15 minutes, another fine pass from Sole picked out Calum whose shot just went wide.

Then Burgess Hill decided to stop chasing shadows and pressure us more and as a result gained more possession.  While Leatherhead saw out the first half the danger signs were there.

Into the second half and it was clear that the home side were told to chase down everything, and we failed to change our game plan.  As a result we often lost possession due to rushed passes and they applied the pressure.

Leatherhead will look back at the goals and wonder if the result could have been different though.  The first was a penalty.  It looked like two players swung at a bouncing ball and the Burgess Hill player got caught.  The spot kick put away with ease, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.

While Jimmy has taught us how to play some pretty football, for two games in a row we have let in a goal directly from a corner from the left.  Disappointing.  Calum did pounce on a cross into the box to make it briefly 2-2 we needlessly gave the ball away on the edge of the area and our new ‘keeper was beaten by a well-placed shot.

Hughes Mason came on to try an recreate the drama of Wednesday but alas it was not to be.  Leatherhead suffer defeat again and have the daunting prospect of facing Havant & Waterlooville of Wednesday night.  Any chance of practicing defending corners before then?

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Tanners 3 - 3 Leiston

There was initial disappointment at The Grove with the announcement of the team; there was no David Norris nor Tom Bradbrook.  It was like the Dream Team rocking up to Barcelona without Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

The disappointment continued as, despite playing some pretty football around the box, Leiston opened the scoring with a header from a corner.  Leatherhead persisted playing around the box while Leiston played through the middle.  Their striker looking dangerous scoring after bursting into the box and shooting from the right.  Luckily he was also looking a bit wasteful when he missed a one on one and then being denied by our ‘keeper from close range.

Being 2-0 at half time and there was barely a hint of hope but from somewhere a recovery was found.  Leatherhead have clearly been given a mandate to shoot from distance and one finally paid off.  A poorly cleared ball fell to Richard Seixas and his shot kept low (an act that could not be repeated by his team mates), taking a couple of deflections, to beat the ‘keeper.  2-1.  Game on.

Leatherhead’s tails were up and clearly Leiston were worried but not petrified as they still mounted some attacks of their own.  Leatherhead failed to deal with one of these attacks and the weakest of shots appeared to beat our ‘keeper near post.  3-1 with 23 minutes left to go, surely it was over.

Leatherhead and the referee had different ideas.   Not that the ref made bad decisions, not at all!  He just suddenly managed to see a foul in the box as the previous two were deemed to be just inches outside.  Sole steps up and makes it 3-2.

Leiston started to play it into the corners to waste time now but with a minute left one of their players, who could have run unchecked to the corner, decided to cross.  This was cut out and we built are last two or three attacks with the possession.  It was with the last try we scored. 

A perfectly weighted ball found Hughes-Mason, who had already struck the post moments earlier.  One on one with the ‘keeper he skipped past him; all he had to do was put it into the net; all he had to do was control it; surely now he could shoot; he needed another touch; then take a stumble; then coolly dispatched the shot from a tighter angle than anyone behind the goal would have liked.  It went in though and Leatherhead went wild, casting aside the ghost of Folkestone where we suffered the same fate.  The ref then allowed just one touch from Leiston before blowing for full time.

Entertaining stuff, in the end.  Off to Burgess Hill on Saturday then…


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Leiston are coming

Spare a thought for our visitors; as I type they are probably already one hour into their journey for tonight’s game.  After securing a much needed win we now host the current league leaders, Leiston.

Perhaps an even bigger crowd than the 308 that saw Jimmy’s debut can be expected with the signing of David Norris…

Kick off at 7.45.  See you there.


Saturday, October 01, 2016

AFC Sudbury 1 - 2 Tanners

Leatherhead get their first win under Jimmy Bullard but as he was sent off does it count?

Two Academy players scored to set up the first win. Lopez in the first half, Davis in the second.

There was plenty of drama. There was an equaliser for the home side; also Jimmy and Bradbrook were sent off for questioning the referee's decision making and parentage.

Travelling Tanners

To celebrate 10 years since we reached the FA Cup first round, the league have arranged a re-match.  Today we take on AFC Sudbury away.

Under Jimmy we are taking an even more star studded look with the arrival of David Norris.  I hope the playing budget is under control as the ball will be at his feet…

Directions can be found here.  Kick off at 3pm.  Good luck fellas.