Winning Whyteleafe go joint topAn early goal from Daniel Ajakaiye should have settled Leafe down into a rhythm of play which would have seen a comprehensive victory of the League's new boys and early strugglers, Shoreham. Frustratingly though the home side rarely took the game to their visitors and open chances seemed few and far between. Often it seemed the patient build up approach through midfield was dismissed as long balls to the front pairing of Tommy Hutchings and Daniel Ajakaiye was favoured. But this produced little excitement as the Shoreham central defence dealt with this tactic comfortably.
Whilst Shoreham rarely looked like scoring from open play, as the match wore on the lack of a second goal made the home support slightly nervous of a disastrous end to the game. Eventually though the breakthrough came on 81 minutes was made as an excellent backpost header from John Scarborough somehow found its way into the visitors' net via Tommy Hutchings' back. The final minutes of the game saw Whyteleafe attack at will but with no more goals to show for it when the final whistle came.
The three points put Leafe among a group of four teams on 13 points and in second place by virtue of superior goal difference over Walton Casuals and Lewes but behind Carshalton Athletic on alphabetical order.
Report from Brian Davis.
Whyteleafe went joint top of the league with an identical goal difference to Carshalton with this rather easy victory. Leafe never really got out of second gear, but against a very poor side, the margin of victory would have been far greater but for the woodwork and some fine saves from busy keeper James Broadbent. Manager Leigh Dynan gave debuts to Bradley Simms, signed from Erith after impressing in the recent cup games and Ambrose Gnahore after receiving International clearance.
Leafe had already had a couple of shots before they took the lead in the 10th minute, Daniel Ajakaiye outpacing his markers to get to a long ball first, took the ball round the advancing Broadbent and slotted the ball into the empty net.
They should have extended their lead in the 19th minute. Tommy Hutchings found Gnahore on the edge of the box. Ajakaiye was unmarked to his left with the goal free but he shot and the advancing Broadbent blocked his effort.
Ashley Nzala had the visitors only chance of the half in the 32nd minute but his shot was way over the bar.
Olumide Oluwatamilehin was unlucky in the 35th minute not to have scored what would have certainly been a contender for goal of the season when he picked the ball up in the centre circle, advanced a few paces and unleashed a rocket of a shot from 35 yards that crashed into the bar. The goal was still vibrating when Sam Clayton, following up, curled a 20 yard effort just over the top.
Hutchings put Ajakaiye through in the 37th minute but Broadbent was quickly out to save at his feet. 60 seconds later Ajakaiye was again running at Broadbent, took it round him but a great saving tackle from Alex Gathern denied him.
The second half began the same way as the first with Leafe dominating without ever really getting their flowing football game going. Broadbent punched a Clayton cross clear from the head of John Scarborough, then in the 48th minute, Ajakaiye was unlucky to see his shot hit the post.
Hutchings forced a good save from Broadbent in the 54th minute when he attempted to turn an Ajakaiye cross into the net, then on the hour he shot over from a Shaun Clement-Peter cross.
Shoreham had one chance to equalise in the 61st minute but Luke Tan shot wide.
Jerry Amoo headed over from an Oluwatamilehin cross in the 64th minute , then 2 minutes later after a great run into the box saw his shot deflected for a corner. Hutchings then had another good effort saved.
Leafe could have been left to rue not scoring more goals and against a better side could have been pegged back, however any doubts around gaining the 3 points were removed in the 82nd minute when a long cross looked to have been going out beyond the far post, but Scarborough managed to head it back across goal where Hutchings was on hand to bundle the ball in from close range with his last touch before coming off.
Amoo forced another good save in the 84th minute following a neat one two with Clement-Peter the Ajakaiye again went close in the 87th minute.
Vance Bola thought he had scored a third in the 88th minute but was ruled offside.
Shoreham had a late chance of a consolation in stoppage time with a free kick in a dangerous position, but Daniel Simmons hit it way over the bar, leaving Matte Pierson without a save to make in the match for his clean sheet.
Whyteleafe: Pierson, Simms, Musungu, Oluwatimilehin, Howlett-Mundle, Scarborough, Gnahore (Bola), Clement-Peter, Ajakaiye, Hutchings (Day), Clayton (Amoo). Unused subs: Azeez, Postance.