Report: Guernsey 0-0 Whyteleafe
A festive trip to Guernsey FC for the Leafe and a chance to blow away a few Christmas cobwebs although the Channel Islanders are resurgent this season and at kick off time sat just two places below Leafe in seventh place in the league. Vice-Chairman Clive Davis had arranged for a ‘beam-back’ of the match – courtesy of Guernsey TV – which allowed Leafe fans to watch the game in the clubhouse.
Harry Hudson was still suffering with his injury list and again he was without five first teamers on Saturday with Nathan Campbell and Bentley Graham the latest casualties. Still, even with a patched-up-side Leafe’s squad depth is strong enough these days to cope.
Replacing Bentley is midfield was centre-back Ricardo Thompson (early player of the season candidate, anyone?), himself just back after three weeks out.
Guernsey’s partisan crowd (a splendid 1006, no less!) was urging their team on from the kick-off and a free kick in the fifth minute looked certain to open the scoring only for Leafe keeper Tyler McCarthy to produce a wonder save and push the ball over the bar. How he did that I still don’t know! That save and several others during the game were enough to earn Tyler the man of the match award, in my opinion.
Another good move down the Leafe right almost resulted in a goal for the home team and perhaps the striker should have done better. Guernsey’s talented sixteen-year old midfielder, Alex Scott (imminently off to Bristol City) was pulling a few strings and causing Hudson’s men some problems.
Whyteleafe’s task was made all the more difficult when centre-back Corey Holder limped off in the 21st minute. This resulted in another re-shuffle with Ricardo going back to defensive duties and another centre-half, substitute Helge Orome taking his place in midfield.
Actually, a word for Helge. He, along with fellow defender, Jamie McGeoghegan, never lets the side down when he plays and due to injuries, both had been called on a lot this season and have performed excellently. Indeed, Helge showed his quality in midfield on Saturday.
Another stand out player for Leafe was seventeen-year old left-back, Lesley Duru. What a prospect he looks. Harry had been purring about young Lesley for several months. Since he came into the side to cover for injuries it’s been easy to see why. It’s fair to say, he’s in the team on merit now.
With the large crowd and their early possession dominance Guernsey were looking dangerous. They had a lot of chances, but Leafe’s defence held firm. Sometimes luck was on our side though, but Harry is probably overdue a bit of that.
Leafe had a few half chances but both Junior Aikhionbare and Ronnie Sobowale were well-marshalled by the Guernsey defence.
Despite their crowd trying almost to blow the ball in the Leafe net, Guernsey just couldn’t find the back of the net. The fans started to become frustrated a little restless but although he’d agree it wasn’t the best performance of the season he was – given the circumstances – pleased with a point. Leafe remain in fifth place, with a very tough match upcoming this Saturday (January 4 – Church Road – 3pm), when we entertain league leaders, Hastings United.
Whyteleafe Line Up: McCarthy –Thompson - O’Donoghue – McGeoghegan – Duru – Holder (sub Orome 21’) – Andrews (sub Sontan 87’) – Antonio – Aikhionbare – Walker-Barth (Adebayo 90’) – Sobowale. Sub Not Used – Saunders-Henry