Saturday 11th September 2021                    T&MUFC 4 Redbridge 1 (London Senior Cup, 1st Round)


After a disappointing start to our season, things finally kicked into gear with a four goal blast within the opening half an hour as we opened our defence of the London Senior Cup with a bang.


Redbridge arrived at Imperial Fields top of the Essex Senior League, and with a 100% away record. Although they had reportedly made a number of changes to their last starting eleven, this is exactly the sort of opposition we have struggled to impose ourselves on in the past, so it was heartening to witness a performance and scoreline that accurately represented the gulf between the teams.


Besides, we were without several key players ourselves, and made a few changes to keep the team fresh ahead of an important midweek league battle with neighbours Chipstead.


In came ‘cup keeper’ Morgan Campbell to give Gary Ross an afternoon off between the posts, and with club captain Daryl Coleman out for a few weeks, Nikolai Krokhin was given another chance to show what he can do, as was academy graduate Pedro Moco in the middle of the park.


The team settled quickly, and stamped their authority on the game inside the very first minute; a long ball through the middle saw visiting goalkeeper Joshua Chebesi make a hash of his clearance, and left Daniel Williams with a tap-in for his second goal of the season.


Just two minutes later, a corner from the right caused further confusion in the Redbridge defence and following a game of head-tennis in the six yard box, Nathan D’Hoye was relieved to clear the danger by heading over the bar.


Buoyed by the early goal, the home side were settling nicely into a slick passing game, and some good work from Peter Wedgeworth on the left followed by a flick on from Ollie Bennett seemed to give Williams another shooting chance, but this time the harassed visiting defence managed to crowd him out.


Ahkeem Belford launched a long ball out of defence, and Andrew Seesay showed good pace and strength to beat his man, but somewhat overhit the cross with attackers expecting a shorter ball, and the move came to nothing. It was all Tooting at this stage though, and we were still inside the first ten minutes!


On the ten minute mark, Anuar Cesay got away from his marker with some quick footwork down the right, and cut the ball back inch-perfectly for the advancing Mark Waters who drove home number two from the edge of the area, giving Chebesi no chance this time. It was no more than the hosts deserved for such a powerful opening.


As the Terrors drove forward again from the restart, Seesay once again showed good feet just inside the box, but this time he was chopped down and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.


Daniel Williams took on the responsibility of a task that hasn’t always been as straightforward for us as it should appear, but his kick was cool and accurate and he stroked home the third.


On twenty-six minutes, another piercing through ball bisected the visitor’s defence, and Williams seized onto it as the keeper advanced, missed his kick, and allowed Dan to complete his hat-trick with ease.


The tie was effectively over as a contest, even at this relatively early stage, and the shellshocked visitors finally managed to relax a bit and put their game together. Ocsar Shelvey won the ball in the middle of the park and set Farah Shakur away down the right, but with a range of options in the penalty area he elected to go for goal himself and his effort from a tight angle did not trouble Campbell in the Tooting goal.


HT : T&MU 4 Redbridge 0


Having scored within sixty seconds of the start, we almost repeated the trick in the second period as Anuar Ceesay powered down the right once again, bamboozled his marker with fancy footwork and drove into the penalty area where he unleashed a thumping effort from a tight angle that just cleared the angle of post and bar. It served notice that we were in no mood to lighten up as the afternoon progressed.


Minutes later Andrew Sesay broke through the middle, and tried to lift it over Chebesi as he advanced, but the keeper managed to block the effort over the bar.


Redbridge were creating more themselves by this stage though and a decent run by Herman Mwanza saw him beat Dean Hamlin, but once inside the area he was not able to keep his shot down and slashed it wildly high and wide when well placed.


Ahkeem Belford had to be alert to snuff out the danger after a good passing move between Darnell Bromfield and Sak Hassan threatened damage once again, and Ibrahim Kehinde found himself clear of the defence on the hour mark but failed to take advantage and hit his shot weakly at Campbell.


It was a good spell by the visitors, and Nikolai Krokhin showed a cool head to dispossess Kehinde inside the area when a mistimed challenge could have given away a penalty. From the resulting corner, the Redbridge striker got a firm head on the ball but headed it just over; it was the closest the visitors had come though as they sought something tangible from the afternoon.


As the game wound down, Wedgeworth curled a free-kick just past the post and substitute Carlos Simao caused havoc with his first involvement when he outsmarted a defender and played the ball back to Ollie Bennett whose shot was well held by Chebesi.


In injury-time, the visitors grabbed a consolation and denied Campbell his clean-sheet when Kehinde got some reward for his endeavours by lifting the ball over the advancing keeper. It was merely an addendum to the record books though, as we ran out comfortable winners and hopefully can build on this momentum in the weeks ahead.


T&MU : Campbell, Hamlin, Waters, Krokhin, Belford, Moco, Williams (Akinnibi 62”), Bennett, Cesay (Simao 75”), Sesay, Wedgeworth (Bassett 71”).

SUBS NOT USED : Appoh, Garvey-Williams.


Att. : 168