Match Report: Gareth Nicholas
There were two changes to the team that started Saturday’s victory against East Thurrock United, with Will Seager and Reece Myles-Meekums both keeping their places after coming off the bench. Meaning Alfie Young and Danny Barker replaced them on it.
The game was only a few minutes old when the visitors tested the reflexes of returning Tanners ‘keeper, Manny Agboola.
Firstly, Dayshonne Golding turned sharply on a Jesse Starkey cross to draw an equally sharp save out of the netminder. Then, less than sixty seconds later, Seager – against his former club – did likewise from the edge of the box, as the ball came back out to him.
Continuing on the attack, some neat approach play on the left wing, started with Myles-Meekums and continued with Luca Cocoracchio and Golding; releasing the instigator, who eventually cut inside before stinging the palms of Agboola once more.
‘Head responded via a centrally-placed free-kick that produced the opening yellow card of the evening for Marvin Armstrong, for bringing down the host’s top scorer, Alex Sami. Andy Briggs took the set-piece; beating the wall but not Goalkeeper, Harrison Male as he dived to his left to beat away the effort at the expense of a corner.
However, it was the men of Woodside that almost had their noses in front, when a rare fumble by the otherwise impressive Agboola required a second attempt at keeping out Ollie Pearce’s low drive.
Midway through the opening period, Reds – or Blues, to be precise – finally made their pressure count thanks to a piece of quick thinking by Golding.
He took a free-kick quickly, allowing Dean Cox to be released through the inside-right channel, from where he advanced before going on to drill a low effort into the opposite bottom corner; registering his maiden goal for the club in the process.
A Starkey stunner was inches away from doubling the advantage, as he unleashed a powerful attempt that needed Agboola to come to the home side’s rescue again by tipping it over the top.
Leatherhead weren’t out of it yet though, especially after Briggs’ floated free-kick to the far post picked out the diminutive Sami but he could only head down into the ground and watch on in agony, as the ball bounced above the bar and out for a goal-kick.
Similarly, at the recommencement of activity following the half-time break, Sami had another chance at the back stick; stretching every sinew in an airbourne effort to put the finishing touch to substitute, Bayley Mummery’s chipped delivery.
Armstrong, who had earlier teed up Starkey for that whistler that had had Agboola at full stretch, then embarked on one of his trademark bursts into the penalty area, this time off the left flank. His run only coming to a halt when David Ompreon took illegal action in doing so. Unfortunately, Golding’s Jorginho-inspired spot-kick merely led to a hop, skip and miss, as his shot from twelve yards was comfortably kept out by Agboola who did well to deny Myles-Meekums on the rebound.
Referee, Alex Bradley had a hand in the third goal; playing an excellent advantage by dismissing Craig McGee’s tug on Armstrong, thereby allowing Marvin, after initially stopping, to resume his sprint through the middle and supply Myles-Meekums to his right. The winger drifted inside and passed to Pearce who swivelled and buried the ball beyond Agboola.
Myles-Meekums took a similar route moments later, only on this occasion he danced his way across the eighteen yard box and away from a sea of Red shirts, then slotted home a decisive third strike of the evening.
Although, “Reds” were reminded that it’s never over ‘til it’s over when a defensive error resulted in Sami finding himself in acres of space, just outside the area. The shock of the sudden opportunity possibly causing him to curl the wrong side of the upright.
Six minutes remained when the visitors were awarded a free-kick by the corner flag that Golding took without hesitation. Sub, Diallo and Armstrong then proceed to lead the home rearguard another merry dance, before Mo rounded off a stunning move by making it four.
Time was nearly up when Adam Green’s floated set-piece delivery into the danger zone presented Munnery with a chance to restore some respectability to the scoreline, only for his lob to be caught under his own crossbar by Male.
Straight up the other end, however and Golding – looking to atone for his penalty failure – saw his last gasp effort deflected behind for a flag-kick that, in the end, came to nothing.
Four goals and fourth place were the fruits of a good night’s labour for The Boys in Blue.