Report: Whyteleafe 2-1 Beckenham Town
A glorious Tuesday evening at Church Road. A 26-degrees C temperature at kick-off time was probably more suited to sitting in the back garden or enjoying a beer in the Whyteleafe Clubhouse but we had the little matter of Southern Counties East League side, Beckenham Town to attend to.
Good to see former Leafe right-back Harvey Brand back at Church Road starting for Beckenham Town.
Our visitors are a handy side and have been in great form pre-season, beating Cray Wanderers last time out and also romping to an 11-0 win away to Arundel recently, too.
This was a hastily arranged game after our scheduled pre-season fixture at home to Tooting & Mitcham was called off. We play them in the FA Trophy in a few weeks, though.
Leafe were again without our captain, Nathan Campbell but with his deputy Jamie McGeoghegan in superb form Harry Hudson was confident going into the match.
A pretty scrappy opening fifteen minutes with no real action of note. However, Leafe striker Ronnie Sobowale found himself through on goal and was ready to pull the trigger when he was unceremoniously upended from behind by a Beckenham defender. Ronnie took the penalty and duly opened the scoring taking his tally to eight pre-season goals.
All was quiet until the 23rd minute when a seemingly routine free-kick about 25-yards out on the Leafe right saw Beckenham’s number 6 strike a beautiful free kick to level the scores. Great striker it has to be said.
However, it was Whyteleafe who looked the likelier to take the lead with midfielders Mannie Mensah and Antonio Walker-Barth going close.
The second half was another cagey affair with Beckenham having their share of chances although the Leafe defence superbly marshalled by centre-back Corey Holder held firm. Meanwhile, Leafe’s midfield, with Bentley Graham, having his best game of pre-season, in a starring role beginning to un-pick the Beckenham defence.
The decisive goal coming in the 73rd minute thanks to another penalty this time converted by Jordan Clarke with Leafe remaining strong and seeing out the game for a hard-earned 2-1 victory.
A quick note on returning striker, Junior Aikhionbare, who played a 15-miute cameo against Peacehaven looking like he needed the run out after injury. Here he played most of the second half and looked sharp and combative. Nice to see him back.
We roll on now to a short journey down the hill to BetVictor Premier side, Merstham, this Saturday (July 27 – 3pm), which will be another tough test – arguably the toughest yet – although we go into the game unbeaten in five pre-season games thus far, with confidence high.
Next game at Church Road is on Saturday, August 3 when we entertain BetVictor Prem outfit Worthing FC – 3pm.
Whyteleafe line-up – Tyler McCarthy, Renadie Masumpu, Jamie McGeoghegan, Corey Holder (capt), Matt O’Donoghue; Antonio Walker-Barth, Mannie Mensah, Bentley Graham, Tre Daley, Jordan Clarke; Ronnie Sobowale
Subs – Dino, Martin Sontan, Ricardo Thompson, JJ Malcolm, Junior Aikhonbare, Kadeen, Malachi Simpson