Report: Whyteleafe 3-1 Faversham Town
There were two visitors to Church Road on Saturday. One was very welcome in the shape of Faversham Town FC, the other, Storm Dennis, not so! Thankfully for Leafe fans, the team beat both of them!
Regardless of that the Leafe were keen to build on last week’s excellent away win at Sevenoaks and with our visitors struggling for form, Whyteleafe boss Harry Hudson was hopeful of a good result.
However, one thing is for sure this season, in the BetVictor Isthmian South East division, is that on any given day the form book can go out of the window and Hudson is painfully aware that he can’t take any results for granted.
“It can be frustrating at times as we can easily get a good result against teams above or around us in the league and then slip up against a so-called lower side. On our day we can beat anyone, though,” he said pre-game.
A great start for the Leafe with Ryan Gondoh netting a peach of a free kick from about 20-yards in the fifth minute. Leafe fans who remember last season’s 6-1 demolition of Faversham were possibly hoping for more of the same.
However, against the run of play, Faversham’s impressive striker, Emmanuel Oliwasemo, capitalised on a mix-up in the home defence to out the visitor’s level in the fourteenth minute. Leafe were ahead again though just two minutes later after a great move down the right, instigated by that man Gondoh again, whose lovely far post cross was met by Andrew Sesay netting on his Leafe league debut after his recent move from Three Bridges FC.
Sesay looks a very skilful left winger and until he tired in the second half, he was extremely lively and had a good battle with his opposing right-back that he probably just shaded. Similarly, Gondoh was again on fire and he truly is a proper class act. A great signing by Harry Hudson from Concord Rangers.
To give Faversham their due, although very much chasing the game and on the back foot, they could have had an equaliser on the hour after a good move, with Oliwasemo again at the heart of their best work. His cross ended up at the feet of midfielder Loynes, who looked certain to score the leveller from about ten yards out centre of goal only for Leafe keeper McCarthy, to pull off a stunning save. Tyler has been in impressive form of late.
With our midfield dynamo Mannie Mensah missing again – thankfully he looks close to a return - Harry Hudson signed an able deputy this week in the shape of Alistair Gordon from VCD Athletic and he had a good debut and looks an accomplished player, settling in nicely alongside Bentley Graham in the middle of the park.
With skipper, Nathan Campbell still out injured and fellow centre-back Ricardo Thompson picking up an injury in training on Thursday evening, seventeen-year old Dami Olorunnisome was called on once again to play out of position in the heart of the Leafe defence and just like last Saturday at Sevenoaks he put in another great performance. A quick word for fellow centre-back, Jamie McGeoghegan, who once again put in a calm and dominant shift at centre-back.
At the start of the season, Jamie was reserve centre-half who played when necessary. However, due to injuries and suspensions, he’s pretty much been an ever-present since the autumn and could well be a candidate for player of the season, surely, such is his consistency. The Glaswegian has definitely turned into a firm fan favourite.
Talking of player of the season, last season’s winner of the Leafe fans accolade, Matt O’Donoghue has quietly been returning to form in recent games and had his best game of the season against Faversham, picking up a deserved first goal of the season and Leafe’s third in the 78th minute. A score that pretty much ended Faversham’s brave defiance.
In the likes of Dami, left-back Lesley Duru (missing due to injury in this game) and Remell Grieson (a sub yesterday) Harry’s latest crop of youngsters look promising to say the least and indicates how much extra depth there is in the squad this season. He and assistant, Calum have total faith in their younger players.
When Campbell and Mensah return from injury, Harry and Calum will have a selection dilemma such is the competition for places in the starting eleven. Leafe now move onto a second round Surrey Senior Cup encounter in Woking on Tuesday evening and visit Badshot Lea FC of the Combined Counties Premier. If we pass that test, we visit local rivals Chipstead in the next round.
Leafe return to league action next Saturday and entertain Ramsgate, languishing in nineteenth place in the league, although Harry Hudson will be looking for revenge following the 3-1 defeat in Kent earlier in the season…see you there.
Leafe line-up – 3-4-3 - McCarthy, Gordon, O’Donoghue, McGeoghegan, Olorunnisome, Holder, Gondoh, Graham, Parker, Andrews, Sesay. Subs – Masumpu, Hyman, Sobowale, Sontan, GriesonMatch report by Steve Hole