MATCH REPORTS 2022/23
Tuesday 5th July - T&MU 1-2 Corinthian Casuals
Tooting lined up with virtually 2 separate teams for the pre season opener. The team for the first 60 mins was: Shaw, Joseph, Krokhin, Daly, Ndiaye, Macfoy-Johnston, Cole, Ceesay, Jallow, M'Bango, Ako-Adjei. The 2nd group was: Campbell, Joseph, Chang, Owen, Clarke, Daniel, Bassett, Dahdouh, Jallow, Dembele, Ako-Adjei.
There may have been other changes on top of that!
The visitors ended up going home with a 2-1 win, with Nikolai Krokhin scoring a consolation goal for us in the last few minutes.
Saturday 9th July - T&MU 3-10 AFC Wimbledon
A mixed team of reserves, under23s, youth players and trialists came a bit of a cropper as AFC Wimbledon romped home by 10 goals to 3.
Saturday 9th July T&MU 0-1 Herne Bay
Herne Bay provided another good physical workout, and we were unlucky not to get
something out of the game as we matched our higher-level opponents all the way. We had
the first chance when a nice run and shot from Malachi Cole was fumbled around the post
for a corner by a nervy looking visiting keeper.
The only goal of the game came in the tenth minute as an impressive move down the left
culminated in a low cross which was swept home giving Morgan Campbell little chance.
Campbell redeemed himself with an impressive double save just past the half hour when the
visitor’s no.16 made a forceful run into the box, held off the challenge of Momodou Jallow
and fired in a shot which Campbell turned away, and then got up quickly to get his body in
place to deflect the follow-up effort.
The Terrors best chance of the game saw Antonio Dembele exchange passes with Jordan
Clarke and move into a promising position but the keeper was equal to his firmly struck shot.
In typical pre-season fashion, multiple substitutions disrupted the flow of the game in the
second half, but we held our own and finished the ninety minutes disappointed not to have
some tangible reward for the afternoon’s endeavours.
Lineup: Morgan; Daly, Walters-Wright, Krokhin; Daniel, Clarke, Ndiaye, Cole, Jallow; Ako-Adjei, Dembele. Subs Conor, Bassett, Macfoy-Johnston, Johnson, M'Bango, Ceesay.
Tuesday 12th July - T&MU 1-3 Raynes Park Vale
Tooting slipped to another pre season defeat this evening as we went down 3-1 to Raynes Park. A disappointing 1st half saw us concede 2 goals without offering much going forward. There were numerous changes at half time, and we were able to pull a goal back through Ajani Domingo-Carrington, who was appearing for the stripes for the first time since 2019.
We were unable to get back into the game any further, and in fact conceded a 3rd late on. So not a great performance and not a great result either.
Players used: Shaw; Daly, Walters-Wright, Krokhin; Jallow, Johnson, Ndiaye, Clarke, Daniel; Ako-Adjei, Ceesay. Campbell; Chang, Kirlew-Wright; Ahorlu, Moco, Cole, Domingo-Carrington; M'Bango.
Saturday 16th July - T&MU 1-1 Haywards Heath Town
Tooting secured a draw in a game switched to a 10am kick off due to the great heatwave of '22. Tooting started brightly and were on the front foot from the off. However, it was Haywards Heath who took the lead with one of their first attacks of the game. There followed an extended period of pressure from Tooting which resulted in a penalty. Anuar Ceesay stepped up to take it, and although the keeper saved the spot kick, Ceesay was quick enough to get to the rebound and put it in the back of the net.
The second half continued in a similar vein. Tooting having the lion's share of the ball, but not really turning possession into chances. The game finished 1-1 but there was the feeling around the ground that we'd seen a much better performance.
Players used: Shaw, Daly, Walters-Wright, Kirlew-Wright, Moco, Daniel, Ahorlu, Ceesay, Edwards, Jallow, Ako-Adjei, Krokhin.
Wednesday 20th July - Sevenoaks Town 3-0 T&MU
Tooting conceded 3 second half goals as they slipped to another pre season defeat.
Players used: Shaw, Daly, Walters-Wright, Kirlew-Wright, Moco, Daniel, Ahorlu, Ceesay, Edwards, Jallow, Ako-Adjei, Krokhin.
Match report to follow...
Saturday 23rd July - Colliers Wood 1-1 T&MU
A late equaliser prevented Tooting picking up their first preseason victory after Krokhin had scored the opener, following a goalless first half.
Players used: Shaw, Daly, Walters-Wright, Kirlew-Wright, Moco, Daniel, Ahorlu, Ceesay, Edwards, Jallow, Ako-Adjei, Krokhin, M'Bango.
Match report to follow...
Tuesday 26th July - T&MU 0-4 Hendon
Despite a bright start, Tooting slumped to a heavy defeat against Hendon.
Lineup: Shaw; Chang, Walters-Wright, Krokhin; Edwards, Clarke, Trialist, Moco; Jallow; Ako-Adjei, M'Bango. Subs Daniel, Daly, Domingo-Carrington, Macfoy-Johnston, Baye, M'Bango, Ceesay, Kirlew-Wright,Morgan.
Match report to follow...
Tuesday 2nd August - T&MU 1-4 Kingstonian
Tooting completed their pre season programme with a 4-1 defeat against new tenants Kingstonian. Jordan Clarke was our scorer with a spot kick.
Lineup: Shaw; Krokhin, Walters-Wright, Kirlew-Wright; Baye, Clarke, Trialist, Domingo-Carrington, Edwards; M'Bango, Ako-Adjei.
Subs: Macfoy-Johnston, Dembele, Daniel, Trialist, Bassett, Ceesay, Moco, Bangura-Williams.
Match report to follow...
Saturday 6th August - Cobham 0-3 T&MU
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
The serious business got underway at Cobham’s
delightful Leg O’Mutton Field, and the Terrors eased
into the next round of the World’s Greatest Knockout
Competition with a comprehensive win against their
Combined Counties League opponents.
This was a solid display from back-to-front, as a
commanding James Shaw took everything that got
near him, at least any balls that had got past the towering Nikolai Krokhin who had assumed such superiority that his job title for the afternoon should have been ‘Air Traffic Controller’.
Marshalled superbly by club vice-captain Cory Walters-Wright - assuming the full mantle today, in the absence of the suspended Nathan Daly - the visitors grew in confidence as the first half progressed, and carved out the first half chance after a quarter of an hour, when the lively Baye Ndiaye dispossessed his opposite number and set Eddie M’Bango away with a run on goal. As a covering defender looked hesitant, Eddie weighed up his options and looked to set himself for a shot but another defender made up the ground to deflect the ball out for a corner.
Shamal Edwards was growing in confidence, and a partnership with Jordan Clarke that looked to be blooming towards the end of last season was beginning to bear fruit again. A through ball over the top was picked up by M’Bango, who bore down on goal. As he reached the edge of the penalty area, the home keeper had come out to meet him but Eddie deftly flicked the ball past him, and time seemed to slow down as it trickled towards goal; a Cobham defender had got back and just managed to skew it off the line for a corner, but at
some personal cost to himself as he collided somewhat painfully with the goalpost. After treatment, he was able to resume his duties, and the corner came to nothing but it didn’t take long for Tooting to break the deadlock - and when the goal came it was an early contender for ‘Goal of the Season’.
Shamal seized on a loose pass in midfield, and drove toward the left-hand edge of the area; as his marker backed off, he cut back inside, set himself for a curler and executed the prefect drive of power and direction, and the ball sailed over the helpless keeper’s head to nestle in the back of the net. It was reminiscent of Shamal’s goal at Chalfont St. Peter toward the end of last season and, in terms of team confidence, could prove just as important. Tooting dominated the remainder of the half, and a second goal would have been just reward for their efforts; Jordan Clarke came closest, after a ball was cut back across the penalty area by Ajani Domingo-Carrington, it pinballed around and Jordan took a step before firing a shot in. The keeper - perhaps obscured by the multitude of bodies in front of him - fumbled it, lost it, but just managed to drop on it before a Terrors’ attacker could seize on the loose ball.
HT : Cobham 0 T&MU 1
Proceedings had barely restarted before the Terrors had doubled their advantage. Right at the start of the second period, Jordan Clarke powered his way into the Cobham half, slipped an incisive pass through, and Ayman Dahdouh lashed it into the roof of the net from close range. Tails were up, Cobham heads went down, and - with one foot and nine toes in the next round - it began to look as if we could relax and enjoy forty-five minutes of football for a change.
Eddie M’Bango came close to extending the lead after nice work by Dahdouh down the left. He pulled the ball back across, Eddie sidestepped his marker nicely, but couldn’t get the power he’d have liked in the shot and the keeper safely gathered. As the game entered the final stages, Eddie had another chance to wrap things up, but once again the keeper was equal to his effort; then Shamal Edwards terrorised the home defence once again, and fired a low ball across the box which caused confusion, before the Hammers were able to hack it away.
We finally put the icing on the cake five minutes from the end, with a nicely worked move; Pedro Moco slipped a free-kick down the left channel, Shamal took it on and then cut back inside before sending over a perfectly flighted cross on to the head of substitute Enoch Ako-Adjei who deftly flicked it into the net to send the travelling fans into raptures.
Line Up: Shaw; Walters-Wright, Kirlew-Wright, Krokhin; Domingo-Carrington, Moco, Ndiaye (Chang 88), Dahdouh, Edwards; M'Bango (Dembele 88), Clarke (Ako-Adjei 58).
Subs: Ako-Adjei, Dembele, Daniel, Bassett, Ceesay, Chang, Manley.
Report by Ed Partlett (With an assist by James Tingley)
Saturday 13th August - Northwood 3-2 T&MU
A bright start ended up counting for nothing as
Northwood took the points on opening day amidst
a sweltering heat.
Just three minutes had gone, and many of the
travelling faithful were still taking up their positions, when Enoch Ako-Adjei picked up a through pass and unleashed a ferocious effort from outside the box that curled away from the stretching keeper to give us the lead.
Northwood had a chance of a quick reply, but Sydney Ibie couldn’t take advantage of slack marking and headed over the crossbar.
The visitors seemed to be growing in confidence when Shamal Edwards went on a mazy run, terrific footwork taking him past three defenders but it was asking too much to beat a fourth and he was dispossessed without being able to get a shot in.
On fifteen minutes it was Shamal again who tried a speculative cross-shot, but the back-pedalling keeper was able to get to it and tipped it out for a corner.
Just before the half-hour, the hosts were back on terms when a long throw caused confusion in the box and Ibie, this time, was able to poke the loose ball home.
And they led at the break thanks to a fortuitous penalty decision, Ronan Hutchins was bundled over in the box and Ibie stepped up to lash home his second, sending James Shaw the wrong way.
HT : Northwood 2 T&MU 1
We came out of the blocks quickly at the start of the second period, another run by Edwards caused panic, but his shot was blocked; Enoch retrieved the loose ball and lofted it back in, Eddie M’Bango took it down nicely but dragged his shot just wide of the far post.
It didn’t take long for the Terrors to get back on terms though, a nice touch by Eddie set Ajani Domingo-Carrington away down the right - he side-stepped his man and fired across the box for Ayman Dahdouh to drive home his second in successive weeks and it was 2-2.
We went to the sleep from the re-start, however, and Brandon Kalu’s cross was mis-judged by Shaw allowing Ronan Hutchins to stoop at the far post and guide his header in.
It developed into an open match thereafter, and either side could have added to the goals tally; Shaw atoned for his earlier mistake by saving point blank from Ibie, looking for his hat-trick; 4-2 and the game could have been over there and then.
A quick free-kick sent Mamadou Jallow away down the right, he got to the byline and cut the ball back for Jordan Clarke to run onto, but his curling effort was deflected away for a corner.
Eddie M’Bango had another chance, but his close-range shot was too close to the keeper. It still felt there was something there for Tooting, however, as the game entered the final minutes and, but for a tremendous save, we would have been travelling back to south London with our first point on the board; after a goalmouth scramble, the ball fell to Clarke on the edge of the box, and his curling effort looked to be heading for the top corner when keeper Andrew McCorkell somehow managed to defy gravity to get enough on it to tip the ball over for a corner. World class moments don’t happen in Northwood, but it was a save that certainly wouldn’t have been out of place several levels higher and it was enough to deny the Terrors at the death on a frustrating afternoon.
T&MU : Shaw, Domingo-Carrington, Edwards (Jallow 58”), Walters-Wright, Krokhin, Kirklew-Wright, Dahdouh (Akinnibi 72”), Moco, M’;Bango, Ndiaye, Ako-Adjei (Clarke 60”)
SUBS NOT USED : Bassett, Chang.
Attendance : 154
Report - Ed Parlett
Tuesday 16th August - T&MU 0-0 Merstham
The opening home game of the season developed into a cagey affair - with both sides defending deep and keeping a tight defensive shape, it was probably no surprise that the match finished goalless.
Merstham, relegated from the Isthmian Premier last time around, are one of the promotion favourites but after a humbling opening day defeat at home, were determined to leave Imperial Fields with at least a point - which they managed after a dour affair.
Spurred on by a good midweek crowd, it was the Terrors who made most of the early running. In-form Enoch Ako-Adjei was put clear by a through ball out of defence, outpaced his marker, and drove in a cross-shot from a difficult angle that flashed wide of the target.
Eddie M'bango also looked lively early on, and was bundled over by two visiting defenders which may have resulted in a spot-kick from another referee but the official on this evening deemed it a fair challenge.
Eddie made another surging run down the right, several minutes later but his cut-back into the area was crowded out for a corner.
Then he was away again, set free by Enoch after he'd seized on a loose ball. Eddie got to the byline but nobody had anticipated the break and his cross flashed across the six-yard box without anybody challenging for the hosts.
Eddie escaped down the opposite flank just before the break, played a nice one-two with Jordan Clarke who was closed down by the Merstham defence - the ball was cleared out to Pedro Moco who tried his luck from distance, but just cleared the bar.
HT : T&MU 0 Merstham 0
As the second half progressed, chances became fewer with neither side prepared to risk compromising themselves at the back, although a speculative cross-shot from the visitors that nestled in the side-netting was perhaps the closest they had come all night.
A nice turn by Ayman Dahdouh in the midfield enabled him to release Enoch but he was crowded out by two defenders before being able to set himself for a shot.
Cory Walters-Wright was another to try a long-range effort but didn't threaten Joe Ringer in the Merstham goal, and it looked like the match was petering out when the visitors almost nicked it at the death; a promising move down the left culminated in Lorenzo Lewis finding himself in the penalty box with the ball at his feet, he let it run across him and then hit a powerful drive which cannoned back off the angle of post and bar and left us breathing a huge sigh of relief, as the final whistle went shortly afterward.
T&MU : Shaw, Domingo-Carrington, Jallow (sub : Edwards 83"), Moco, Walters-Wright, Kirlew-Wright, Dahdouh, Ndiaye, M'Bango, Clarke (sub : Chang 68"), Ako-Adjei (sub : Akinnibi 89").
SUBS NOT USED : Cole, Bassett.
Attendance : 211
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 20th August - T&MU 1-2 VCD Athletic
It was another disappointing early exit from the FA Cup as VCD poached a last minute winner after a fairly even encounter looked to be heading back to north Kent for a Tuesday night replay.
We had looked enterprising early on, a first minute move saw Shamal Edwards slip a ball through the left-hand channel, and Ayman Dahdouh take it on before crossing it back into the box where Baye Ndiaye challenged for it in the air, but was questionably penalised.
The left side was looking fruitful as Mo Jallow got away and powered past two men before being crowded out near the touchline as he tried to square it back across.
Shamal then made a challenge to win a loose ball and send Jordan Clarke away but his shot from distance arrowed away from danger and dropped harmlessly wide.
A breakthrough looked imminent, but when it came minutes later, it was our visitors who found themselves with the advantage; Youssef Bamba made a surging run down the right and fired in a shot which James Shaw did well to parry, but unfortunately the ball fell to Anthony Adesite who impressively angled a diving header into the net.
Spurred on by this, VCD could have made it two shortly after, though had they done so the Assistant Referee may have had a question or two to answer as he seemed to ignore the fact that the ball looked to have clearly gone behind the right touchline during the build-up. Nevertheless, a cross was fired in and Adesite got his head to the ball just before the advancing Shaw, but couldn't direct it on target this time and saw it bounce wide of the target.
There was a nice break out of defence by the Terrors, and a sweeping move upfield that saw Jordan and Shamal gelling nicely, before Shamal cut the ball back for Clarke, whose shot was deflected wide for a corner.
On the half-hour, Enoch Ako-Adjei gathered a ball in midfield, and tried to power his way into the box but was unceremoniously cut down just outside. Jordan Clarke stepped up to take the free-kick, and drilled it low to the keeper's left to bring us, deservedly, on terms.
Just before the break, VCD threatened again after a free-kick caused confusion in the home penalty area; as it fell to an attacker, Shaw looked unsighted but did well to recover his bearings and tip the ball over the bar.
HT : T&MU 1 VCD Athletic 1
Shaw had to be alert again early in the second half to block a shot with his legs, but as the game wore on it looked less likely to be decided at the first time of asking. The hosts were enjoying the bulk of possession but VCD were keeping their shape and chances were at a premium now. However, with the clock ticking down, VCD were awarded a free-kick on the left-hand side, the ball was floated over and Joe Tennent found himself unmarked as he headed in the visitors' second of the afternoon, leaving us with very little time to reply.
Substitute Anuar Ceesay did look lively, and he slipped fellow sub Eddie M'Bango away down the right; his cross back into the danger zone almost found Enoch running on to it but George Kamurasi in the VCD goal read it well and snuffed out the danger.
Indeed, as we committed everybody forward in a last-ditch attempt at parity, VCD almost broke away to add a third at the death but an unmarked attacker was unable to find the target and put his header over. The damage had already been done, though, and hopes of glory in the famous old competition had gone for another year.
T&MU : Shaw, Domingo-Carrington, Jallow (sub : M'Bango 54"), Chang (sub : Bassett 78"), Walters-Wright, Kirlew-Wright, Ndiaye, Dahdouh (sub : Ceesay 63"), Edwards, Clarke, Ako-Adjei.
Subs not used : Akinnibi, Dembele, Cole.
Attendance : 254
Report : Ed Parlett.
Saturday 27th August - T&MU 0-1 Marlow
We were left without a win in three league outings as Marlow scored the only goal of a tempestuous affair right at the start of the second period to steal the points.
It had been an intriguing opening to the game; our visitors had the first half-chance when a free-kick was awarded on the edge of the penalty area, but Tristan Campbell’s deflected effort sailed over the bar.
Nikolai Krokhin’s height and long throws were destined to cause problems for Marlow all afternoon, and from one of the latter Jordan Clarke challenged and won the ball well in the air, before setting Eddy M’Bango away for a break down the right. Deft footwork took him past the covering defender and his cross-shot into the box was fumbled by keeper Aaron Watkins, who managed to fall on it at the second attempt as Baye Ndiaye sniffed around him hoping to capitalise on anything loose.
A poor clearance from Krokhin was then picked up by Benjamin Mulley who fed Chris Chapple but with team mates descending on the box, Chapple elected to try his luck from an acute angle and didn’t trouble James Shaw.
It was an open game at this point, and developing nicely when, after what looked a 50/50 challenge in the middle of the park, referee Elliott Spencer saw fit to not only penalise us with the award of a free-kick to our visitors, he doubled the punishment by brandishing a red-card to Leevi Bassett to the astonishment of most in the ground.
As we attempted to gather ourselves, David Rogalski engaged Pedro Moco in a foot race for a long ball, with the Marlow man coming out on top and driving a shot goalward which Shaw did well to block with his legs.
Pedro atoned shortly after by winning a loose ball in midfield and then set Eddy away down the middle but the big man struggled to get the ball under proper control and a defender was able to get a foot in and clear.
Despite the deficiency in numbers, we were beginning to get on top of things and with Krokhin causing more panic with a long throw, the ball bobbled around as if it were in a pinball machine before Baye showed nice feet to get to the byline but his attempt at a cross was blocked out for a corner.
From the kick, Shamal Edwards received it short and then slalomed into the box where he twisted, turned and floated the ball over towards the far post but Nikolai’s header looped onto the roof of the net.
There was a lengthy stoppage as a Tooting player received treatment after being flattened; Mr. Spencer’s decision not to take any action led to an enquiry as to why from Jordan Clarke - and all he received for his query was a yellow card of his own!
As half-time approached, another Nikolai long-throw dive bombed into the six yard box and it was very nearly an own goal as Curtis Ujah headed against his own man, Alexander Salmon and the ball skewed just wide of the post.
HT : T&MU 0 Marlow 0
The second half got away with Marlow driving forward and forcing a corner, the Tooting defence were unable to clear the danger and it was headed back across goal for Curtis Ujah to net with a firm header at the far post.
Having broken the deadlock, and with a man advantage, the onus was on Marlow to press on and make the game safe, but they were unable to do so as a determined Terrors side began to surge forward as if they had the numerical advantage.
Mo Jallow was starting to become a major force down the left flank, and he did well to hold the ball up against three players, before looping a cross over to the far post where Eddy M’Bango was crowded out - the legality of this was borderline - by two players, allowing Watkins to gather.
Jallow broke again moments later and drove the ball into the side netting and it was starting to look as if an equaliser was imminent.
We changed things round as Pedro departed for Malachai Cole, Kareem Akinnibi replaced Nikolai, and Antonio Dembele came on for Baye and two of the substitutes very nearly combined for a deserved goal as Kareem danced past two defenders on the edge of the box and then squared it to Antonio whose well-struck shot looked to be heading low into the bottom corner but a deflection took it just past the post.
The last chance came and went when a free-kick was slipped down the right, Jaiden Chang crossed the ball in and Kareem, on the volley and from a difficult angle, could only send his effort wide.
It was a commendable effort under difficult circumstances, but three more points had fallen by the wayside and a difficult trip to Guernsey awaited.
T&MU : Shaw, Edwards, Jallow, Krokhin (Akinnibi 79”), Chang, Kirlew-Wright, Ndiaye (Dembele 72”), Moco (Cole 64”), M’Bango, Bassett (S/O), Clarke.
SUBS NOT USED : Walters-Wright, Ceesay
Attendance : 158
Report : Ed Parlett.
Monday 29th August - Guernsey 0-2 T&MU
Tooting finally racked up their first victory of the season with a fine victory on Bank Holiday Monday to raise spirits in the camp no end.
The Terrors started the game in the best possible fashion. Inside the first 90 seconds, a long ball from the edge of the Tooting defence to the right flank, some good play resulted in a cross to Enoch on the edge of the box who was immediately hacked to the ground giving the referee no option but to point to the spot.
Tooting’s recent penalty record goes without saying but Enoch settled any nerves by confidently smashing the ball to the keeper’s right, sending him the wrong way.
Guernsey arguably had the majority of the possession thereafter and attempted to play the game in style with good build-up play from the back. Tooting did well to nullify any pressure with a stronger physical presence. The Guernsey number 3, Thomas Dodds, was particularly impressive, showing a constant presence.
It took 8 minutes for Guernsey to have their first attempt at goal with a long throw from the right evading the Tooting back line and being headed 2 yards over James Shaw’s goal. 2 minutes later, a long ball over the top reached the Guernsey number 9, Sam Murray, only for his shot to be comfortably saved by James Shaw who had a very solid game between the sticks that inspired confidence throughout his team-mates.
3 minutes later and a heavy aerial challenge between Thomas Vaudin and Baye Ndiaye resulted in Baye requiring medical treatment but was back on the pitch moments later. No chants of ‘Bruno and his magic sponge’ to be heard today!
20 minutes in and Guernsey were growing further into the game having the majority of the possession but unable to create any clear-cut opportunities. Shamal Edwards made his presence known in no uncertain terms to the Guernsey left flank with a superb perfectly timed tackle to clear the ball out for a throw-in. Most of Guernsey’s better attacking play came from the left flank with the link-up play between Robbie Legg and Ross Allen creating a few difficulties. Most of the crosses coming in did not find a green shirt and the Tooting defence reacted well to release any pressure. Mo Jallow was having a fine game, not often putting a foot wrong.
Guernsey became frustrated with their own lack of ability to create anything in front of goal, and the game became scrappier with both teams losing possession cheaply.
Shaw went down after collecting the ball amid pressure from a Guernsey player but it was unclear whether any contact was malicious and no caution was given.
The next passage of creative play came in the 30th minute when a brilliant through-ball to Eddy M’Bango left him one-on-one with the keeper . Ed will probably wish he’d taken a shot on goal as his decision to go round the keeper only gave the Guernsey defence the opportunity to clear the danger. A gilt-edged chance to go 2-0 up went begging, but Ed would make up for it in the dying minutes of the game.
3 minutes later some sloppy defending in the Terror’s back line gifted the ball to Guernsey only for a shot to go well wide of James Shaw’s goal; Shaw had so far not had a save of note to make.
On 36 minutes, Shaw did have to be alert to a wicked deflected shot from outside the box to retrieve the ball down to his left hand side. The deflection took the power out of the shot but James did well to be alert to it.
Very shortly after, there would have been nothing he could do as a cross from the right eluded everyone and would certainly have gone in had it been on target. Luckily it bounced off the crossbar and away to safety. That was a let-off but would have been a fluke if scored.
HT : Guernsey 0 T&MU 1
Guernsey certainly began the second period as the better team, and enjoyed plenty of possession in the Tooting half = both full-backs had to be alert to avert any threats.
A strong challenge by Kieron Mahon deservedly earned a yellow card from the referee, who controlled the game well for the majority with quick and decisive decisions.
Tooting’s first shot of the second half came from Jallow whose rocket of a 30 yard strike was tipped over by Josh Addison.
Guernsey were still enjoying the majority of the possession and it was good work down the left-hand side which resulted in a cross hitting the post and going behind for a goal-kick. This posed no threat as Shaw would have picked the ball up had the ball travelled inside the post. Guernsey were certainly still well in this game.
On 60 minutes, Guernsey’s best chance of the afternoon was blazed over the bar. Shaw was a delighted spectator but the home fans were mortified that the shot didn’t at least hit the target!
5 minutes later a loud shout for a Guernsey penalty was turned down. Moments later a Guernsey official showed us a picture going round social media that showed the ball at least 1 millimetre from Kynan’s hand (wink).
It soon dawned on us that this was going to be Tooting’s day. We heard later how much of an ordeal it had been for the players getting here so it looked like this element of luck was deserved by the team, especially given the early season results not going their way and being short of luck on a number of occasions.
On 72 minutes, some great workrate and strength by Eddy M’Bango under pressure from surrounding defenders earned his team a free-kick. 30 yards out, and to the right of the target, Shamal Edwards showed confidence to go for goal but it drifted well wide.
2 minutes later, a corner from Guernsey fell to an unmarked player who, astonishingly, managed to head the ball wide of Shaw’s right hand post when it looked easier to score. Guernsey’s wastefulness in front of goal was to cost them dearly but they were still showing plenty of determination to find the equaliser. Had this gone in, Guernsey would certainly have been favourites going into the last 15 minutes of the game.
A minute later, Shaw made another routine save and stayed down. Was there some gamesmanship going on here? So claimed a few locals who were growing despondent with the Terror’s keeper. James was booked for time-wasting which led to some back and forth on Twitter which I will leave to your imagination!
Enoch was working hard to lead the line for Tooting and won a corner after good play down the left-hand side. It was a wise decision to substitute him for Ayman Dahdouh on 82 minutes - his job was done for the day.
The crucial second goal arrived on 85 minutes. A ball forward was held up by Antonio Dembele who unselfishly set up Eddy M’Bango a few yards to his right. A fierce shot took a slight deflection on its way into the net leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. The 3 points were now certainly going back to south London - Eddy’s goal was well deserved for his efforts.
Guernsey had a late spell of pressure with a shot going well wide, but their day was done and the Tooting defence held firm in the closing stages for a well deserved victory.
Overall, it must be noted that the team showed grit and determination to win given the challenging circumstances. Who knows what they can achieve over the course of the season? But this was certainly a sign of progress in the right direction.
Up the stripes!
T&MU : Shaw, Edwards, Jallow, Walters-Wright, Kirlew-Wright, Chang, Ndiaye, Moco (Cole 70”), M’Bango, Dembele, Ako-Adjei (Dahdouh 83”).
SUBS NOT USED : Hart, Akinnibi, Ceesay.
Attendance : 625 (2 away!)
Report : Paul Dennis & Dom Betts.
Tuesday 13th September - T&MU 0-0 Corinthian
FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round
Tooting's interest in the major knockout competitions came to an end on a disappointing evening as Isthmian South-East side Corinthian marked the first competitive meeting between the two sides with triumph on penalty kicks after a goalless draw.
In a match postponed for 72 hours by the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a downpour and the short notice alteration of the fixture resulted in a crowd of only 83, but those who were inside Imperial Fields did at least see an entertaining game, despite the lack of goals.
It was the visitors who burst out of the blocks, and James Shaw had to be alert in the first minute to block a shot on the end of a flowing move. A few minutes later the sighs of relief amongst the home fans were even greater as Daniel Pepple crossed dangerously and Jack Beerling looked certain to score, but blazed his effort over the bar.
The Terrors began to get their eye in, and the ever-dangerous Mo Jallow began to look dangerous on the left; he sidestepped two defenders but was chopped down by a third with the referee deeming the free-kick to be punishment enough, and refrained from issuing any kind of card.
The free-kick was taken quickly, and released Mo down the left again where his driven cross-shot was deflected behind.
Ayman Dahdouh was the next to get away threateningly, and drove into the box where he might have shot for goal, but unselfishly squared the ball allowing a defender to get back and clear.
Some more good work by Jallow saw him twist, turn, and burst clear of his marker. He made space for the cross, but over-hit it with players advancing and another half-chance had come to nothing.
A promising move by Corinthian looked as if it could be dangerous, but Nikolai Krokhin did well to get a foot in and break up the attack, giving the visitors a corner. This was floated dangerously toward the far post where Ahmed Salim Futa stooped to get his head on the ball but could only guide it wide.
Shamal Edwards was beginning to play his way into the game, and he broke down the right, and squared for the advancing Eddy M'Bango whose shot was firm, but keeper Daniel Colmer gathered it at the second attempt.
Debutant Kie Douglas was showing up well; the former Crystal Palace junior showed poise and seemed to have a little more time on the ball than most. He was also slipping through a few eye-catching passes, from one of which Jordan Clarke shot wide.
Douglas then broke up a Corinthian attack by winning the ball well in the centre-circle, and fed Shamal who advanced down the right flank but his cross was cut out for a corner, from which a melee developed in the six yard box; Eddy retrieved the loose ball and shot for goal but a Corinthian defender superbly headed off the line when it looked a certain goal.
The second period began with Baye Ndiaye working the ball nicely with Douglas, Baye crossing for Clarke who fired wide once again.
Having been driven back for long periods, Corinthian found a second wind and started to manufacture chances of their own again - from one such move a long cross from the right was headed back across goal and wide.
The game became stretched, with both sides forced into shooting from range. James Shaw was untroubled in the home goal, but Mo Jallow on a couple of occasions and Shamal Edwards late on both nearly averted the need for spot kicks with their attempts which went narrowly wide.
Penalties it was though, and after the first two were despatched by Harry Sargent and Mo Jallow, Corinthian blinked first as captain James Billings sent his kick sailing over the bar to give the Terrors the advantage. Malachai Cole impressively put his away, as did ex-Terror Andre Fearon for the visitors before Shamal stepped up looking to maintain the advantage. He did - just about, as Colmer got plenty on the ball but couldn't quite keep it out. Sub Festos Kamara netted for Corinthian before Terrors skipper Nathan Daly drove his effort against the bar and it was back to even again - 3-3, with each side missing one.
Ahmed Salim Futa netted via the crossbar, then sub Enoch Ako-Adjei calmly slotted his home. 4-4, and we moved into the dreaded sudden death.
Daniel Lopes confidently struck home for Corinthian, as did Nikolai Krokhin for the hosts - five apiece.
Oliver Box made it 6-5, then Kynan Kirlew-Wright drove home for six all.
Isaiah Daniel converted his effort but just when it looked as if the shootout would run and run, sub Kareem Akinnibi failed with our eighth attempt and Corinthian duly moved into the next round, leaving us to lick our wounds and depart the Trophy for another year.
T&MU : Shaw, Edwards, Jallow, Krokhin, Daly, Kirlew-Wright, Ndiaye, Douglas (Akinnibi 73"), M'Bango, Dahdouh (Cole 53"), Clarke (AKo-Adjei 67").
Subs not used : Walters-Wright, Campbell, Moco, Domingo-Carrington.
Attendance : 83
Saturday 17th September - Southall 1-1 T&MU
Honours even was probably a fair reflection of the play on a bright, breezy afternoon at Southall's adopted home of Ashford Town FC.
We had the bulk of the possession, and put together some pleasing moves at times, but Southall had the better chances and threatened to nick it on a couple of occasions late on - it was the sort of match we would have almost certainly lost last season.
After a cagey opening, the Terrors started to assert themselves - with Anuar Ceesay looking particularly lively in attack. He displayed some nice feet to take the ball to the outskirts of the area, but his crossed square ball was well read by a defender and cleared before Eddy M'Bango could threaten.
Jordan Clarke was looking up for it early on; firstly he drove wide from distance, then played a great through ball which bisected the Southall defence, and found Mo Jallow advancing on the right side of the box. He side-stepped his man neatly, and tried to cut the ball back to Baye Ndiaye who was advancing but Ben Tricker read the move and cleared.
Just past the quarter-hour, we won a corner which Jordan Clarke floated into the danger zone; centre-half Kynan Kirlew-Wright got a firm header on the ball but couldn't direct it on target and headed over the bar. We were looking much the more threatening at this point.
A long ball out of defence was seized upon by Eddy M'Bango; he advanced to the edge of the area where keeper Michael Edegbe had come to meet him. As Eddy tried to flick the ball over him, the keeper instinctively threw up his arms and deflected it away. There was no question he was just outside his area, but the referee gave him a generous benefit of the doubt, indicated the chest was used (dubious!) and waved play on.
A similar ball several minutes later set Eddy away again. He used his pace and strength to outpace his marker and - perhaps cautious after his earlier misdemeanour - Edegbe this time stayed on his line. Eddy had a great opportunity but lost his composure, driving the chance over the target.
A goal looked imminent - and it was. But when it arrived, it was scored by the hosts. Somewhat against the run of play, they put together a nice passing movement which resulted in a cross driven low across the six yard box where Luke Heneghan drove the ball home. James Shaw got a hand to the ball, but couldn't keep it out.
The response was good, despite what must have been a sense of injustice having dominated most of the action, and a chance to get on terms was worked almost immediately from the restart. Anuar played a lovely ball through for Eddy to run on to; he struck firmly and accurately from a difficult angle, Edegbe fumbled the ball but held it at the second attempt.
We were on terms in the last minute of the half. A flowing move saw the ball lifted into the box, where Eddy headed it down to Anuar. Harrassed by his marker, Anuar was unable to get it under control but showed good initiative to poke it out towards Pedro Moco, who took it on into the area where he was chopped down. As the travelling fans bayed for a penalty, Jordan Clarke kept the coolest head on the field to seize onto the loose ball and place it calmly past Edegbe for 1-1.
HT : Southall 1 T&MU 1
Southall tightened up their defence at the start of second period, perhaps mindful of how many chances had been created against them. Whilst this was effective from the point of view of restricting our opportunities, it was detrimental to the flow of what had been an open and entertaining game and as the match progressed, it became more of an attritional scrap which, perhaps, suited the hosts better.
Their intentions were clear, as almost every time we threatened to break away - moves which had proved quite fruitful to this point - our attacks were snuffed out by fair means or foul; with the referee seemingly content to deal leniently with some of their more robust tactics, although three home players did end up in his notebook against only one of ours.
Eddy was flattened more than once as he tried to advance on to through balls, a nice link up between Anuar Ceesay, Shamal Edwards and Pedro Moco was snuffed out by three defenders converging on Pedro as he attempted to engineer a shooting chance.
We did try to keep our composure, and work chances accordingly; some good work by Shamal Edwards bamboozled his marker, who cut him down but the ball had squeezed out to Eddy and the advantage was justified. Once again, he couldn't get his shot on target though, and drove it wide of goal.
We made changes, with Antonio Dembele replacing Eddy and Kie Douglas coming on for Pedro, and it was the former who engineered the next chance, Antonio setting Jordan away down the left, but their sub Frankie Taylor read the danger and cleared into touch.
With five minutes left, the hosts best move of the afternoon saw Lenny Farhall put clear. He outpaced the Terrors' covering defenders but with just Shaw to beat, let us off the hook by driving well wide. This gave them confidence and Mo Jallow had to be alert several minutes later to get a crucial foot in and prevent a chance falling to Anthony O'Connor.
The game was suddenly opening up again, with the final whistle looming, and Shamal Edwards' driving run into the box was unceremoniously ended by a clumsy (at best) challenge, but having been in a lenient mood all afternoon, it was unlikely the referee was going to change his habits at this late stage.
T&MU : Shaw, Edwards, Jallow, Walters-Wright, Daly, Kirlew-Wright, Ndiaye, Moco (Douglas 79"), M'Bango (Dembele 77"), Dahdouh (Ako-Adjei 85"), Clarke.
Subs not used : Krokhin, Cole
Attendance : 83
Tuesday 20th September - T&MU 0-3 Hanworth Villa
On paper a shocking result, on a miserable night at Imperial Fields, though the scoreline doesn't tell the whole story and perhaps flatters our visitors a little. There was no doubt that Hanworth, coming off a 3-0 win at league leaders Northwood in the FA Trophy, deserved the points but having conceded two early goals, the shellshocked Terrors dug in and attempted to make a fight of it - and with a little more luck would have been on the scoresheet at least.
Just six minutes had been played when the aptly named Tom Bender curled in a free-kick to give the visitors the lead, and it looked like a long night ahead when Jonathan Hippolyte's cross-cum shot deceived James Shaw and dropped in at the far post three minutes later.
Perhaps the two-goal burst enabled Hanworth to sit back a bit, but we did at least start to get feet in where it mattered and start creating attacks of our own. Eddy M'Bango's run to the touchline saw him cut the ball back to Shamal Edwards but his shot was deflected wide.
From a corner, Cory Walters-Wright headed direct at keeper Terry Buss, when perhaps either side of him might have yielded better results; Mo Jallow shot wide after picking up a long throw from Nikolai Krokhin and driving from distance.
Mo switched flanks to the left, and began to cause some confusion in the visiting defence; a run to the byline resulted in a cut back to Enoch Ako-Adjei but his effort under pressure from a defender was skewed wide.
Shamal Edwards set Jordan Clarke through, but he slashed his effort wide when he might have had a bit more time to compose himself, and Enoch was again crowded out by two defenders when he tried to get on the end of Shamal's run and low cross.
Keeper Buss went down rather easily as we fashioned our next attack; he was still down as Shamal played the ball back into the corridor of uncertainty but as Eddy gathered, the whistle went so treatment could be administered. Buss recovered rather quickly but another chance had been snuffed out.
Still half chances came, as the game moved into the second period; a corner was driven in low leading to a melee in the box. As bodies converged, Enoch attempted to poke the ball goalwards but a defender deflected it wide for another corner. Then Eddy broke clear and surged past his marker but was charged with assault just as he was shaping for a shot. Half-hearted appeals for a penalty were heard shortly after as Enoch was bundled over, but I don't think anybody was seriously expecting any favours from Mr. Bolland, the referee.
Perhaps the best move of the evening, certainly by the home side, saw Shamal Edwards embark on one of his trademark runs, slalom past a couple of covering defenders and cut in from the right. He played the ball across the edge of the box to Jordan Clarke but his measured effort dropped just wide of the far post.
Our last chance to make a game of it saw Mo advance to the byline again, where his cross-shot troubled Buss who punched across his goal. As sub Antonio Dembele moved in at the far post, defender Tom Scott beat him to the loose ball and cleared out for a throw.
Our frustrations were compounded four minutes from time when Sam Merson touched home unchallenged to put the seal on a forgettable evening, as discontent arose from some corners of the home support.
T&MU : Shaw, Edwards, Jallow, Walters-Wright, Daly, Krokhin, Douglas, Ndiaye (Dahdouh 73"), M'Bango (Ceesay 59"), Ako-Adjei (Dembele 55"), Clarke.
Subs not used : Kirlew-Wright, Bambory.
Attendance : 154
All reports by Ed Parlett
Saturday 1st October - T&MU 1-1 South Park (Reigate)
Imperial Fields welcomed some of the greats from the past, to celebrate the launch of Jeff Brooks' new book ('the Tooting Terrors in the Seventies'), but much of the football on display did not do justice to the heroics of the likes of Messrs Cobb, Juneman and Ives as their modern-day incarnations laboured to an uninspiring stalemate.
Perhaps the result itself should not have been too much of a surprise - this was the third time in succession that a visit from South Park has ended one apiece - but the best that can be said about the afternoon is that at least a half-time deficit was overcome, and defeat averted; however, the bare facts are it was a fourth home league match of the season without a win (six in all competitions), and Edd M'Bango's second half equaliser was the first time we have registered a league goal on our own territory this campaign - miserable stats indeed.
South Park were compact, held their shape well and defended with discipline; but should have been opposition we were capable of overcoming if we're going to make any progress in this division. The team were freshened up by a few new signings and the return of Alex Filipe was certainly welcomed alongside Tayo Oyebola (starting) and Harvey Browne (on the bench).
Tayo looked lively early on, and Filipe carved out the first half chance when his cross-cum shot from the left caught on the wind and had to be tipped over by a back-pedalling Zak Basey in the visitor’s goal.
Tooting kept up the early pressure and Edd M'Bango flashed a ball across the six yard box that caused some confusion as a number of players went for it leaving Basey down in a heap and the ball running loose to a well-placed Jordan Clarke; as he shaped to shoot, the whistle was blown with Basey still grounded. He got up rather quickly after the briefest treatment, and play resumed with a drop-ball on the edge of the box to much consternation from the home support.
South Park hadn’t really shown much in attack, but took the lead on the half-hour when Ryan Healey’s diagonal pass wasn’t dealt with and Ethan Ford steered the ball past James Shaw.
The Terrors forced a series of corners as the half drew to a close, and came close when Cory Walters-Wright headed toward goal but Basey touched it over leaving us trailing at the break.
There was much huffing and puffing as the second half progressed, but no real cutting edge from either side and it was something of a surprise when a long ball drifted towards the far post and Edd M’Bango, almost on the goal-line, managed to direct his header in for the equaliser.
Neither side really looked likely to win it after that, although a nice move between Edd and substitute Anuar Ceesay almost led to a winner, but the latter could only drive wide from a tight angle after a nice one-two; perhaps another pass might have yielded more but with time running out, that was the final action of a disappointing ninety minutes.
T&MU : Shaw, Edwards (Jallow 45”), Filipe (Browne 76”), Walters-Wright, Daly, Kirlew-Wright, Douglas (Ceesay 80”), Ndiaye, Oyebola, M’Bango, Clarke.
Subs Not Used : Krokhin, Moco.
Attendance : 205
Report : Ed Parlett
Wednesday 5th October - Sevenoaks Town 2-1 T&MU
Velocity Trophy 1st Round
Another knockout competition fell by the wayside as we departed the Velocity Cup on a chilly night in Kent. With several first team regulars unavailable, it was an opportunity for some of the youngsters to impress and, despite the result, one or two of them did just that.
Jet Harris made his senior debut in goal, and showed potential. He was called into action early on, flicking away a shot from Yahaya Bamba who had sidestepped Ajani Domingo-Carrington to create the chance.
Jet was unlucky to be left exposed in the tenth minute, when Freddie Parker took advantage of some lax marking to open the scoring with a drive across the keeper from the right hand edge of the box.
Tooting went on the attack, looking for a quick equaliser, and the host's keeper, Reginald Rose, looked nervy as good pressure from Edd M'Bango led to him rushing an attempted clearance. Harvey Browne, making his first Terror's start, did well to kill the loose ball, but shot well wide as he turned.
Some good hustling of the home defence by Anuar Ceesay led to him engineering a half-chance, but from a difficult angle, he could only find the side netting.
Alex Filipe went on a lung-bursting run down the left flank, and left a couple of home defenders in his wake before firing in a great cross. A defender just about managed to hook it away as Edd pressured again, but the ball fell to Baye Ndiaye on the edge of the box. His shot was deflected into the grateful arms of the keeper but we were beginning to look worthy of an equaliser at this stage.
Sensing this, Sevenoaks stepped up their own efforts, and Jet was called into action again when a mix-up at the back led to Parker's close-range effort which Harris did well to block.
There wasn't much he could do just past the half-hour, though, as ex-Terror Omari Hibbert thundered his way down the left side, and cut back inside to unleash a ferocious drive which rocketed past Jet to double the host's advantage.
Just before the break, Tooting put together a pleasing move; Edd put the pressure on the home defence again, running purposefully at a cowering back line; he squared to Harvey who had matched the run, but was well covered by his marker. He did well to retain control, and squeezed the ball back to Pedro Moco, advancing from midfield to assist the attack. Pedro struck the ball cleanly, but couldn't keep it down and it just cleared the bar.
HT : Sevenoaks T. 2 T&MU 0
Tooting began the second period brightly, with the home keeper continuing to look shaky, and pressured several times into playing questionable balls across his own penalty area as his wing-backs felt sufficiently concerned that they didn't bother venturing too far forward. Anuar, Edd and Harvey were continuing to keep the pressure on, and it looked as if Rose could crack at any point.
With such a deep back line, it was difficult for the visitors to create any sort of meaningful chances though, although Alex Filipe did drop another useful cross into the corridor of uncertainty which the home defence managed to hack clear at the third attempt as the ball pinged round the six-yard box, with Harvey attempting, but failing, to get something on it.
Sevenoaks broke clear, and almost extended their lead (which would have been cruel) when Jordy Ndozid's drive from distance deflected for a corner, from which another ex-Terror, Lexus Beeden, headed firmly wide.
We made a couple of changes to freshen things up, with the returning Raees Bangura-Williams a welcome sight on his first outing of the season.
Rose was continuing to pfaff around at the back, and Edd once again took advantage of his hesitancy to dispossess him and feed Harvey who shot wide.
Tooting were getting involved again and some good pressure brought half chances for Edd, who tried to work an opening on the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked by a frantic defence, and Harvey again, who volleyed over from another Filipe cross.
The pressure finally told as the game entered the last ten minutes; sub Ayman Dahdouh beat his marker, and flashed a low ball into the danger zone which Harvey Browne steered past Rose. It was no more than we deserved, though Rose decided to play silly beggars again by refusing to release the ball as we attempted to get the game re-started as quickly as possible. Having already been booked for some petulant nonsense earlier, Rose was lucky not to have left his side bereft of a recognised keeper for the closing period.
We piled on the pressure once action had finally resumed; from a corner kick, Ayman tried a shot from distance but couldn't get sufficient power behind it and Rose held, but the closest we came to an equaliser was Edd M'Bango's effort from Alex Filipe's cross which was deflected wide for a corner as our last chance drifted away on the cold Kentish wind.
T&MU : Harris, Domingo-Carrington, Filipe, Krokhin, Chang, Kirlew-Wright, Ndiaye (sub : Dahdouh 75"), Moco (sub : Bangura-Williams 60"), M'Bango, Ceesay (sub : Douglas 61"), Browne.
Subs not used : Dauda, Akinnibi.
Attendance : 132
Report : Ed Parlett.
Saturday 15th October - T&MU 0-2 Westfield
Bright sunshine accompanied a dramatic downpour to leave a picturesque rainbow straddling the main stand t Imperial Fields, but there was to be no pot of gold as the Terrors slumped to another home defeat, sending us tumbling to the nether reaches of the table.
Despite the poor form, particularly at home, there was a vibrant atmosphere beforehand as many of the Bog End faithful anticipated that Westfield, just two points and two places above us at start of play, may prove the ideal opposition to finally kick-start our season.
It seemed justified early on, as Tooting made the early running. New boys Harvey Browne and Tayo Oyebola were linking up well, and the latter was inches away from getting on the end of Alex Filipe's whipped in cross.
Westfield created the first real opening, though, when they advanced to force a corner, from which Jonathan Sanchez shot just over as the ball fell to him.
Visiting keeper Sonny Wheeler was almost playing as on old fashioned sweeper, given the number of times he advanced off his line to thwart long balls forward as we attempted to set Tayo away.
There were hearts in mouths for the visitors when a Westfield defender, in attempting to clear, struck the ball against his own team-mate and the ball ran agonisingly toward the goal, before trickling just wide.
There was mis-communication at the back as Westfield broke, and James Shaw had to save well from Florian Adu, but Tooting finished the half in the ascendancy when Enoch Ako-Adjei advanced purposefully down the right flank, cut back inside and fed the ball to Harvey Browne whose curled effort just drifted away from the angle of post and bar.
Then Jordan Clarke advanced menacingly and sprayed the ball out wide to the overlapping Alex Filipe. His cross cum shot eluded everyone, before dropping just wide of the far post.
HT : T&MU 0 Westfield 0
It was the visitors who started the second half on the front foot - perhaps as a result of an earbashing in the changing room. Daniel Goather-Braithwaite, a wing-back who had been largely anonymous thus far, seemed to see more of the ball in the opening five minutes of the second half than he had in all of the preceding forty-five. He twice crossed, forcing James Shaw to punch clear on the first occasion, and the home defence to hack it away on the second; Westfield had woken up, but the home defence was (just about) coping.
Tooting countered nicely form the next foray forward by the visitors; Jordan broke up an attack nicely, fed Harvey who was running outside of him, and he attempted to find Alex Filipe with a diagonal ball which was read well by the defence and cleared.
Jordan ran on to pick up the loose ball, tricked his marker, cut back inside and fired a cross to the far post where Tayo and Enoch both awaited but Wheeler just managed to tip it away from both.
It was end-to-end now, and a goal looked imminent; it just wasn't clear who was going to benefit from it. A Westfield break yielded a corner, from which James had to be alert, holding down well to his left. Then Cory Walters-Wright did well to track the run of Adu, and put in an outstanding block-tackle just as the striker shaped to shoot.
However, from the corner, the breakthrough came. The ball was lofted to the far side of the area where midfielder John Adebeyi had strayed, not picked up by the home defence. He connected perfectly to volley the ball back across the area and into the far corner to the, almost palpable, despair of the home crowd; not again, surely?
We made a couple of changes in an attempt to get back into the game; Anuar Ceesay looked particularly lively in his efforts to make things happen and a great ball from him set fellow sub Edd M'bango away through the middle. Edd outpaced his marker and drove a ferocious shot goalwards but Wheeler got just enough on it to tip it over the bar. It was as close as we were to come all afternoon.
Mo Jallow had joined the fray, and was making inroads down the left flank; his balls in had led to token efforts from Anuar Ceesay (wide), Cory Walters-Wright (blocked) and Edd M'Bango (saved) but it began to look as if the Terrors could labour all evening, without ever finding the breakthrough, and a second goal - if it were to come at all - was more likely at the other end as the visitors looked to counter at every opportunity.
The salt-in-the-wound moment came in stoppage-time, as the soft award of a free-kick was punished with an even softer goal by former home favourite Troy Walters, who placed a through ball through a defensive wall that just seemed to melt away leaving James Shaw exposed. It was the final nail in the coffin of another dismal afternoon.
T&MU : Shaw, Ako-Adjei, Filipe (Jallow 62"), Daly, Walters-Wright, Chang, Ndiaye, Moco (Ceesay 70"), Oyebola (M'Bango 63"), Clarke, Browne.
Subs Not Used : Kirlew-Wright, Douglas.
Attendance : 197
Report : Ed Parlett
Tuesday 18th October - Dartford 1-0 T&MU
London Senior Cup 1st Round
The Terrors battled hard, and looked to be on the verge of pulling off an upset at times, before falling to a second half strike that allowed the hosts to advance in the London Senior Cup.
There were several changes to the Terrors line-up, and the small band of travelling fans were heartened by the inclusion of Jake Rose’s name in the starting eleven. Jake was a fan favourite a few years back, and a key figure in the side which lifted this trophy sixteen months ago.
Jet Harris made his second appearance at senior level, and the young keeper certainly impressed with a number of important stops earning him a unanimous decision as man-of-the-match from the visiting support.
He was forced into action twice early on, repelling efforts from Pierre Fonkeu and Kieran Murtagh in impressive fashion, before showing superb reflexes to get down low to his left in turning a curling effort from Davide Rodari around the post.
There was a beautiful spell of one-touch passing from Tooting, as we began to work our way into things. Ayman Dahdouh showed great strength and pace to burst though the middle and drive a shot into the side netting.
But it wasn't long before Jet was called into action again, pulling off another two saves in quick succession before Harvey Browne made inroads down the left flank and showed good control to out-fox his marker before crossing a dangerous looping ball into the box - unfortunately for the visitors, nobody had read his intentions and the ball went harmlessly out of play.
Jet Harris pulled off yet another close-range save from Rodari before we thought we had taken a shock lead, seven minutes before the break. Raees Bangura-Williams curled in a fine ball from the right and Edd Mbango slid to steer it past Tom Wray in the home goal. However, the flag had gone up on the far side in what must have been a very tight call when the ball was played.
We did get the benefit of the doubt at the other end when the Darts were denied an opening goal for the same reason, as the first half finished goalless.
HT : Dartford 0 T&MU 0
The Terrors started the second half on the front foot, and began to increase the pressure on the home defence. Rates Bangura-Williams collected the ball on the edge of the box, side-stepped a defender and lifted a curling effort goalwards. The ball crashed against the bar and fell to Raees again. His low shot was heading for the bottom corner but Wray got down to turn it round the post.
Edd Mbango then showed great strength to outmuscle his marker and crossed for Mo Jallow whose shot was deflected past the post as we kept the pressure on.
On the hour, Dartford mounted their first threat of the second period and Jet was called into action again, repelling an effort at the near post. From the corner, an attacker rose highest but headed just over the bar.
As the travelling fans sensed an upset, Dartford took the lead; a cross from the left finally left Jet exposed, and Alex Wall tapped in the loose ball.
After such a battling effort, it was hard to take and the home side - buoyed by seven consecutive victories prior to the evening - almost doubled their advantage minutes later but Jet, once again, had the answer to the question, beating out another close-range drive.
It wasn't until the closing stages that Tooting threatened to take the tie to penalties - substitute Enoch Ako-Adjei showed tenacity to work an opening, but his shot just dipped wide of the far post and our last hope had disappeared.
T&MU : Harris, Jallow (sub : Edwards 75"), Browne, Krokhin, Chang, Kirlew-Wright, Bangura-Williams, Dahdouh (sub : Ceesay 51"), Mbango (sub : Ako-Adjei 77"), Clarke, Rose (sub : Oyebola 79").
Sub not used : Bassett
Attendance : 148
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 22nd October - Sutton Common Rovers 3-0 T&MU
A demoralised Tooting side were ripped apart on a dreadful surface as 'local' rivals Sutton Common Rovers picked up their first home win of the campaign.
Following a gutsy showing at Dartford in midweek, the manager made some key changes, with some of the players who’d with some of the players who’d performed well four days previously given a chance to show what they could do, but on a dreadful playing surface - which shouldn’t really be the case with an artificial pitch! - the gamble didn’t pay off.
Jet Harris, in goal, had performed man-of-the-match heroics in the London Senior Cup tie but from the moment he was left exposed at a 14th minute corner, and Kyron Williams gleefully buried a free header to give Rovers the lead, his afternoon went from bad to worse.
Five minutes later came the sort of aberration every goalkeeper dreads, when he failed to get a clean touch on Kynan Kirlew-Wright’s backpass, and could only slice the ball horribly into his own net.
To be fair to Jet, he could have capitulated from that point on, but showed the strength of his character to pull off some decent stops after that and keep us - just about - in the game.
Just past the half-hour, Anuar Ceesay showed good feet, and found Ayman Dahdouh whose shot was deflected for a corner. From this, the ball was lofted towards the far post where the diving Nikolai Krokhin, impeded by plenty of bodies, headed just wide of the target.
With all three substitutes utilised for the second period, Tooting finally managed to sustain some attacks; Shamal Edwards' introduction certainly gave us the option of somebody who wasn't afraid to run at the home defence yet it seemed his afternoon might have been over before it had really begun when he was chopped down just outside the box by a nasty two-footed challenge, which was somehow deemed only worthy of a yellow card by the referee - and he only seemed to show that as an afterthought while Shamal received lengthy treatment.
Thankfully, he was able to carry on, and Jordan Clarke floated in a free-kick which fell to another sub, Leevi Bassett, whose shot was blocked but at least some resistance was being shown.
We managed a decent spell of pass-and-move which resulted in Edd being pushed over as he attempted to make inroads in the box, but our shouts for a penalty fell on deaf ears.
Another free-kick floated into the box fell nicely to Anuar, whose first effort was crowded out, but the ball came back to him and he couldn't find the target with his second, drifting it wide.
But just when it looked like we might force an interesting last period, the lively Jephte Tanga - who’d been a thorn in the side of the visiting defence all afternoon - raced clear to drive the ball across the diving Harris, and seal the points for the home side whilst increasing our woes at the foot of the table. side, increasing our woes at the foot of the table.
T&MU : Harris, Browne (sub : Edwards HT), Ako-Adjei, Krokhin, Chang, Kirlew-Wright, Douglas (sub : Mbango HT), Dahdouh, Oyebola (sub : Bassett HT), Ceesay, Clarke.
Subs not used : Ndiaye, Shaw
Attendance : 96
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 29th October - T&MU 2-1 Bedfont Sports
A huge sigh of relief engulfed Imperial Fields on Saturday, as the Terrors finally bagged their first home win of the season against fellow strugglers, Bedfont Sports.
This was a vital three points to bank, and hopes will be high that it can kick-start our season.
Both teams were, understandably, cautious early on, but the Terrors began to put their foot on the accelerator and took the lead just past the quarter hour mark as Bedfont wilted under a sustained period of home pressure.
Enoch Ako-Adjei began and finished the move; he burst down the right-hand side, and cut the ball back across the six yard box. A defender attempted to clear, but the ball broke to Raees Bangura-Williams who showed nifty feet to engineer a shooting opportunity, which was deflected to Harvey Browne on the edge of the box. His blocked effort fell to Jake Rose, whose shot was cleared off the line by Olukayode Osu. Jordan Clarke picked up the loose ball and floated it back into the danger zone where former Tooting keeper Gary Ross fumbled and Enoch seized on the loose ball to drive it under him for his fourth goal of the season.
Bedfont were stung into action, and began to create chances of their own, but the home defence stood firm. We were probably a little fortunate when striker Michael Goddard headed over when well placed, but perhaps - for a change - we had earned our luck.
As the second half progressed, both teams began to feel the pressure - our nerves started to look a little frayed as we inched closer to the win, Bedfont huffed and puffed but their inability to create anything tangible frustrated them as they sensed the points slipping away on the bricks of the re-assembled 'Wandle Wall'.
With six minutes left, they found an opening - and a little good fortune. A free-kick was needlessly conceded midway down the left, and was floated towards the far post where Edd Mbango headed it clear, under pressure from a Bedfont attacker. Edd went down as a result of the head-clash, and didn't move. With concerned home players appealing for the game to be stopped for immediate treatment to their stricken team-mate, the referee waved play on and Bedfont crossed back into the danger zone. Distracted defenders failed to clear and the ball fell to Nicallas Araujo who slipped it past James Shaw.
Heads have dropped in similar situations recently; to Tooting's credit, they didn't here. Driven on by the encouragement from behind the goal, Tooting pressed for a winner and - for once - managed to find it. As the game entered stoppage time, Edd Mbango seized on a ball down the left channel, used his pace and strength to put-strip his marker and cut back inside to fire a fierce effort goalwards. Ross did well to parry the effort, but it fell to Raees just inside the box who kept his head to place the ball home and spark the sort of celebrations not seen in these parts for many a month. Onwards and upwards!
T&MU : Shaw, Ako-Adjei (sub : Edwards 66"), Browne, Krokhin, Filipe, Daly, Bangura-Williams, Chang, Oyebola (sub : Mbango 62"), Clarke (sub : Dahdouh 72"), Rose.
Subs not used : Walters-Wright, Ceesay.
Attendance : 264
Report : Ed Parlett.
Tuesday 1st November - T&MU 1-4 Chertsey Town
Surrey Senior Cup 1st Round
High scoring visitors Chertsey lived up to their pre-match billing as an exciting attacking team, to relieve us of our last remaining interest in a knockout competition this season.
With the visitors fielding a near-full strength side, and ourselves making eight changes from the starting XI which had finally registered our first home league win three days earlier, it always looked a tall order as a ferocious downpour, accompanied by thunder and lightning, lashed Imperial Fields to provide an atmospheric backdrop, if nothing else.
We started brightly enough, with Harvey Browne looking lively in a wing-back role, and his early ball into the six yard box was taken cleanly(ish) by experienced keeper Nicholas Jupp, as Kareem Akinnibi hovered, hoping to pounce on any loose ball.
But once the visitors had settled, they rattled in two goals in three minutes to effectively put the tie to bed before a quarter of the game had elapsed; Kai Hamilton Olise was the beneficiary of some slack defending on both occasions. First, he took advantage of some loose marking to drive a cross-shot home from the right-hand side of the box, and then almost immediately after Chertsey had seized possession from the re-start, he broke clear onto a long ball over the top to slot in his second shortly afterward.
The Terrors looked beleaguered at this point, and another cross from the right swerved on the wind forcing Jet Harris to punch clear to deny the Curfews a third.
Cory Walters-Wright scrambled a lofted corner kick off the goal-line as the pressure continued, before we finally managed to trouble Jupp with Kareem bursting through, and squeezing a shot in from a tight angle which the keeper dealt with well.
But a Bryan Taylor penalty just before the break rubbed salt into our first half wounds, and although there was a marked improvement after the break with a triple substitution, Baye Ndiaye's first goal for the club - when he took advantage of defensive hesitancy to place his kick nicely wide of the advancing Jupp - was the only consolation.
Despite some more pressure and a couple of half-chances from the hosts, it was Chertsey who wrapped things up with a fourth from Morgan Cooper twenty minutes from the end.
T&MU : Harris, Edwards, Browne (sub : Jallow HT), Walters-Wright, Filipe, Dauda (sub : Kirlew-Wright HT), Chang, Ndiaye (sub : Moco 60"), Akinnibi, Dahdouh (sub : Clarke HT), Ceesay.
Sub not used : Krokhin
Attendance : 41
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 5th November - Walton & Hersham 2-1 T&MU
A barnstorming encounter saw Tooting go toe-to-toe with their high-flying opponents, and deliver their most complete performance of the season so far - yet we still came away from the Elmbridge Sports Hub with nothing to show for our considerable efforts, completing a frustrating afternoon.
We took the game to our hosts early on, and Jordan Clarke looked in the mood as he raced clear in the fifth minute; shaping to shoot, he curled his effort toward the far post but saw it drag agonisingly wide.
Undeterred, he launched a similar move shortly after and this time Raees Bangura-Williams read the play and moved with him, enabling Jordan to take the wing-back out of the play and square for the unmarked Raees to net his second goal in a week sending the considerable travelling support into ecstasy.
The Terrors continued to go forward with a purpose, and Raees broke again down the left flank which was bringing us so much encouragement thus far; Tayo Oyebola was haring forward in the centre, but when the ball was passed, his momentum wasn't quite right and his mis-hit shot grazed the outside of the post on its way wide. Tooting were pressing well, and showing the concentration and discipline needed at the back.
However, the home attack finally (and dubiously?) judged a through ball just right, and the flag stayed down as two players beat the offside trap to bear down on James Shaw; John Gilbert drew the keeper, then squared for Eddie Simon to tap in and the Swans were back on terms.
It was the Terrors who continued to impress though, and looked the most likely from an attacking point of view; we almost went back in front when a free-kick was floated across the box by Clarke, and Cory Walters-Wright - impressing in a new midfield role - clipped the post with a volley. Then Tayo was away again as half-time approached, latching onto a lovely ball out of defence but - once again - couldn't quite get his bearings right and put the shot wide with only the keeper to beat.
As the second half progressed, Tooting continued to look the more likely to bank maximum points; Harvey Browne shot into the side netting after a fine run, and Shamal Edwards forced Liam Allen into a good save at his near post as the hosts looked stretched.
But as the game entered stoppage-time, Edd Mbango was harshly penalised merely for standing his ground as a home midfielder climbed all over him, and the resultant free-kick was flighted over to the far side of the box where Swans debutant Mitchel Gough hooked in a shot to break Tooting hearts at the death, and leave us wondering just what we have to do to glean some rewards from our considerable efforts.
T&MU : Shaw, Edwards, Browne, Krokhin, Filipe, Daly, Chang, Walters-Wright, Oyebola (sub : Ceesay 71"), Bangura-Williams (sub : Bangura-Williams 55"), Clarke.
Subs not used : Jallow, Kirklees-Wright, Akinnibi.
Attendance : 337
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 19th November - Basingstoke Town 4-2 T&MU
Once again, the Terrors battled hard, but some sloppy defensive play aligned with questionable decision making from the officials led to another fruitless afternoon on the road.
The hosts were quick out of the blocks, and James Shaw had already made one eye-catching save when he was beaten by Brodie Peart's fourteenth minute strike from the edge of the box after Shamal Edwards had failed to cut out a low ball in.
Tooting came roaring back, and were level ten minutes later when some sparkling wing play from Enoch Ako-Adjei was topped off by a pinpoint cross from which Edd Mbango athletically volleyed home.
Shaw did well to get down low to his left and keep out a goal bound effort from Stefan Brown but our joy was short-lived as Shamal's underhit back-pass left his keeper exposed allowing Peary to slip home his second on the half-hour.
Shamal seemingly atoned for his earlier errors when he exchanged passes with Jordan Clarke and fired home a beautiful 'goal' from a tight angle on the stroke of half-time, but the Assistant Referee had raised his flag and the effort was disallowed. It seemed harsh, as Shamal had been watching the line carefully, and looked like he had timed his run to perfection; but this is the sort of decision that goes against you when you are struggling for results.
Early in the second half, Tayo Oyebola combined well with Raees Bangura-Williams, only to see home keeper Mark Scott tip his effort over, but disbelief was in evidence again shortly afterward when Edd Mbango's lovely headed 'goal' following a flowing move was, once again, disallowed for the thinnest of offside decisions - one wonders when (if?) we will get the benefit of the doubt on one of these this season.
Despite heavy pressure from the Terrors, it looked all over when Bradley Wilson restored the hosts' two goal advantage six minutes from time, touching in a right-wing cross.
We had already been denied one penalty shout, when Enoch had been questionably dragged down in the box in the first half, and felt we had good claims for another as returning sub Andrew Sesay was pushed over but the referee disagreed and awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the area instead. It made no difference to Jordan Clarke, who fired home his third goal of the season to set up a tense final few minutes.
As we piled forward, Basingstoke broke up an attack and countered with purpose; Bradley Wilson bore down on goal and Shaw up-ended him for an obvious spot-kick. Wilson tucked it away to seal the points with almost the last kick of the match.
T&MU : Shaw, Edwards, Ako-Adjei (sub : Browne 88"), Krokhin, Filipe, Daly, Bangura-Williams, Walters-Wright, Mbango, Oyebola (sub : Sesay 63"), Clarke.
Subs not used : Chang, Kirklees-Wright, Jallow.
Attendance : 620
Report : Ed Parlett
Tuesday 22nd November - Binfield 4-1 T&MU
High scoring Binfield blitzed their visitors with a four goal first-half onslaught that left them in tatters. Despite a better second period, Tooting were unable to muster more than a consolation goal.
It was a classy display from the Moles - especially winger Johnny Efedje who put himself top of the goalscoring charts with his seventh and eighth of the season.
The first came after just fifteen minutes as Efedje's quick reactions meant he was able to poke home Brandon Curtis' cut back after after some wing play from Taylor Morgan down the left.
Ten minutes from half-time, a Liam Tack corner was played to the edge of the six-yard box which put the ball on a plate for Efedje again who rise highest to head home and spark a burst of three goals in seven minutes.
Two minutes later, captain Liam Gavin reacted quickest to a port defensive clearance and smashed the ball past the outstretched hand of James Shaw.
Massive Giametti completed the scoring for the home side, when he superbly met Efedje's corner to strike home number four and put Binfield firmly into the driving seat going into the break.
Whatever was said in the Tooting dressing room at half-time had some kind of positive effect, and the introduction of Andrew Sesay and a re-shaping of the formation at least enabled the Terrors to salvage a bit of pride in the time that remained.
Just eleven minutes had elapsed when Edd Mbango drove home from Sesay's pass to reduce the deficit, and with over half an hour to go it seemed there might be time to at least make a further dent on the scoreline and perhaps make something of a fight of it.
However, the Moles managed the game superbly and never looked likely to lose their grip despite allowing the visitors to come to them a little bit more. At least there were no further goals against as Binfield eased to the points.
T&MU : Shaw, Jallow (sub : Sesay HT), Ako-Adjei, Krokhin, Filipe, Daly, Bangura-Williams (sub : Kirlew-Wright 89"), Walters-Wright, Mbango, Edwards, Rose (sub : Caulton 85").
Subs not used : Oyebola, Harris (GK).
Attendance : 112
Report : Jack Craske (thanks to Binfield FC).
Saturday 26th November - T&MU 2-2 Uxbridge
Spirits may have been dampened by recent demoralising results, but this turned into a surprisingly entertaining encounter to enliven a gloomy, overcast afternoon in south London.
Showing commendable spirit following a midweek capitulation in the Berkshire countryside against Binfield, the Terrors came from behind twice to salvage a point, and showed a determination and heart that has been lacking recently to give us renewed hope moving into the busy festive period.
Both sides took a cagey approach early on, like a couple of experience boxers sparring for an opening. It was Tooting who engineered one first, when Harvey Browne was cut down as he looked to break through the centre. Jordan Clarke took the free-kick and visiting keeper Tyler Tobin tipped it over the bar.
The Terrors kept up the pressure, and Nikolai Krokhin headed over from from the subsequent corner. Andrew Sesay, on his first start in his second spell at Imperial Fields, then got away and lifted the ball back to Shamal Edwards on the edge of the box, but his mis-hit shot failed to garner the power to trouble Tobin.
The play was evenly balanced, but it was Uxbridge who broke the deadlock when a corner was headed against the bar and Luke Paris reacted quickest to stab the loose ball home, just past the half-hour mark.
Tooting showed fortitude to keep their headers up, and got their reward just before the break when Jordan Clarke teased his marker and fired a low ball across the penalty area; Harvey Browne tried to direct an effort goalwards, but couldn't get any power or direction on his effort, however his skewed ball turned into an unintended excellent pass to Edd Mbango who kept a calm head to slot the ball past Tobin for his third goal in his last three games.
Uxbridge went back in front early in the second period when Victor Osobu, looking suspiciously offside, tapped in at the far post following a flowing move but once again the Terrors came roaring back; Sesay seized onto a poor defensive pass and drove toward the edge of the box, then lofted the ball nicely into the path of the onrushing Mbango. It wasn't an easy ball to control, but Edd managed to do so before firing emphatically past Tobin for his second of the afternoon.
The game flowed beautifully thereafter, with neither side willing to settle for a point - and both having chances to take all three. But as the game moved into stoppage-time, a looping cross to the far post saw ex-Terror Daniel Williams advancing menacingly for Uxbridge; he seemed certain to score, yet James Shaw managed to get across his goal and fling himself down to deny his former team-mate right at the death, and ensure we took something from a tough afternoon.
T&MU : Shaw, Edwards (sub : Ako-Adjei 59"), Browne, Travers, Krokhin, Daly, Bangura-Williams, Walters-Wright, Mbango (sub : Oyebola 89"), Sesay, Clarke (sub : Rose 68").
Subs not used : Kirlew-Wright, Moco.
Attendance : 177
Report : Ed Parlett
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
Monday 2nd January - Chipstead 2-0 T&MU
The new calendar year failed to bring a change in fortune for the Terrors, as we slumped to defeat in the Surrey countryside.
There were some nice passages of play, and periods where Tooting threatened to get on top, but once again a cutting edge was missing and - if truth be told - Chipstead, one of the current form teams in the division, could have won by more.
We were first on the attack, though, with just a few minutes on the clock; Anuar Ceesay skipped away down the right flank, used his pace to slip a tackle and accelerate away from his marker. Another defender failed to cut out the cross, and Edd Mbango gathered the ball well. His drive to the near post almost caught Matt Kerberos off guard, but the home keeper somehow managed to fumble the effort around a post.
Chipstead's first offensive threat saw them almost go in front from a corner, when huge centre-half Daniel Pappoe rose well but couldn't keep his header down and it cleared the bar.
They did take the lead from their next meaningful attack, unfortunately, as a straightforward break down the right and low ball across was not cut out by the visiting defence and Andy Kabuikusomo could hardly miss when presented with the ball about eight yards from goal.
It was an open game, and Tooting were playing their part; Jordan Clarke slipped a nice pass down the channel for Anuar to run onto, but his cross-shot flashed wide of the far post, while at the other end James Shaw had to be alert to deal with a strike from Jonathan Hood when he shot from a tight angle.
Kabuikusomo then went on a raid down the left, and found Hood in acres of space but the Chips forward snatched at his shot and put it wide when it looked easier to score and the hosts departed with a narrow lead at the break.
There was some decent pressure from the visitors at the start of the second period, with Declan Nche beginning to assert some control in the middle of the park, aided by substitute Raees Bangura-Williams, yet it was Chipstead who twice broke quickly and went close to doubling their advantage - first when some neat interplay gave Hood another chance but his shot came back off the inside of the post. Then Kabuikusomo forced another save from Shaw with his legs. The ball rebounded nicely to Hood but Cory Walters-Wright was on hand to head his lofted shot off the line.
Tooting stepped up the pressure as time began to run out, but were caught on the break when Shaw raced out and failed to intercept a through ball, and former Terror Mike Dixon was left with a tap in to seal the points.
T&MU : Shaw, Ceesay, Browne (sub : Edwards 59"), Travers (sub : Chang 68"), Daly, Krokhin, Nche, Walters-Wright, Mbango, Akinnibi (sub : Bangura-Williams 50"), Clarke.
Subs not used : Sesay, Kirlew-Wright.
Attendance : 225
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 7th January - T&MU 0-2 Northwood
Tooting's first home game of 2023 saw the familiar pattern continue, as we fell to another defeat. To be fair, given the position of the respective two teams in the table, any points that had been taken from this match would have been a huge bonus; it is not games such as this which will determine our fate, rather those against teams in a similar position to ourselves.
Having said that, there were positives to be taken from the performance and if we could just have managed to sneak an early goal when we were on top, it could have been a whole different story.
We introduced two new signings, and both can have been pleased with their endeavours on the day; goalkeeper Dan Purdue looked very comfortable taking everything that was being thrown at him, and couldn't be faulted for either of the goals that went past him. At the other end of the pitch, Manu Oke-William - a tall, powerful attacking presence - put himself around all afternoon, was a constant menace to the league-leaders' defence, and picked up the man-of-the-match award for his efforts. Both players could have a significant part to play in the weeks to come.
Chances were always going to be at a premium against a side with such a good defensive record, so it was galling that we were not able to take one whilst the game remained goalless. Early on, Enoch Ako-Adjeio went on a typically marauding run down the right, powered past two defenders as he cut inside, but Andrew McCorkell came off his line to narrow the angle and parry Enoch's crisp shot.
Shortly after, from a corner, skipper Nathan Daly headed against the outside of the stanchion, and then Manu seized onto a good through pass to outpace the Northwood defence and bear down on goal. He had a bit more time than he perhaps realised, electing to try his luck from the edge of the box when he could have got closer to the keeper, and McCorkell took his effort comfortably.
Having soaked up our pressure, Northwood took the lead on the stroke of half-time and never looked like relinquishing control thereafter. Nikolai Krokhin failed to cut out a pass down the left and Jake Tabor - who was a constant thorn in our side throughout - swept home the subsequent cross.
The visitors doubled their advantage shortly after the hour mark; a free-kick floated in took an unfortunate deflection off a Terrors defender, and looped up perfectly for Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway who headed past Purdue with ease.
A torrential downpour led to the referee escorting the players off the pitch with about twenty minutes left. When they returned, Tooting deserved a goal for a gutsy display, but it was Northwood who almost added a third late on when Purdue showed his reflexes to save well from substitute Sandro Costa Dias Fernandez.
T&MU : Purdue, Ceesay, Browne (sub : Edwards 47"), Walters-Wright, Daly, Krokhin (sub : Rose 88"), Nche, Chang, Ako-Adjei (sub : Sesay 77"), Oke-William, Clarke.
Subs not used : Travers, Bangura-Williams.
Attendance : 164
Report : Ed Parlett
Wednesday 25th January - T&MU 1-2 Chertsey Town
Tooting confounded the form book to control much of the proceedings against play-off chasing Chertsey Town, but were unable to bank so much as a point as we found out the hard way that there is a reason matches last ninety minutes, and not seventy.
The Terrors took the initiative early on, with a swirling wind behind us, and forced a couple of early corners - one of which almost led directly to a goal when it caught on the wind and came close to deceiving the experienced Nicholas Jupp in the visitor's goal, who just managed to keep it out.
Debut-making Malachi Hudson was looking sharp, and involved himself in much of our forward-thinking enterprises, although Chertsey began to make inroads into our defence as the half wore on - without creating anything tangible enough to trouble Dan Purdue in our goal, and the interval arrived with the game goalless and very finely balanced.
We looked confident as the second half began, belying our position in the table, and pushed the Curfews onto the back foot. Recent signing Manu Oke-William, enjoying his second outing in the black and white, found himself in a one-on-one with Jupp, but couldn't wrap his long legs around the ball, and the chance was gone.
A minute later though, and only eight minutes into the second period, we took the lead; Malachi was inevitably involved, taking on the full back down the flank and dinking in an inviting pass for his fellow striker, with Manu making amends for his earlier miss by steering the ball past Jupp and into the net.
We grew in confidence after the goal, and the beleaguered Bog-End faithful began to sniff an unlikely three points as we created but failed to convert several reasonable chances to increase the lead. Those thoughts were cruelly snuffed out twenty minutes from time as former Terror Jake Baxter took advantage of hesitancy in the home defence to make it 1-1.
Unfortunately, the concession of a goal knocked the stuffing out of the Terrors, and from that point on there only looked like one team who would go on to win - and they weren't wearing black and white stripes.
With twelve minutes left, and Tooting clinging on, a cross lofted into the home defence caused more confusion, and with the ball pinging around like it was in a pinball machine, Curfews substitute Kai Hamilton-Olise found it at his feet with a chance he could hardly miss - and didn't.
It only got worse as results from the other evening matches filtered through, and the Terrors ended a miserable night at the foot of the table.
T&MU : Purdue, Ceesay, Edwards, Walters-Wright, Daly, Krokhin, Bangura-Williams, Chang, Oke-William, Clarke (sub : Browne 86"), Hudson (sub : Eze 73").
Subs not used : Ansah, James-Thompson, Travers.
Attendance : 122
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 8th January - Thatcham Town 2-0 T&MU
Another three points slipped away, as in-form Thatcham Town extended their impressive recent run at the expense of a battling Terrors side.
It had been a determined and committed rearguard action for most of the first half, culminating in Dan Purdue making an impressive double save just before the break which strengthened thoughts that it might just be our day for once.
Those hopes disappeared in the opening minutes of the second period, when we were left a man short and hit by a goal on the break to end another afternoon in tatters.
The hosts were clear favourites here - their recent run of five wins against one loss and a draw included taking the points home from Imperial Fields just before Christmas and four points from tough trips to play-off contenders Marlow and South Park; their only defeat in this sequence was a narrow one at league-leaders Basingstoke Town.
So it was always going to be a tall order for Tooting to get anything out of this one, but we started brightly enough and carved out the first chance when a cross-shot from Anuar Ceesay looked dangerous, but landed on the roof of the net. Malachi Hudson was busy and inventive and looked likely to make something happen, but didn't always get the support he needed when finding himself in the last third of the pitch.
As the half wore on, Thatcham began to get on top with their striking partnership of Jordan Alves and Harry Williams increasingly prominent. Both had good chances to put their team in front, but both dragged shots wide when well-placed in front of goal.
Nathan Daly was giving a Captain's performance at the heart of our defence, with Kynan Kirlew-Wright and Nikolai Krokhin equally dominant in the air - but Thatcham were given a golden opportunity to take the lead on the stroke of half-time when David Ansah was adjudged to have brought down Muhamadou Ceesay, and the referee pointed to the spot. However, Purdue made a superb stop from Alves' kick, and did even better to spring to his feet and deny Williams' follow-up at point-blank range.
It was the sort of save from which victories have been sprung in the past, but it was not to be on this occasion. Tooting started the second period on the front-foot but received a set-back when Raees Bangura-Williams received a second yellow card for an innocuous-looking challenge, reducing our numbers to ten.
Initially, it seemed to spur us on, and we claimed a penalty of our own when Malachi was bundled over in the box but the referee waved play on and a long ball out of defence found Muhamadou Ceesay bearing down on the Terrors' goal; he kept his head, with only Dan to beat, and slotted it past him to render us with another uphill battle.
We kept plugging away, but it was always going to be a Herculean task against a side brimming with confidence, and they duly sealed the points when Ceesay headed his second inside the last twenty minutes to effectively end the game as a contest.
T&MU : Purdue, Ceesay (sub : Ako-Adjei 72"), Ansah (sub : Edwards 47"), Kirlew-Wright, Daly, Krokhin, James-Thompson (sub : Walters-Wright 69"), Chang, Oke-William, Bangura-Williams, Hudson.
Subs not used : Browne, Travers.
Attendance : 147
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 4th February - T&MU 2-3 Basingstoke Town
The Terrors showed some of the fighting spirit that will be needed in the remainder of the season as we came within a whisker of a major upset against league leaders Basingstoke, but were left wondering what might have been as a saved penalty galvanised the visitors who rallied to take all three points back to Hampshire.
It was the hosts who started brightly, and were a whisker away from taking the lead when skipper Nathan Daly headed against the crossbar following a ninth minute corner. Then visiting keeper Paul Strudley got to the ball just ahead of Manu Oke-William as the gangly striker attempted to get on the end of Shawn Lyle's nicely threaded through pass.
But Basingstoke were threatening too, and Dan Purdue had to be alert to block with his legs as Paul Hodges couldn't get any height on his close-range effort.
The visitors duly went in front when George Reid shot home following defensive uncertainty, and after Hodges struck across the penalty area for number two to sneak in at the far post it looked all up for Tooting before half an hour had been played.
However, some sparkling wing play from Andrew Sesay finished with a slide-rule pass to Malachi Hudson, and the recent signing showed good footwork and admirable composure to work an opening and fire in his first goal in the black and white stripes.
Anuar Ceesay, so often at the heart of Tooting's attacking threat in recent weeks, seized on a loose pass across the midfield early in the second period and tried his luck from distance; Strudley was deceived by the pace and curl on the ball, it snuck in at his near post and - amazingly - we were back on level terms.
Suddenly, it was all Tooting, and the visitors were rattled as we sustained pressure and pushed them backwards; this was the Terrors of old, and as the home support started to believe and roared their side on, three points began to look a likelihood rather than a pipe dream.
Sadly, it's the hope that often kills you, and after the referee had pointed to the spot following an innocuous-looking challenge by a visiting defender, Tooting had the opportunity to go in front. Shawn Lyle, lively on his debut, struck the kick well enough but Strudley got down to his right and kept it out well.
That heartbreak was compounded not long afterwards as the leaders regained their composure and Bradley Wilson ran at the Tooting defence before cutting the ball back for Benjamin Cook to strike a harsh winner. How close we had come, though...
T&MU : Purdue, James-Thompson (sub : Travers 68"), Filipe, Chang, Daly, Krokhin, Ceesay
(sub : Ako-Adjei 79"), Lyle, Oke-William, Hudson (sub : Clarke 73"), Sesay.
Subs not used : Akinnibi, Walters-Wright.
Attendance : 281
Report : Ed Parlett
Tuesday 7th February - Ashford Town 2-1 T&MU
A disputed penalty proved to be the difference as another three points were surrendered on a freezing night in west London.
The pitch looked fairly hard as the teams warmed up beforehand, and with a covering frost at the start of play, it must have been touch and go as to whether this twice-postponed fixture would finally go ahead. But the referee gave his approval, much as we might have wished otherwise, and our already tenuous position took another knock as the home side eased their own relegation worries slightly.
In truth, they probably deserved to be more than one goal ahead at the break, after a half in which we struggled to create anything tangible; but the (now) joint-managers switched things around at half-time, and saw a rejuvenated Tooting side draw level before taking control of the game and looking the more likely winners - until the dubious penalty decision at least.
Ashford were quicker to find their feet on the less than lustrous surface, and Tooting were pinned back for long spells. After twenty minutes, former Terror Prince Mbengui capitalised on a dodgy bobble which deceived Jaiden Chang, and struck a neat volley from the edge of the box which looked to be heading for the far corner - that is until Dan Purdue sprang to his left and pulled off an outstanding one-handed save to turn the ball around the post, an action that drew fulsome applause from all sides of the ground.
Unfortunately, Dan was given no chance to bask in his glory as just a few minutes later a cross from the left eluded our defence, leaving Ricky Johnson unmarked in the six yard box. He kept his cool, and slotted the ball beyond the exposed Tooting custodian.
The visiting defence failed to heed the lesson, and Johnson had a chance to double the lead shortly afterwards, but this time Dan did well to block with his legs and keep us only one adrift as the teams departed the field.
We started the second period like a different side, going straight on the offensive as Andrew Sesay, starved of service in the first half, began to run their full-back a merry dance; having tormented the Basingstoke defence three days prior, Andrew was at it again as he drove past his marker and lifted a pinpoint cross to the far post where half-time substitute Kareem Akinnibi squeezed his volley through a narrow gap at the keeper's near-post to bring us on terms. Like Saturday, our opponents were rattled as Tooting grew in confidence and Malachi Hudson was unlucky when he collected another pass from Sesay but his crisp shot from the edge of the box was deflected out for a corner.
We continued to look the better side until fifteen minutes from time when the referee pointed to the spot after Alex Filipe tangled with Johnson in the box and Wayne Ridgley fired home the penalty.
We kept battling until the end but Jordan Clarke's snap shot which drifted just wide of the post was the closest we came to earning a deserved point.
T&MU : Purdue, Kirlew-Wright, Filipe, Chang (sub : Bangura-Williams 81"), Walters-Wright, Krokhin, Ceesay, Lyle, Oke-William (sub : Clarke 62"), Hudson (sub : Akinnibi HT), Sesay.
Subs not used : Travers, Ako-Adjei.
Attendance : 114
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 11th February - Bedfont Sports 0-0 T&MU
We collected our first point of 2023 and, although we really need to be picking up some three-pointers, there were many positive signs on show at the Bedfont Recreation Ground.
The hosts were first to mount an attack, though; new signing Elijas Bagdonavicius made a promising debut overall, but he took a while to get the feel of the artificial surface and it was his failure to intercept a ball down the right touchline that led to Steve Ngunga being presented with a close-range chance that he somehow lifted well over the bar when it looked easier to score.
With fifteen minutes played, Manu Oke-William was chopped down on the left-hand side of the penalty area and Jordan Clarke's free-kick to the far post was converted by another promising debutant, Ryan Lopes. Unfortunately, the flag was up and although it looked a marginal decision at best, it wasn't the first such call to go against us this season and probably won't be the last.
Lopes was settling in well, and displayed neat footwork to present Manu with a shooting chance; his curled effort from distance failed to trouble Joe Ringer in the home goal.
After the break, the match continued to unfold in a cagey fashion; both sides were keeping it tight, looking to capitalise on the single chance that could make all the difference at the bottom of the table.
Andrew Sesay did well to force a corner when surrounded by home defenders without a friendly outlet, and Jordan Clarke's ball in caused confusion in the penalty area; it wasn't clear who got the final touch, with the six-yard box so congested, but what was clear was the crossbar which denied us the breakthrough.
We continued to probe for an opening, but as the clock wound down it was the hosts who had the chance to bag the points late on when Dan Purdue stood up well to foil Aiden Brown, and then reacted quickly to pull off a double save as the loose ball fell to Kofi Anoyke-Boadi. It would have been harsh to lose so late on; Ringer had been much the busier keeper overall, but Dan had made the more eye-catching saves. All in all, a point was probably a fair result - we shall just have to wait and see how important it may have been when the dust settles at season's end.
T&MU : Purdue, Daly, Bagdonavicius (sub : Filipe 81"), Chang, Walters-Wright, Krokhin, Lopes (sub : Ceesay 70"), Gordon, Oke-William, Clarke, Sesay.
Subs not used : Bangura-Williams, Lyle, Hudson.
Attendance : 124
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 18th February - T&MU 2-0 Binfield
Two goals from big defender Nikolai Krokhin secured three vital points for the Terrors, as we dominated proceedings against a strangely lacklustre Binfield side.
With the visitors having one eye on a play-off place, we expected a tough afternoon; that it was anything but is perhaps a testament to the character and belief that is currently flowing throughout the team which saw our guests reduced to second-best all afternoon.
As in so many matches recently, Tooting came out of the blocks fast and stamped their authority on proceedings early. Unlike many home games this season, we managed to sustain this pressure through the ninety minutes and complete a thoroughly satisfying afternoons work, bagging the points with little resistance.
We never really looked in danger after opening the scoring just past the half-hour; we'd already gone close a few minutes earlier as Enoch Ako-Adjei flashed a shot across the face of goal with Jordan Clarke stretching, but just failing to make contact with the ball.
Enoch then attempted another meaningful run down the left, but was cut down by a defender, presenting us with a free-kick which Alex Filipe floated toward the far post. Nikolai challenged the keeper, and got the merest of touches to glance the ball past him and into the net; such has been our luck this season (or lack of it) that the celebration was somewhat muted as many on the Bog End half expected the referee to declare a foul on Harvey Rackley-Hayes in the visiting goal, but Mr. Gidman was perfectly happy with what he had seen and pointed to the centre circle.
Spurred on by the breakthrough, we grew in confidence; the only surprise was that it took so long to rubber-stamp our authority on the game. But just after the hour mark, a corner swung in was only half cleared by the Binfield defence and Nik belied his stature to turn beautifully in a tight space and hook a bicycle kick past Rackley-Hayes for his second.
We had further chances to cement the victory, with Binfield showing little to justify their higher placing in the table. The late introduction of substitute Tinomudaishe Mabukwa did at least inject a little urgency into their efforts; firstly he set up Lewis Gavin for a close-range shot but Dan Purdue made a superb point-blank one-handed save to turn it around the post. Then Mabukwa struck a long-range effort which hit the inside of the post and bounced out but it was too little, too late as Tooting were in no mood to be denied their well-earned victory.
T&MU : Purdue, Daly, Filipe, Chang, Walters-Wright, Krokhin, Ceesay (sub : Lopes 89"), Gordon, Clarke (sub : Bangura-Williams 71"), Lyle, Ako-Adjei.
Subs not used : Hudson, Bagdonavicius, Oke-William.
Attendance : 130
Report : Ed Parlett
Monday 20th February - Merstham 0-0 T&MU
Another point was secured - and another clean sheet kept into the bargain, but Tooting's failure to bag all three at the Moatside - against our fellow strugglers to boot - may yet prove to be significant as the battle to avoid the drop becomes ever more intense at a critical point in the season.
This was never going to be an easy assignment; despite their position just above us, it should be remembered that our hosts had not won a league game until the last weekend in November, but their form since has been more akin to that of a side chasing a play-off place at the 'right' end of the division - they came into this one with only three defeats in thirteen matches since securing that all-important first victory.
Nevertheless, we had been showing improvement of our own, and will have pencilled this one down as a key opportunity to make a statement against one of the teams we need to overtake.
The hosts took the early initiative, with Terrors keeper Dan Purdue being called into action early as he pushed an overhead kick over the bar as the Moatsiders went straight onto the front foot.
They then flashed a free-kick inches wide, but the referee awarded a corner so perhaps it was another vital touch by the big Tooting stopper - at least it was in the eyes of the official.
Merstham kept us pinned back for much of the half, as we struggled to make anything positive happen in or around their penalty area - but at least our defence was holding firm and keeping them at arm's length.
Just before the break, we managed to create something of our own. Ryan Lopes made a yard of space in a congested zone but his shot drifted just wide of the post.
A similar pattern began to emerge in the second period, as we continued to defend resolutely, and attempted to feed on scraps at their end.
Dan was managing to keep his sheet intact, and deserved a bit of luck when a snap-shot flashed across the face of his goal.
As time begin to run out, we attempted to step up our efforts to hit them on the break and almost managed to pinch one when home keeper (and, briefly, former Terror) Filip Chalupniczak came off his line to block a forward run and only succeeded in deflecting the ball to substitute Anuar Ceesay who was advancing on the left-hand side but rushed his shot from a difficult angle and failed to hit the target.
A sizeable crowd bayed for a penalty as Dan tangled with a home forward late on, but the travelling contingent breathed a huge sigh of relief when the referee adjudged it to be six of one and half a dozen of the other as he waved play on and we deservedly banked a hard-won point.
T&MU : Purdue, Daly, Bagdonavicius, Chang, Krokhin, Walters-Wright, Kirlew-Wright, Gordon, Lopes (sub : Ako-Adjei 58"), Oke-William (sub : Bangura-Williams HT), Hudson (sub : Ceesay 57").
Subs not used : Filipe, Akinnibi.
Attendance : 287
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 25th February - South Park 1-1 T&MU
An explosive end to a rather pedestrian affair saw two goals in stoppage time at the death, giving us another point in our battle against the drop, and South Park one in their quest for a play-off place, but neither side will be completely satisfied with the outcome - both needing some maximum pointers for their very different objectives.
Still, having fallen behind so late in proceedings (and after conceding for the first time in approximately 375 minutes of league football), that we were able to leave Whitehall Lane with a point and a now four game unbeaten run was one positive that could be gleaned - but with the teams around us all also avoiding defeat on the day, it was another chance to make a dent in our situation gone.
The first half lacked any real clear-cut goalscoring opportunities; Ben Jordan's backward lob over his own head and debut-making Tooting goalkeeper Sam Nabbad was perhaps the closest either side came to breaking the stalemate.
Finlay Johnson fired over from the edge of the box, whilst Ryan Lopes' blocked effort was the closest we came as the teams departed the field on level terms.
The tempo increased in the second half as both sides displayed a little more urgency, but it was still seemingly heading for a goalless draw - which would have been our third in four matches - when the game entered injury-time.
The hosts were awarded a corner which was lifted to the edge of the box where Joe Bell sent a looping header goalward which deceived Sam and dropped in for what looked like a dramatic winner.
But the Terrors are made of much sterner stuff these days, and piled froward with purpose from the restart. A deflected shot gave us a corner of our own which Jordan Clarke sent in at waist-height. Recent signing Lopes threw himself at the ball, connecting with a diving header which sped past keeper Zak Basey and sparked delirium amongst the travelling fans.
There was just time for our hosts to kick-off before the final whistle sounded, emphasising the last-second nature of the drama; the unwillingness to let our heads drop and settle for defeat could yet be a crucial factor in the matches that remain.
T&MU : Nabbad, Daly, Bagdonavicius (sub : Oke-William 82"), Hutchings (sub : Bangura-Williams 67"), Krokhin, Walters-Wright, Ako-Adjei, Gordon, Lopes, Clarke, Hudson (sub : Ceesay 84").
Subs not used : Hoy, Chang.
Attendance : 138
Report : Ed Parlett
Tuesday 28th February - T&MU 1-4 Walton & Hersham
It was a tale of three goalkeepers as we ultimately went down to a heavy defeat at the hands of Championship contenders Walton & Hersham, but the emphatic scoreline does not tell the full story of a dramatic evening at Imperial Fields.
Walton arrived boasting eight successive victories, and were big favourites to extend that run; but we had put together a mini run of form ourselves - four games unbeaten, including three clean sheets in that sequence - and were eager to test ourselves against one of the best teams the division had to offer.
The players exuded a quiet confidence beforehand, and that was borne out by a fast start as we dominated the early proceedings, and duly took the lead after just thirteen minutes of play.
A corner, swung in by Raees Bangura-Williams, caused panic in the visiting defence and as they attempted to lash the ball away it bounced up and caught a defender on the arm. Shouts for a penalty were waved away by the referee, but he did signal for a free-kick right on the edge of the area.
Raees stepped up, and curled a beauty beyond Liam Allen in the Walton goal; the Terrors were in front, and playing well.
Walton attempted to force an opening, but a rejuvenated home defence - with Nikolai Krokhin particularly impressive in recent weeks - held firm against their efforts, and Eddie Simon's header (which cleared the bar when he ought to have done better) was their only real chance for parity as time began to run out in the first period.
However, six minutes before the break, Tooting were plunged into disarray; Jordan Adeyemi hared away down the right flank and cut inside, heading for the penalty area. Home keeper Sam Nabbad had anticipated the move and came out of his box to challenge. As Adeyemi attempted to lift the ball over him, the keeper's instincts caused him to block the ball with his hands and there was little room for discretion from the referee, who consulted his assistant before sending Sam from the field of play.
With no keeper on the bench, Enoch Ako-Adjei donned the gloves, at least for the remainder of the half, and almost immediately distinguished himself with a fine save, scrambling across his goal to turn the ball wide down low to his right.
We changed things around at the break and substitute Malachi Hudson - rumoured to fancy himself a bit between the sticks - took over for the second period.
It was always going to be a backs-to-the-wall job in the time that remained, but the ten men defended heroically - and even threatened to extend their lead on a couple of rare breaks - and it looked as if a miracle might be in the offing as the visitors created, yet squandered, chance after chance after chance. Eddie Simon's drive with fifteen minutes to go, which cleared the crossbar when he had only Malachi to beat, seemed to sum up their evening to that point.
But it was a big ask to cling on until the final whistle and when the breakthrough came, eleven minutes from the end, it seemed inevitable that more would follow. In the event, goals from Joe Hicks, a brace from Simon, and an injury-time strike from Adeyemi kept the visitors in touch with Basingstoke. But what a fright they had been given and, boy, what might have been...
T&MU : Nabbad (S/O), Daly, Bagdonavicius, Hutchings, Kirlew-Wright, Krokhin, Ako-Adjei (sub : Hudson HT), Gordon, Lopes, Clarke (sub : Sesay 56"), Bangura-Williams (sub : Ceesay 73").
Subs not used : Oke-William, Chang.
Attendance : 133
Report : Ed Parlett
Saturday 4th March - T&MU 0-1 Southall
Another last minute goal consigned Tooting to damaging defeat.
Full report to follow...
Tuesday 7th March - Hanworth Villa 3-1 T&MU
Enoch Ako-Adjei scored a 2nd half penalty but it was too little too late after Hanworth took a 3-0 into the break.
Full report to follow...
Saturday 11th March - Westfield 2-0 T&MU
Two first half goals sent Tooting to defeat and leave them needing snookers to avoid relegation.
Full report to follow...
Saturday 18th March - T&MU 0-2 Sutton Common Rovers
A goal in each half virtually ensures relegation this season.
Full report to follow...
Saturday 25th March - Marlow 2-0 T&MU
It was the same old story as a goal in each half sent Tooting to their 6th consecutive defeat.
Full report to follow...
Saturday 10th April - Chertsey Town 2-1 T&MU
After Elijas Bagdonavicius gave us a 1st half lead we were undone by 2 second half goals which left us virtually relegated
Full report to follow...
Monday 12th March - T&MU 1-1 Chipstead
An Anuar Ceesay goal gave us the lead but we couldn't hold on and failure to win confirms our relegation from the Isthmian League after 67 years continuous membership.
Full report to follow...
Saturday 15th March - T&MU 0-1 Leatherhead
A late 2nd half goal gave all 3 points to Leatherhead.
Full report to follow...
Tuesday 18th March - T&MU 2-3 Ashford Town
Despite taking a 2 goal lead, Tooting contrived to be 3-2 behind and a down to 10 men before half time. There was no further score as Imperial Fields bade farewell to the Isthmian League.
Full report to follow...
Saturday 22nd April - Uxbridge 0-4 T&MU
Tooting departed the Isthmian League in a certain amount of style with a comfortable win at Uxbridge. Two goals from Elijas Bagdonavicius and one each from Nikolai Krokhin and Ryan Lopes ensured that the small but vocal Tooting contingent went home happy.
Full report to follow..