Monday, February 27, 2017

Tanners 0 - 0 Tonbridge

After going practically 75% of the season with only two clean sheets to their name, they have now doubled that tally in the last two games.  The latter a credible draw against a side pushing for the play-offs in Tonbridge Angels, thus completing a mediocre double of drawing both games against them.

If there is hope for our survival it won’t come from this draw alone but the change the style we are now playing.  No more inviting pressure by constantly overplaying it from the back; Louis Wells can now get his boots dirty and pick out a player further up the pitch.  The endless sideways movement around the box has been replaced with more purposeful attacks, giving the other team something more to think about.  The end result is a more entertaining game and a few points on the board.  Pity it took until nearly March to work this out.

It could have been more though but for the visiting ‘keeper who pulled off two fantastic saves.  Kadell looked like he had scored in the first half when he picked out the top corner from a powerful volley but the ‘keeper responded and tipped over.  Then in the second half Jerry prodded a ball into the bottom corner but again we were thwarted.

Wells was called into action notably once to keep us level and take us within two points of Sudbury.

Dulwich will have a replay in the Trophy to contend with so that trip will have to wait.  Just Bognor Regis to look forward to on Saturday then….

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tonbridge Angels are coming

The stark reality of the situation is starting to hit home now.  We are going to need to pull off some stunning results between now and the end of the season if we are going to stay up.

There is no better place to start that Tonbridge Angels tomorrow at home.  Last time we played them it was an entertaining 4-4, but I doubt our visitors will be as charitable tomorrow.

Kick off at 3pm.  See you there!


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tanners 2 - 0 AFC Sudbury

In the bar before the game a fellow Leatherhead fan reeled off a few stats.  Up until this game we had only kept two clean sheets, both against the same team Merstham.  Not a good indication that you will stay up if you can only prevent one other team in the league from scoring against you.  Further analysis showed AFC Sudbury are the only side we are realistically likely to pip to the post for the safety spot so a win today was crucial.

Leatherhead certainly approached the game slightly differently.  It appeared less show-biz, slightly more direct and purposeful.  AFC Sudbury, perhaps jaded from the long mid-week journey, had little in response but of course we had our scares.

Our opening goal came from a long ball down the middle (at last!) and the pace of Nana who rounded the ‘keeper and had an open goal in front of him.  All he had to do was tap it in; tap it in with his left foot and this is where the fun began.  He took his time, switched it to his right, took an extra touch and then another to avoid the returning defender. 

“I don’t believe it!” I heard myself say amongst the panic behind the goal.  A Victor Meldrew moment born of so many frustrating moments watching Leatherhead cock it up this year.  Thankfully he composed himself in time to get his goal but his left foot became something of a theme.  There was a good shooting chance in the first half that was shunned and in the second half there was a mix up in the AFC Sudbury defence that saw him in front of goal with the ‘keeper and two or three defenders all stranded… all stranded just to the right of him.  Rather than switching it to the left and rolling into another open net he opted to go right and then right again as he ran into more and more trouble.  Let’s leave the Nana bashing there; he worked hard and got the goal but it was a surprise he didn’t hop off when substituted.

Back to the game and the second half where we lived in fear it would all go wrong again in this end to end game.  We should have been comfortable but for some reason the chances were being missed.  Then came our salvation.

Callum Davies swung in what looked on first inspection an innocent looking cross but he picked out the run of Kadell Daniel who volleyed superbly past their ‘keeper to make it 2-0.  Of course, Leatherhead being 2-0 at any point of the game does not guarantee anything but AFC Sudbury looked suitable wounded that a fightback seemed unlikely.

On to Saturday and the visit of Tonbridge Angels…

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

AFC Sudbury are coming...

I looked online for the odds and AFC Sudbury are about 3-1 for tonight.  I am not sure if that is for them to win or to turn up as this fixture has been plagued with misfortune…

…which leads us nicely into our year so far!  2017 has been nothing short of a disaster so far and with Harrow winning 4-0 last night the picture is looking increasingly bleak.  Oh for a win tonight!

Kick off at 7.45.  See you there… I promise!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Travelling Tanners

Advance clearance was needed before considering making this trip to Lowestoft Town.  This could be six hours of driving with only 3-1 beating to break up the journey if recent performances are anything to go by.

Let’s look at the positives though.  It’s a new ground… and… well, we did play well at Tonbridge Angels where we went thinking it would be a wasted trip so this may be the kind of game we bounce back.  There is a coach going, so the travelling support should be in good voice too.

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

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Tanners 1 - 2 Burgess Hill

Under Sandmann we were ill-equipped and lacked the players to cope with the Ryman Premier League.  Under Jimmy we have the players but lack the motivation and / or defensive discipline to win the important games and look certain to slide into the Ryman League South if 2017 form is anything to go by.  Start planning your trips to Walton Casuals.

The performance in the first half was workman like.  Not too gung-ho but we showed enough about us to carve out two good chances; forcing the ‘keeper into a good save and clipping the bar from a deft lob.

Then the warning sign.  When under no pressure we give the ball away in our third of the pitch and presented an open goal.  Wells came to our rescue and we can only hope they had learned their lesson.

They didn’t.  Into the second half and we over play it at the back and pass it straight to their striker, whose powerful shot beat Wells near post.

Leatherhead did get one back.  Some smart work from the sub Nana set up Carr in the middle of the goal who had to dig it out of the mud a little but found enough power to find the back of the net.

Then Leatherhead make the same mistake again, giving the ball away in a dangerous position and presented another open goal.  2-1.  This disheartened the side and really we were treading water for the rest of the game with no spirit.

Burgess Hill players embraced when the final whistle went; they knew how big the game was.  Pity no one told Jimmy and our players that.

Burgess Hill Are Coming

Another crucial game and hopefully the weather or traffic conditions won’t get it called off.

The one thing we could not hold off any longer was the three point deduction which has put us back in the chase for relegation.

Kick off at 3pm (please check twitter and the RAC for updates).  See you there.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

AFC Sudbury are coming

AFC Sudbury make the long mid-week trip to Fetcham Grove in this crucial encounter.  They sit just one point behind (or two ahead) and with a game in hand.

For the game against Canvey the first half showing was so poor that Jimmy must have laid down the law in the dressing room and let them think about it, as he waited outside the bar with a face like thunder.  I hope he will not need to play such mind games tonight as drawing these games is becoming increasing unacceptable.

Kick off at 7.45.  Good luck fellas.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Tonbridge Angels 4 - 4 Tanners

Well.  How to write this lot up?  Trying to recollect the events of tonight is going to be practically impossible as there is only so much you can take in during a 90 minute game of football.

The first thing I recall is the ease in which Tonbridge opened the scoring in the opening minutes of both half.  Both goals shots from distance catching Wells off-guard.  Tonbridge were in an equally charitable mood and gifted Leatherhead their first goal.  A long ball down the middle was misjudged and allowed Hamons to run on unmarked and slot past the ‘keeper.  The goal was awarded to Carr, I’m not sure why.

Then a wonder strike (or a lucky cross) when Daniel who fired in a lofted ball to the far post and in it dipped.  Ty Smith added to the joy by being afforded too much space in the box and his powerful – yet placed – shot found the side netting.

3-1 up at half time and we went into the bar to contemplate the state of Jimmy’s coat and the prospect of a 3-3 draw.  This looked ever more likely when another audacious lob was attempted and scored by Tonbridge from distance in just the opening couple of minutes.  Their third goal I don’t recall.  I think a player dashed into the box and fired into a corner.

Their forth was a real eye opener.  I have no idea what is taught in training but I wonder how much time is spent organising the defence.  I say this because we have Jerry (former player of the season) and Howe (non-league player of pedigree) at the back there but to allow their striker so much space to head a goal is shocking.  No organisation nor awareness of the danger and it happens all too often.  Jimmy was incensed and got sent to the stand.  Perhaps upset that the move came from the ref getting in the way of a Leatherhead pass and inadvertently chesting it into the path of a Tonbridge player.

We were not done yet and Ty Smith scores another goal I can’t remember.  It escapes me as we could have won the game.  Daniel Carr went on a hell of a run – Michael Owen and Argentina springs to mind – and was through on goal.  We rushed to the barrier assuming a match winning cuddle was imminent but he opted for the surprise element of shooting near post instead of the inviting far post where the goal was gaping.  Three Leatherhead supporters, two Dulwich supporters (!?) and a players father stood a gasp.

Very much a game of what could have been and now a weekend without a game to dwell on it…