Here’s a catch-up of what’s been happening with the Leafe since our last article.
In the middle of December we made the trip to south-east London, to take on league whipping boys Bermondsey FC. We immediately put the bottom-place club under pressure, before taking the lead through some great play from Mico, who put Adjei through for a tap-in. 0-1 to the Leafe.
Against the run of play, the home side drew level in the 12th minute, giving them a rush of confidence and leading to some nervy moments for us and a slightly more even game. Normal service was then resumed via Adjei, who bullied the defenders and smashed the ball into the top corner. 1-2 Leafe.
The second half saw some scintillating play from us, leading to a further five goals and a consolation goal for a poor (on the day) home side. The game ends 2-7 (Adjei scoring five of those!).
Over the Christmas break the boys played a few friendlies to keep sharp, with some promising performances and results.
Heading home with the points
The second week of January, and we were finally back to league business, facing Lewisham FC away (who were, at the time, second from bottom in the league). We took the lead after four minutes, with Alaka pouncing on a poor clearance from their keeper to slot home for 0-1. Anyone hoping for another Bermondsey result were quickly brought back down to earth, with Lewisham’s battling style on a sticky, rough pitch. Chances were created by both teams and a glorious opportunity for the home side arrived just before the break, with the ball drilled across the goal. Fortunately, no-one managed to make contact and we went in at the break one up, after a very tight game.
The second half saw a great free kick from our skipper Alfie Clark fly towards the top corner, only bettered by an unbelievable save from the Lewisham keeper. Just a minute later and it was that man Ashley-Paul Robinson, with a trademark screamer from the edge of the box, making it 0-2. Eight minutes later Lewisham responded with a long-range effort, to get back in the game: 1-2. A storm of biblical proportions broke out but still they played on. Chances fell to both teams, with one in particular looking inevitable that the home side would draw level, but the gods were obviously smiling on us as it somehow didn’t go in. We removed our hearts from our mouths and headed home with the three points.
Next up we were in midweek FA Premier Cup action to Croydon FC, at the atmosphere sponge that is the Croydon Arena (for the third time this season). Both our previous encounters had been tight affairs and this proved to be exactly the same. A number of chances fell to both teams during the 90 minutes, with both keepers in fine form, and the game ended 0-0. Penalties it was. Unfortunately, our penalties caused more threat to local wildlife than the Croydon goal: we lost 4-2 and were out of the competition.
(Above: AFC Whyteleafe Vs Croydon FC. Photo courtesy of Andrew Crane)
A comedy of errors
And for our final game update, we ‘welcomed’ Lydd FC to Church Road. The Kent coast club sit third in the league and the encounter at their place earlier in the season was a feisty affair, to say the least: one of our men was sent off and another carried off (we were lucky it wasn’t more). The first half saw some glorious football from us. Former Real Madrid trialist Gaspar Mico was in scintillating form, culminating in a wonder goal after weaving in and out of players and unleashing a shot into the top corner: 1-0.
Mico, Tedros and young Jake Parrott (on his home debut) pulled the strings which led to a goal for Adjei (7 in 4 now for the rejuvenated striker): 2-0. Leafe then in total control until a comedy of errors in defence gifted Lydd a goal just before the break. 2-1.
The second half saw our guests come out rejuvenated and fired up (while for us it was the opposite), turning the game on its head: only some fine saves from Dan Smith kept them at bay. In the 79th minute, Temi Alaka was sent off after responding to provocation from a Lydd player (who was revelling in his role as the afternoon’s pantomime villain). Ten minutes later and two Leafe players go down injured.
The ref (who had been truly shocking) insisted on both players leaving the pitch and, while we were down to eight men(!), Lydd drew level from a free kick. The game ended 2-2 and we only have ourselves to blame. It’s Groundhog Day, as we throw away another lead.
We have now somehow managed to throw away 22 points from winning positions in just half a season, and are currently positioned mid-table. Relegation or the play-offs are both a (remote) possibility.
However: win, lose or draw, Church Road is still a great place to cheer on your local club, so come down and support the boys!
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