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Epsom & Ewell 4 TMU 2

Combined Counties League Premier Division (south), Saturday 30 December 2023

A forgettable calendar year ended on a predictably low note as struggling Epsom & Ewell completed a league double over the Terrors for the first time since the 1932/33 season, when both teams competed in the nascent London League.


It was a Curate’s Egg of a performance from Tooting, who started in dominant fashion only for defensive frailties to rear their ugly head once again as we went behind on 23 minutes, in the hosts first real attack, when Luke Miller’s cross found Ethan Nelson-Roberts unmarked, and in acres of space which the home forward exploited to its fullest to head the ball home at the far post.


It didn’t take long for the Terrors to re-assert control, and we were back on terms shortly after when Mario Quiassaca was on hand to smash home a rebound after some good work by Shay Brennan to create the chance.


It got better minutes later, as Mario bagged his second with a powerful near-post header, and with Tooting well on top at this point, it looked only a matter of time before the lead was extended, as the Salts foundered.


However, as so often in recent times, the half-time break proved a turning point, and Epsom emerged for the second period with a renewed sense of purpose - no doubt after an ear-bashing from their manager in the dressing room.


Epsom were forced into a substitution early in the second half, as Oli Thompson left the field with a groin injury, but his replacement, Lewis Perch, was destined to play a game-changing role as he emerged from the bench.


As the steady rain turned to lashing sleet, Epsom adjusted to the conditions much the better, and were on terms just past the hour as the impressive Miller was on hand to fire a loose ball home and score a well-taken goal.


With our forward line increasingly isolated in the poor visibility, we were finding it hard to engineer anything positive in the opponent’s half of the field, and the restoration of the lead for the Salts was duly attained with twenty minutes left as the increasingly influential substitute Perch found Jaan Stanley who calmly side-footed in number three.


Tooting attempted to force their way back into the game, but were still struggling to create anything tangible - such a disappointment after the rampant first-half display - and we were punished for our toothlessness once again as Perch got some personal reward for his tireless running when he arrived seemingly unseen at the far post and slid in number four to seal the points with six minutes left. It put the cap on a miserable afternoon; hopefully a New Year will bring more positive results for Tooting & Mitcham.

Match report by Ed Parlett

TMU 1 Colliers Wood United 2

Combined Counties League Premier Division (south) Saturday 23 December 2023


Our last home game of 2023 went the way of too many others, as bottom club Colliers Wood overturned a half-time deficit to run out 2-1 winners and leave the Terrors without a win in seven league matches.


Tooting started positively, with Harvey Lavender hitting the angle of post and bar with a cross-cum-shot in the opening minutes, but the visitors had a chance to open the scoring themselves shortly after when a header went just past the post.


On twenty minutes, a driving run from Blake Loyza into the box was halted when he was brushed over by a defender; it looked a soft penalty award, but given we get denied so often with more clear-cut shouts, it was a welcome gesture and skipper Shay Brennan drove the spot-kick confidently past Wood ‘keeper Toby McKimm.


That should have been the platform Tooting needed to capitalise on against a team who had only secured one league win up until that point - and that way back at the start of the season.


Indeed, the lead could have been doubled not long after when Shay muscled a defender out of the way to seize control of the ball on the edge of the box,and his low cross found Mario Quiassaca whose neat turn and shot was deflected wide for a corner. Tooting continued to apply pressure as the corner was only half cleared, and Blake found himself with a chance but couldn’t summon enough power and McKimm held comfortably.


That we hadn’t managed to convert our superiority into goals was a worry at half-time, and we were duly punished early in the second half when a cross to the far post was converted by Coby Acquaye from about six inches.


With the home ranks severely depleted by injury, suspension and illness, gaffer Jamie Byatt picked himself to support Shay in attack and it was the player-manager who almost put the Terrors back in front when Shay twisted and turned, and sent the ball to the far post but it drifted away from Jamie and the chance was gone.


Just after Tooting had wasted another chance - sub Marcus Whittaker’s turn and cross being headed just over by Shay - the visitors were awarded a penalty, equally as soft as the one given to us. Jack Minchin showed superb reflexes to save the kick at mid-range to his left, but the ball was drilled back in and, amidst the confusion, found its way over the line via a home defender. There were so many bodies converging in the six-yard box, it was hard to pinpoint who had got the final touch.


Tooting attempted a grandstand finish in hopes of salvaging something from a difficult afternoon, but Jamie bursting clear of the defence and putting a shot wide when well-placed was the closest we came to a point.

The club raised £200 for St George's Hospital at the match. Thank you for your generosity.

Attendance 245

Match report by Ed Parlett

TMU 1 Horley Town 2

Attendance: 148

Tooting & Mitcham’s home games are following a sadly familiar pattern just at the moment, as Horley inflicted a fourth successive home defeat on the Terrors (fifth, if you count the League Cup tie against Hilltop at the beginning of December).


That pattern usually includes : some controversial refereeing decisions, a disallowed goal and a dismissal for the home side, and a late goal against just when it looks as if our luck has changed, and we’re about to take something positive from our endeavours.


Horley arrived in a similar barren run of form as ourselves - that they left with their first win in seven league outings owed much to two huge slices of luck - a cruelly deflected goal in the first half, and a rather fortunate winner seconds from the end of stoppage time.


They took the lead in the fifteenth minute, when a speculative long-range cross cum shot sturck a home defender and veered wildly away from Jack Minchin, making his debut in goal.


We might have been level by half-time, had Mario Quiassaca’s close-range strike stood for his second goal in a week, but the flag was up and the goal ruled out.


Callum Porteous had been the victim of a number of questionable challenges, none of which were punished more severely than with a yellow card so perhaps his frustration which caused him to retaliate - while not condoned - was at least understandable. Callum saw red for his actions as the match entered the last period, and Tooting were up against it again.


To their credit, the Terrors seemed to have done enough to salvage a point when Blake Loyza bundled home a free-kick in the second of six added minutes at the end of the game, but Horley still found time to forge upfield, and win a free-kick themselves. Daniel Stone’s kick, driven low goalwards, may have taken another slight deflection - off friend or foe, it was hard to say - but somehow snuck in for the points.

Match report by Ed Parlett

v Horley Town.jpg

Carshalton Athletic 3 TMU 1

Specsavers Surrey Senior Cup, 2nd round, Monday 11 December 2023


On a chilly night, not far from home, Tooting & Mitcham gave a good account of themselves against our local rivals from two steps above.


Pouncing on a mistake by home goalkeeper Aaron Jones,  who allowed a not-very-well-hit shot from Blake Loyza to slip through his fingers after just eleven minutes, Mario Quiassaca opened his account for the Terrors, bundling the ball home from close-range.


We weren’t in front for long, though, as Carshalton worked an opening through to Mark Marshall on the edge of the penalty area, and he sidestepped one defender before finding the bottom corner with Piotr Jachucha perhaps a little unsighted.


We went into the break on level terms - a fair reflection of the first half we had seen which, although dominated possession-wise by the Isthmian Premier Division side, had seen both teams with chances to inflict further damage on their opponents.


The second half played out much like the first, and Carshalton’s overall superiority  showed in their scoring of two more goals. Former hero of the Bog End, Danny Bassett got the first of them, but - sure - he generally scores anyway. His goal was a typically well-taken strike after good work by his team-mate Tommy Bradford to carve open the chance for him. Oluwabunmi Babajide made it three with another close-range finish. Goals two and three were plundered inside the last fifteen minutes just as it looked like we might keep our hosts frustrated.


Tooting’s performance, whilst reaping no rewards after the break, delighted the ample travelling support; the lads gave a good account of themselves against a strong Carshalton side, and whilst the scoreline suggests some comfort for the hosts, the game itself will have been one that the Robins were happy to get through unscathed.


For us, it is a step in the right direction - particularly in light of recent disappointments - it certainly felt like that from watching in the stands, at least. 


Match Report by Adam Best

T&MU 2 Tadley Calleva 3


Tooting are in a slump, and despite a much better display than we have seen in recent weeks, fell to a third successive home league defeat after two late goals completed the turnaround for our Hampshire visitors.


In truth, although Tadley-Calleva missed some glaring chances - most notably an open goal early on when the game was still goalless - we did more than enough to bank three points here, and the result just goes to show the fine margins a referee’s decisions can make when a club is chasing success, or looking to stave off failure.


We’d had much the better of the first half, taking the lead on twenty minutes thanks to Shay Brennan (who else?) who fired home a powerful half-volley from the edge of the box, after the ball had bobbled around with Tadley failing to apply the necessary clearance.


We’d had chances, some sparkling wing play from new signing Mario Quiassaca was followed by an incisive cross which Nathan Best could only half-connect with, and steer just wide. Justus Egbueri had escaped visiting shouts for a handball (it was ball to hand) to set up Shay who drove just across the face of goal and wide of the far post.


Tadley’s best chance had seen Kieran Rodgers beat Tom Theobald to a loose ball, and get it under control, but with the goal gaping, he steered his effort wide of the post.


But just when it looked as if Tooting would depart for the interval with a much-needed lead, our old defensive failings came back to haunt us again, with several opportunites to have leathered the ball away into the proverbial ‘Row Z’ not taken, which enabled Andrew Charsley to steer home a well-taken equaliser through a host of bodies seconds before the half-time whistle went.


The Terrors continued to look the better side as the second half progressed, with Tadley seemingly content to sit back and look to hit on the break, and we deservedly regained our lead on the hour mark when some superb wing-play from Nathan best culminated in a whipped-in cross which was forced home by some (legal) part of Shay’s anatomy.


The match hinged on an incident shortly afterwards, when Blake Loyza headed home ‘a third’ from a corner. The referee intially seemed to point to the centre-circle - surely indicating a goal - before changing his mind and disallowing the effort for a foul on the keeper. We were still reeling from this when Tadley broke, and Theo brought down a charging forward for a penalty, comfortably despatched by Kieran Rodgers with six minutes left. The sad inevitability of the last-minute winner, guided home by the same player, really did rub salt into what is beginning to look like a very gaping wound.

Match report by Ed Parlett

T&MU 1 Hilltop 2

Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup, 2nd Round, Tuesday 5 December 2023


Our Premier Division (north) counterparts started much the brighter, and had two opportunities to open the scoring in the first five minutes. One was saved well by Piotr Jachucha and the other blocked by a stretched Tooting defence.


However, on eight minutes we went in front when James Reed scored his first goal for the club, firing home a free-kick from just outside the box which went into the bottom left-hand corner.


Hopes that that would settle the Terrors down proved unfounded, as Hilltop bossed much of the rest of the half, growing in strength as they did so.


Just as it looked like Tooting would carry their slender advantage into the break, the visitors equalised on the stroke of half-time, when Hussein Mahdi fired home from the edge of the box.


As the second half progressed, Hilltop got stronger as the Terrors became increasingly ragged, and the visitors began to dominate, particularly down both flanks where they were fast and clever, and first to every loose ball.


Just before the hour mark, they deservedly took the lead after hesitation in the home defence led to Jordy Mumbiny forcing home a scrappy goal from close range.


Unfortunately, we never looked like threatening the visiting defence after that and the game petered out with Hilltop squandering several chances to further extend their lead.


I kept some stats as the evening progressed, and they make for pretty damning reading: we mustered four chances on target, and four off with two corners. Hilltop outdid us comprehensively with eight on target and ten off, forcing seven corners in the process. Unfortunately, that says it all as Tooting departed the League Cup with barely a whimper.


Deji Adeosun was one of the few home players who did make something of an impression on the night, and he was presented with the Ramble Inn Man-of-the-match award by Phil Steventon on behalf of the Aurora Centre at Merton College.    


Match Report by Stewart Handy

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