MATCH REPORTS OCTOBER
Saturday 16th October 2021 Tooting & Mitcham United 0 Bracknell Town 1
Ugly scenes after the final whistle undermined a fascinating encounter at Imperial Fields on Saturday.
Daryl Coleman received a straight red card for his part in the post-match fracas, as Ahkeem Belford was cautioned for his behaviour in the unseemly melée. It was a shame, as the match itself had provided an interesting tactical contest - a story of punch and counter-punch with one goal always looking likely to be enough to separate the sides.
High-flying Bracknell dominated possession early on, with the Terrors struggling to get into the visitor’s half of the field. Thankfully, Nathan Daly was back to fitness and restored to the back three - which gave a far more secure look to the defence than has been the case in recent weeks.
With twelve minutes gone, the dangerous David Tarpey slipped past Anuar Ceesay and powered into the area; Ahkeem had read the danger well though, and got back to make an important block. From the subsequent corner, Gary Ross showed good hands to take the ball cleanly in the air, as he was to do all afternoon.
Academy graduate Malachi Cole was showing promise in the middle of the park, and he displayed good invention to seize on a loose pass and feed Stefan Illic who returned the ball to Cole but his low cross back across the six yard box was well cut out by a defender.
The Terrors were growing in confidence, and Andre Fearon went on a mazy run only to be bundled down just inside the penalty area; it looked a decent shout for a penalty, but the referee was not interested.
We were enjoying our best spell of the game now, and were inches away from taking the lead just before the half hour. Daniel Williams won possession in midfield, beat a defender and laid the ball off nicely to Mark Waters for a trademark long-range strike; his effort beat Michael Eacott in the Bracknell goal, but cannoned back off the crossbar to the relief of the visitors.
They took advantage of this good fortune just minutes later, when Sebastian Bowerman found freedom on the left-hand side and sent over a threatening cross to the far post where Jack Dean got just enough power on his header to squeeze it in past Ross.
HT : T&MU 0 Bracknell Town 1
The second half began where the first had left off; neither side was prepared to push the boat out too far with Bracknell content to protect what they had, and Tooting to play a patient game in the hope of taking one of the few chances that might come our way.
Just before the hour mark, the Robins almost doubled their advantage with a carbon copy of the move which had led to their goal. This time it was Michael Atkinson who crossed for Daniel Baylis; his header looked in from the press-box, but thankfully had nestled in the side-netting.
Jamarie Brissett had replaced Andre Fearon at half-time, and just past the hour Billy Brown made a welcome re-appearance from the bench after a long absence through injury. Both substitutes gave us a much-needed spark as we started to make inroads down the flanks at last. Billy’s pace will always cause problems for defenders, and he was quickly in the thick of the action. Getting away from his marker down the right, he whipped in a dangerous looking cross, Stefan Illic brought it down nicely but seemed to be tripped as he attempted to engineer a shooting chance. Once again, the referee turned a deaf ear to our appeals for a spot-kick.
Jamarie made a spirited burst down the left and pulled the ball back into a crowded penalty area, where it pinged around as if in a pinball machine. It could have gone anywhere, but ended up going out for a corner which came to nothing.
As the game entered the last ten minutes, it still looked as if we could get a point out of the afternoon. Stefan Illic, who was enjoying a fine game at the start of his third stint at the club, set Brissett away with a fine through pass; Jamarie cut inside the full-back and angled a shot toward the far post, but Eacott pushed it around for a corner.
In stoppage-time, we pushed everybody forward in a desperate last throw of the dice. This included Gary Ross going up for a set piece, and we were very nearly caught out on the break. A long ball out of defence saw Ross and David Tarpey engage in a race to see who could get to the loose ball first. It was neck and neck as Tarpey got a touch on the ball and took it round him; as he sent it toward an empty net, Nathan Daly had also somehow managed to get back and just about hooked the ball away from the goal line as the final chance went begging.
With the referee blowing the final whistle shortly after, tempers flared as the teams made their way off the field - resulting in the undignified scenes which marred an otherwise hard-fought encounter. We shall have to wait and see what the repercussions might be in the weeks ahead.
T&MU : Ross, Hamlin, Waters, Daly, Belford, Ceesay (Brown 66”), Coleman, Williams, Illic, Fearon (Brissett 46”), Cole (Moco 76”).
SUBSTITUTES NOT USED : Mbangui, Nunes.
Attendance : 269
Saturday 9th October 2021 Tooting & Mitcham United 1 Whitehawk 4 (FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round)
The Terrors’ Jekyll and Hyde season continued as we were overwhelmed by an impressive Whitehawk side on a balmy afternoon at Imperial Fields.
With three consecutive wins in all competitions behind us, it felt like the corner had been turned after an indifferent start; but those thoughts were soon dispelled as we were second best in all departments to our visitors.
Just like last week, we were a goal down inside the opening five minutes as a clipped ball over the top found Henry Muggeridge and he controlled it well, turned and fired past Gary Ross.
Unlike last week, we were unable to hit back immediately - and fell further behind on twelve minutes when the impressive Javaun Splatt powered down the left flank, broke into the box and powered the ball in from a tight angle.
Tooting were understandably shellshocked, and on fifteen minutes Eric Mbangui brought down Stephen Okoh leaving referee Rhys Battye with no option but to award a spot-kick. Splatt stepped up and struck a firm penalty, but Ross dived full-length to his left to make a fine save.
Any hopes of a reprieve were soon dashed, however, when an overhit back pass left Daryl Coleman in no-man’s-land; he was robbed by Splatt who ran on un-challenged to slot past Ross and make amends for his penalty failure.
The Hawks were visibly growing in confidence now - winning every aerial challenge, being first to every loose-ball - and even started introducing party tricks such as back-heels and fancy flicks as we were being given a footballing lesson on our own turf.
In truth, it could easily have been more before half-time as Omarr Lawson set Okoh free and his goalbound effort was cleared off the line by Daryl, showing good pace to get back in time.
HT : T&MU 0 Whitehawk 3
Whatever the managers said to the players at the break, it clearly had some effect as the Terrors came out with renewed determination at the start of the second period. Peter Wedgeworth galloped down the left and had a sniff of a chance from a tight angle but Nathan Stromberg in the visitor’s goal pushed the ball out on the first occasion he’d really been tested. Daniel Williams was starting to get into things down the flanks, and he whipped in a useful looking cross that deflected into Stromberg’s chest.
When the usually deadly Andrew Sesay got away from his marker and onto a long ball through the middle, it looked as if we were finally going to get on the scoresheet but he wasn’t able to keep his shot down and another chance had gone begging.
Ten minutes into the half we had our clearest opening yet - Williams got clear down the right and measured a lovely ball into the six-yard box; Mark Waters got a firm header on it but Stromberg somehow managed to get down low and make a stunning one handed save from the downward header to preserve his clean sheet.
Having been unable to take any of those chances, it seemed inevitable that the Hawks would punish us again, and they did just that with their first real attack of the half on the hour mark; James Fraser timed his delivery perfectly to free Okoh for a clear shot at goal, and he duly made it 4-0, to end any hopes we had of a dramatic comeback.
We did manage to keep up our improved showing after that, though it looked like we were fated to end the afternoon with a blank in our offence column when Stromberg pushed Williams’ 75th minute penalty onto a post; the spot-kick having been awarded when substitute Malachi Cole was up-ended on the edge of the box.
But Waters’ long-range drive seven minutes from time did find it’s way past the keeper, denying him a shutout and giving the home fans something to cheer on a day when we exited another knockout competition; in time-honoured fashion, we can at least now say we are ‘concentrating on the league’.
T&MU : Ross, Mbangui, Waters, Belford, Brissett, Coleman, Williams, Nunes, Moco (Cole 70”), Sesay (Krokhin 64”), Wedgeworth (Ceesay 61”).
SUBS NOT USED : al-Haidery, Campbell, Fearon.
Attendance : 288
Saturday 2nd October 2021 Tooting & Mitcham United 7 Northwood 3
As the heavens opened in the skies above Imperial Fields, so the floodgates opened on the pitch below, resulting in a ten goal extravaganza and another three point haul for the Terrors to continue our surge up the table.
Northwood arrived having shipped seven goals at home to league leaders Uxbridge in their last outing a week prior, and looked short on confidence early on as we spurned two good opportunities to take the lead in the opening five minutes.
First - with little more than a minute gone - Andrew Sesay got away down the right, beat his marker and laid the ball across the six-yard box for the arriving Daniel Williams who managed to send a toe-poked effort toward goal, only for keeper Montel Joseph to save with his legs.
A minute or so later it was Jamarie Brissett’s turn to show his pace down the opposite flank; he cut inside, headed for the edge of the box, opened his body and attempted to guide a measured strike in at the far post but just drifted it wide.
It was an encouraging start, yet after eight minutes it was the visitors who went in front with their first attack of the match. Matt Ayres made space for himself in a crowded penalty area, and hit a firm strike which Morgan Campbell parried, but the loose ball fell to Connor Cullen who buried it.
The home crowd were stunned into silence, and could have been forgiven for thinking it was going to be another one of ‘those’ afternoons, but thankfully we had little time to let negative thoughts creep in as Sesay picked up a nice pass from Dean Hamlin midway inside the Northwood half and unleashed an unstoppable drive from twenty yards out that flew into the top corner.
Almost immediately, a corner headed down gave Hamlin a chance but he was unable to keep his shot down and fired over the bar.
It didn’t take long for the Terrors to go in front though, as Ollie Bennett broke up Northwood’s possession just outside their own penalty area, and laid it off for Brissett who curled in another beauty from distance.
But all that good work was undone shortly after, as William Dupray took advantage of being given the freedom of the Tooting six yard box and tapped in the equaliser from a left wing cross; 2-2, and we’d barely reached the quarter hour mark!
On twenty-six minutes we breathed a sigh of relief when a Northwood corner caught on the wind, wrongfooted Campbell, but fortunately caught the top of the bar and went over.
We had a shout for a penalty shortly after when Brissett tried his luck down the right flank this time, and drove a ball into the box which hit some part of Arnold Linturn’s anatomy; the Tooting players and fans thought it was his hand, but the referee indicated it was the shoulder, and no spot-kick was forthcoming.
It didn’t matter though as ten minutes before the break, Mark waters exchanged passes with Sesay and set off into the area for an inch-perfect return which he buried across the keeper in at the far post for a slender half--time lead.
HT : T&MU 3 Northwood 2
We came out all guns blazing at the start of the second period, and Montel Joseph had to be alert to make a fine save as he palmed Ollie Bennet’s long-range drive around the post in the opening minutes.
The Terrors kept the pressure on and took a two goal lead for the first time ten minutes in; Ahkeem Belford played the ball forward, Daniel Williams laid a delightful ball into the path of Sesay who gleefully buried his second past an increasingly beleaguered Joseph. A minute later, Sesay returned the favour and Williams touched in his cross to make it 5-2.
Another ten minutes passed, and it was 6-2; Wedgeworth’s cross from the left eluded everyone, Jamarie retrieved it on the right and laid it off to Mark Waters who tried another curler from the edge of the box. Joseph could only parry the effort, and it bounced up for Sesay to head in his hat-trick.
Northwood’s heads had dropped now, and Belford set up Williams for his second as Dan controlled his ball into the area, showed cheeky footwork to leave two defenders floundering - and stroked home his second to complete the home scoring.
It wasn’t the last addition to the scoresheet though, Shakeel Morris slotted in number three for the Woods with time running out; but was little consolation for them on another afternoon when they’d been comprehensively beaten. With this win, Tooting moved into the top half of the table for the first time this campaign - and will hope this is the catalyst for more consistent form in the months ahead.
T&MU : Campbell, Hamlin, Waters, Krokhin (Mbangui 46”), Belford, Brissett, Williams, Bennett, Moco (Nunes 69”), Sesay (Ceesay 72”), Wedgeworth.
SUBS NOT USED : Fearon, Garvey-Williams.