MATCH REPORTS DECEMBER 2022
Saturday 3rd December - Leatherhead 1-1 T&MU
Leatherhead caught a battling Terrors side with an injury-time sucker-punch to share the spoils on an absorbing afternoon at Fetcham Grove.
Tooting, backed by a sizeable travelling contingent amongst the 300+ crowd, were once again the victims of some questionable decision making from the officials as we were forced to play out the entire second half a man light after the sending off of Kynan Kirlew-Wright just before the break. As the hosts attempted to mount an attack through the middle, Kynan found himself in a chase with Tanners’ striker Dave Tarpey, and the Leatherhead man hit the deck after slight contact with the defender. Despite the innocuous nature of the challenge (Kynan didn’t break stride, which he would have to have done for the contact to be deliberate, and Nathan Daly was coming across to cover, so Kynan wasn’t the last defender either) the referee saw fit to deal out the harshest punishment of all.
At this stage, we had been giving at least as good as we had got, but facing an entire second half a player light - a defensive one at that - meant the visiting fans could have been forgiven for expecting the worst upon the resumption of play after the interval.
For us to then largely control the remainder of the match, and go so close to winning spoke volumes for the depth of character in the squad, and a togetherness that will be sorely needed in the coming weeks - especially if we are going to continue to suffer at the hands of those in charge.
The management decided against changing anything at the break, resisting the urge to withdraw any attackers in order to shore up numbers at the back, and perhaps aim for a point - and it was a policy that almost paid off in dramatic fashion when Jake Rose gave us the lead just past the hour; Andrew Sesay challenged Jerry Puemo on the edge of the box, and the defender’s header was a poor one. Jake kept his eye on the dipping ball as it fell and struck a ferocious shot on the volley from well outside the area that flew past Slavomir Huk in the home goal, giving the big keeper no chance. It was Jake’s first goal for the club since netting the winner in the London Senior Cup Final, eighteen months ago.
James Shaw had made several decent stops to keep the Tanners at bay, and was aided by some resolute defending in front of him from Nathan Daly, Cory Walters-Wright and recent signing Marcus Travers. As time ticked away, a routine clearance from Huk seemed to go straight out of play for a Terrors throw, but the referee indicated in the favour of the home side and Leatherhead launched a long ball down the middle which Reese Allasani backheeled into the path of Tarpey, and the striker picked his spot past an exposed Shaw to deny us two points at the death. It was a harsh outcome after such an enterprising performance from the men in purple.
T&MU : Shaw, Edwards, Ako-Adjei, Travers, Daly, Kirlew-Wright, Bangura-Williams, Walters-Wright, Mbango, Sesay (sub : Oyebola 84"), Rose (sub : Filipe 75").
Subs not used : Krokhin, Caulton, Jallow.
Attendance : 327
Report : Ed Parlett
Tuesday 20th December - T&MU 1-2 Thatcham Town
This twice-postponed fixture finally went ahead just five days before Christmas - and the Terrors must have wished it hadn't as the visitors didn't have to play particularly well to take the points back home to Berkshire with them, leaving us well and truly mired in a battle for survival.
As an exercise in shooting ourselves in the foot, it was hard to see how this could have been bettered; after dominating the opening stages and looking more likely to break the deadlock, we found ourselves playing catch-up again. Then, having hauled ourselves back on terms - with seemingly the whole of the second half ahead to improve matters - James Shaw was guilty of an inexplicable rush of blood to the head, resulting in the final reckoning of no points at all from a definite 'six-pointer'.
With neither side playing in the preceding seventeen days, the rustiness early on was evident from both, but Tooting were creating the bulk of the chances, and had legitimate penalty claims when Enoch Ako-Adjei was tripped by a visiting defender after slipping the ball past him. However, the referee disagreed and waved play on and - somewhat predictably given the recent pattern of games - Thatcham then took the lead with their first real attack. A well-worked move down the right-hand side resulted in a corner and, as the home defence failed to clear, Cameron Rohart-Brown drilled in the opening goal from the left-hand side of the area.
Thatcham then had a chance to double their lead from the penalty spot shortly afterwards, but it was too close to James Shaw and he saved comfortably.
In first-half injury-time, visiting keeper Toby Fisher mis-judged the pace of a ball flashed across his six yard box, and Edd Mbango steered it into the net from a tight angle.
But all that good work was undone just seconds later as Shaw came tearing out of his box to mow down an attacker who was going nowhere, and Rohart-Brown learnt the lessons from his earlier penalty miss to stroke the ball confidently home and seal the points.
T&MU : Shaw, Ako-Adjei, Travers, Filipe, Krokhin, Bangura-Williams, Walters-Wright, Rose (sub : Akinnibi 71"), Sesay (sub : Moco 82"), Mbango, Clarke.
Subs not used : Dahdouh, Chang, Caulton.
Attendance : 91
Report : Ed Parlett
Monday 26th December - T&MU 1-0 Guernsey
The latest 'must win' game actually resulted in a victory as a late goal saw off Guernsey to put a little bit of distance between the two sides in the purgatory of the bottom of the table.
The struggling visitors had been shipping goals aplenty of late, and came with a determined look about them as they threw up a solid defensive blanket and challenged their hosts to break it down.
A point seemed to be the limit of the Islanders' ambitions - understandable, given the circumstances - with any hopes of expanding on that limited to sporadic attacks that never really threatened to trouble the home rearguard.
Thus, as the game unfolded, it began to resemble a training exercise - attack against defence - and the defence almost won the day until a goal eleven minutes from the end finally broke their stout resistance.
In truth, the Terrors should have settled their nerves long before that, spurning a number of chances during a dominant opening. There were three decent shouts for a penalty in the first half alone, but we don't get them anymore; the only spot-kick we've had this season came in the reverse fixture back in August which set us on the way to three points on that day.
Here, Kareem Akinnibi was upended early on, with nothing given. then Jordan Clarke went down in the box in a tangle of legs - and got a yellow card for 'diving' for his efforts - finally, toward the end of the half, Jamie Dodd tried to relieve Nikolai Krokhin of his shirt during a goalmouth melee - to be fair to the officials on this one, their views were probably obscured by the sheer number of bodies in the goalmouth but it was a clear as day to those behind the goal.
In between, there was a superb save from Jason Martin who managed to get fingertips to Kareem's close-range header, after Nikolai had headed the ball back across the six yard box following a corner; and shortly before the break, debutant Declan Nche drove a free-kick just over the bar.
As the second half progressed, Tooting stepped up their efforts as they sensed the points were there to be taken, and Kareem curled a long-range effort just wide as he continued to look lively.
Finally, a sustained burst of pressure resulted in a corner, which Jordan Clarke floated toward the far post. Nikolai's shot was repelled by Martin (who had a fine game) but the ball fell to Edd Mbango, who steered his shot away from the crowd of bodies guarding the goal-line but off the crossbar. Nathan Daly retrieved the loose ball and fired goalwards, only for Guernsey to scramble it off the line but the ball fell kindly for Nathan again and he made no mistake with his second effort, driving the winner home with aplomb.
T&MU : Shaw, Ceesay, Browne (sub : Edwards 62"), Travers, Daly, Krokhin, Nche, Chang, Mbango, Akinnibi (sub : Ako-Adjei 82"), Clarke (sub : Bangura-Williams 82").
Subs not used : Rose, Moco.
Attendance : 172
Report : Ed Parlett