Saturday, August 29, 2015

Travelling Tanners ©

Another new ground passes me by as I spend a long weekend in Bratislava.  Leatherhead travel into Essex where there must be more football clubs per capita than any place in the world.  Brentwood Town were promoted from the Ryman North last season and I don't recall us having played before.

The world looks different again.  After a string of disappointing results we won the big one.  Important we take that performance on into this game.

Kick off at 3pm.  Directions can be found here.  Veľa šťastia fellas!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tanners 1 - 0 Dulwich

Out of chaos comes order.

Leatherhead bounced back from a horrible 10 minutes on Saturday to produce a disciplined professional performance of which Nietzsche would have been proud.

We secured all 3 points against a very strangely attired Dulwich side. The traditional beloved pink and blue quarters have been abandoned in favour of an almost black nondescript kit that makes it very hard to pick out the referee.

A lively opening spell produced a headed goal from our new Aryan centre forward who has proved a fine addition to last season's squad. A fairly even first half ended with Leatherhead having had the best of the chances. This was a more amiable encounter than recent games between these sides, and was summed up well by a Dulwich hipster who felt that growth in wisdom can be measured precisely by a decline a bile.

You must carry chaos inside you to produce a dancing star and the star was again Vas who was our man of the match and often our only outlet in a 2nd half in which Dulwich dominated possession. Our backs were against the wall but nothing collapsed and in defense Jerry again proved that he is not a man he is dynamite.

The final words were left with Rod who summed up the game thus: True, we love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dulwich are coming!

There are four games on tonight but only one should grab the attention.  I hope the bar has stocked up on cans of Red Stripe as Dulwich arrive at the Grove in what is probably one of our biggest games of the season.  After a great start we have wobbled with a collapse at the weekend associated with a tail end batting order.  That said the two teams find themselves on 7 points having both lost to Staines.

Kick off at 7:45.  Good luck fellas!

 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tanners 4 - 4 Canvey

A frustrating game in the end as Leatherhead finish with 10 men and sacrifice a two goal lead (on two occasions).

The first half bubbled along nicely I have to say.  Canvey initially showed a complete lack of composure at the back, gifting us several corners which we took poorly.  It was Canvey though that had the best chances.  First a close range bicycle kick that was well saved then their goal.  Curran allowed to run onto a loose ball in the box and find the back of the net.

Luckily for us, Canvey’s charitable defense continued to offered up chances and when we finally delivered a telling ball in from a free kick it was Bog Phil who steered it back across goal and into the path of Hughes-Mason who prodded it home.

Vas was in the mood for scoring it seemed and while he opted to shoot rather than set up Big Phil on one chance to test the patience of the home supporters, all was forgiven when we went on to get a brace.  The first was a perfectly weighted ball left Vas running onto a ball that was simply too tempting for the ‘keeper not to come out for.  This left him completely exposed and he was lobbed in apparent ease.   Fifteen minutes later he ran at the defense who melted away allowing him time and space to pick his spot.  3-1 at half time and all seemed well…

During half time the visiting supporters bemoaned the refereeing.  Feeling he had missed a handball in the box for a penalty (I actually thought it was ball to hand) but it was the home support that felt aggrieved by the end of the game.

Canvey started the second half with real purpose.  The warning signs where there when the felt they had scored when a shot struck the post and appeared to have crossed the line but we managed to clear.  Then from a similar move they struck at close range and made it interesting at 3-2.  Game on.

In the first half came an incident that set the tone for the rest of the game in my opinion.  Vas was out to the right outside of the box when he went down a bit too theatrically for the ref and who (after a small delay) booked him for diving.  Now Vas was a marked man.  He was nibbled at and left completely unprotected by the ref who could now see no wrong in the defenders’ actions.  Eventually this boiled over with Vas being accused of diving by an angry player who proceeded to barge Vas heavily in the back while he was being confronted by another player. 

A small tangle ensued where Vas took a swipe / push across the defenders back.  The ref chose only to see Vas’ retaliation and showed him a straight red.  What was annoying was the assistant had clearly seen the first more violent incident and initially flagged as a foul in our favour by but the ref chose to ignore that too even after speaking with him.

Even more upsetting was Kieran found himself alone roughly in the same spot where Vas had been fouled and their central defender (the same one who had barged through Vas) came out to greet him.  His greeting came in the form of a two footed tackle from behind.  The ref, who had deemed a pat on the back a red card, issued only a yellow.  While the ref must have been feeling pretty pleased with himself Leatherhead managed to bundle in what we felt was the winner when Big Phil beat the defender to the swung in free-kick to make it 4-2.

Credit to Canvey though.  While it is true they had the extra man the pressure was there before and many sides would have taken the fourth goal as a sign it was not going to be their day.  They continued to press on.  Leatherhead meanwhile panicked and when we managed to intercept a pass all we could do was punt it hopefully up the pitch and wait for it to come back.  On one such occasion the player who collected such a punt ran at the defense.  Our defender was actually backing away quicker than the Canvey player could advance.  So much so he backed into Bruce who pushed him back towards the advancing Canvey player but it was too late.  He had too much space and made it 4-3.  Leadership in defense needed.

The equalizer was all too easy.  Just as Vas was allowed to pick his spot in the first half, so was Canvey’s Easterford and he levelled it all up with enough time for a winner but for once we held on.

What a time have such a crash in confidence on the pitch with the “classico” on Wednesday.  Dulwich come to the Grove…

Canvey Island are coming

Ryman Premier stalwarts come to the Grove today and I am hoping for a better match than the last visit.  They seemed content with only a point and it was not a pretty sight.  Leatherhead did manage to get a winner as we were on a good run of form then.

Our form now is undecided.  Two great wins, then a loss in the league and a further loss to a lower league side albeit in penalties.  Kieran stated he expected a reaction after the Staines defeat, let’s hope it is today.

Kick off at 3pm.  See you there.

 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Three Bridges 1 - 1 Tanners (Tanners lose 11-10 on penalties)

Despite the significant changes made to the starting 11 this was a game that had it all.  The managers had agreed before the game not to play extra time and go straight to penalties should it be a draw.  While there were times in the first half I’d wished the managers had agreed just to toss a coin at the start of the game and be done with it the second half more than made up for it.

Leatherhead fielded a youthful side to face a slightly more robust looking Three Bridges, although to be fair they had made some changes themselves for this game.  Leatherhead did not really find their feet in the first half although could have taken the lead when Jordan Gallagher went clear but his tame shot was easily saved.  Kieran went close too with his trade mark lob but it went over.

Three Bridges meanwhile applied a constant amount of pressure and it produced a goal from a corner.  Their tall MacVicar got his physics right and judge the trajectory of the ball perfectly to head it powerfully past the ‘keeper.

Second half and Leatherhead came out with a purpose and took the game to the hosts right from the get-go, mainly driven by the experience of Kieran and Josh.  It was the former that got us back into the game.  Breaking clear of the back four he turned sharply and beat both the defender and the out coming ‘keeper with an open goal.  Their defender, Crellin then brought down Kieran and it seemed with him being the last man it was an obvious decision that he should go.  The ref was quick to explain that the ball would have run onto the ‘keeper despite the fact he was well and truly done like a kipper.  Only a yellow was shown.  Justice was served as Kieran fired his shot powerfully into the top corner despite a sizeable wall.

Crellin wasn’t done though.  Moments later he pulled down Semakula who was advancing on goal.  The ref initially pulled out his yellow card and realized he’d have some real paper work to fill in so put it away again.  From the resulting free-kick Crellin dived in off the ball and fouled again and this time the ref had decided he’d seen enough of the angry young man so sent him off to cool down.

Leatherhead pressed on for the winner as Three Bridges for a long period failed to adjust to having a man less.  Waves of attacks came and went until the hosts rallied and forced Jake Nimmo into some heroic saves.

Despite a lengthy period of extra time and we entered an even more lengthy period of penalty taking.  As I lost count during the shootout it is fair to say this summary is going to patchy at best.  Steve Sargent missed the first, a move that Kieran copied.  Three Bridges then launched their next effort into Crawley while we found the net.  They scored.  We missed and all of a sudden after 4 attempts each it was 2-2… and so it went on until we reached double figures. 

The highlight was undoubtedly the keepers’ who made the initial saves then took penalties themselves.  I think that is where I lost count.  There was something mesmerising about the Three Bridges keeper’s effortless curling shot into the top corner when you were expecting a power drive down the middle.  These were also some of the best penalties you’ll see with the top corners and side netting powerfully found on a regular basis.

Eventually, much to the relief of the grounds man who had a bus to catch, it came to an end with Leatherhead’s 13 penalty saved.  Glad I made it back from Brazil for this one and good luck to Three Bridges in the next round.

Back to the league Saturday…

 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Travelling Tanners

League Cup action tonight and we travel to our old Division One South friends Three Bridges.  Richard Brady was not too happy with the performance on Saturday so here is a chance to right some of those wrongs.

Kick off at 7:45.  Directions can be found here.  For the first time this season…. See you there!

 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Staines 1 - 0 Tanners

“The Invincibles” took an early blow to their league campaign.  While Leatherhead had their chances in the opening exchanges it was Staines who took the lead.  Leatherhead failed to deal with a corner and paid the price.

For the remainder we simmered but did not really get a grip on the game with Staines going on to gain their first win of the season.

Hopefully a good response is on the cards to regain the top spot…