Saturday 24th July - T&MU 0 Carshalton Athletic 0
The traditional pre-season meeting with our near-neighbours the Robins provided no goals, but plenty of endeavour and some positive signs as competitive fixtures inch ever closer.
Two of the positives came in the form of newcomers to the first-team squad this pre-season; Andrew Sesay and Andre Fearon. Fearon, who has looked particularly impressive in his outings so far, tormented the Robins down the right flank until he was rested from the fray midway through the second half. He also showed a willingness to track back and do his share of defensive work, with some eye-catching tackles halting Carshalton attacks before they were able to threaten.
Sesay led the line in buccaneering fashion, showing good height to hold the ball up when needed and bring others into the play, allied with physical strength to hold off defenders, as well as being unafraid to shoot from distance with power when the opportunity presented itself.
The Terrors had much the better of the first half, and could count themselves unfortunate not to have anything to show for their efforts with Patrick Ohman in the visitor’s goal making several fine stops to keep his sheet clean.
Most notable amongst them was just before the half-hour mark when Fearon got away down the right, played a dangerous ball back into the box which Daniel Williams connected powerfully with, forcing Ohman into a spectacular dive to his left to push the ball away for a corner.
Kyrique Garvey-Williams, who missed much of last season after a nasty injury sustained in a friendly against this very opposition, made a welcome return to action and showed the lay-off had done nothing to diminish his passing ability. He played a superb through ball to bisect the defence and give Williams another run and shot at goal, but Ohman saved once again, with his legs this time.
Carshalton were being forced to defend deep, and were restricted to attacking on the break. One such effort just before half-time saw the ball flashed across goal with their striker just unable to connect with a meaningful touch.
HT : T&MU 0 Carshalton Athletic 0
Tooting resumed their assault on goal as the second half started and some lovely interplay, started by Fearon and then worked across the edge of the penalty area by Dan Williams and Jake Rose led to Sesay firing a shot just over the bar.
A free-kick awarded on the edge of the box a few minutes later saw Rose eyeing a shot at goal but his curled attempt also cleared the upright. Still, it seemed as if the hosts were getting closer and closer to a breakthrough.
With a multitude of second half substitutions, understandable in this type of fixture, the game began to lose its shape somewhat, as both sides tired in the heat.
There were shouts for a penalty as substitute Kevin Turbi seemed to be pulled down in the area, but the referee had possibly seen an offence prior to this and gave the free-kick the other way.
Carshalton almost nicked it late on when a forward found himself well-placed in the penalty area but his weak shot failed to trouble Morgan Campbell in the home goal, and the referee called a halt to proceedings shortly after.
Another fine workout then, and we move on to a Tuesday evening back pitch friendly against Balham before the serious business begins with an FA Cup visit from Erith & Belvedere on the 7th August.
T&MU : Campbell, Belford, Coleman (Kolokhin), Hamlin, Waters (Ceesay), Fearon (Jelley), Rose (Stewart), Garvey-Williams (Moco), Wedgeworth (Bassett), Williams (Turbi), Sesay (Dixon).
Saturday 17th July - Colliers Wood Utd. 2 T&MU 2
Pre-season preparations continued apace at the Wibbandune Sports Ground, as we were given a rigorous workout on a sun-drenched afternoon.
Colliers Wood, trialling popular former Terror Sol Paterson-Bohner, were fast out of the blocks and Morgan Campbell was beaten by a fine long-range strike which put the hosts ahead after just fifteen minutes of play.
With youngster Andre Fearon showing up particularly well down the right flank, Tooting attempted to force their way back into the game, and were unlucky not to equalise shortly afterwards when Dontai Stewart’s lay-off on the edge of the box gave Jamarie Brissett a sight of goal, but his measured effort drifted just wide.
Just past the half-hour, the home side doubled their advantage. Although Campbell showed good reflexes to keep out the initial shot, he was powerless to prevent a forward latching onto the rebound and touching in number two.
It was a scoreline that was somewhat against the run of play as the Terrors seemed to be enjoying the bulk of the possession and, but for Jake Maddock in the host’s goal, would probably have been on the scoresheet. He did well to hold onto a Mark Waters drive, fired in from outside the penalty area, and showed confidence taking the ball in the air against the powerful Stewart.
Just before the break, another run by Fearon saw him beat his marker for pace as he surged into the area, and the defender was panicked into a rash challenge which gave the referee no option but to point to the spot.
Dontai stepped up to take the kick, but didn’t get much power on it and Maddock was able to get down to his left to keep it out.
HT : Colliers Wood Utd. 2 T&MU 0
The Terrors began the second period with an enhanced sense of purpose and Jamarie Brissett danced his way down the left flank just a couple of minutes in, leaving the full back trailing in his wake, and laid the ball back to Dontai whose effort was well struck and looked certain to open our account for the afternoon. Maddock had other ideas, though, and somehow got down low to fingertip the effort round the post and add to his catalogue of first half saves.
However, it only took a further five minutes for Tooting to finally get on the scoresheet, when a long ball out of defence was controlled superbly by Daniel Williams on the edge of the box, and then fired in spectacularly with his second touch, giving the in-form keeper no chance.
The deserved goal preceded a sustained spell of pressure from the visitors, and Williams had another effort charged down shortly after. Jake Rose was beginning to orchestrate play in the middle of the park and Maddock was being tested once again.
Just past the hour mark, Dontai Stewart was brought down on the edge of the area giving us a free-kick in a very promising position, but the resultant effort was deflected behind for a corner. From the ensuing kick, Nikolai Krokhin powered in a header which Maddock managed to keep out with his toes, but the ball ran loose and Krokhin forced home the equaliser.
Tooting had the momentum now, and should have gone on to add further goals in the time that remained. Jamarie dragged a shot just wide of the post after another jinking run, and then forced Maddock into another save as the clock ticked on.
Colliers Wood were visibly feeling the pace, after putting so much into the opening hour, and were restricted to long-range efforts for much of the second half, though Morgan Campbell had to be alert to touch one of these over the bar as the game entered its final ten minutes.
With rolling substitutions, Andre Fearon (who had departed earlier) returned to the fray, and very nearly secured victory as he twisted, turned and fired a shot in from just inside the box but Maddock, perhaps deservedly, had the final say of the afternoon by once again pushing an effort round the post.
So, honours even after an entertaining afternoon, and a useful workout was completed ahead of the serious business which starts in just under a month’s time.
T&MU : Campbell, Mbangui, Felguerias, Waters, Belford, Coleman, Fearon, Brissett, Williams, Rose, Stewart. SUBSTITUTES (rolling) included : Daly, Creasey, Kolokhin