Whyteleafe FC

Match Report: Faversham Town 1-0 Whyteleafe

Great to see the sunshine and feel a bit of warmth on our backs last Saturday for another visit to Kent and Faversham Town, this time. At least the M20 wasn’t closed.

A neat, tidy little ground, with friendly fans, unlike some of our awaydays, which have sometimes been a bit hostile. Several Leafe also reckon Faversham have the best burgers of any away ground on our travels.

We’d beaten – nay thumped – Faversham 6-0 in early December at Church Road although they’ve improved a lot since then and have also signed the talented midfielder Liam King recently.

Crisis is a dramatic word, but Leafe boss Harry Hudson isn’t having much luck with injuries lately. Our captain Nathan Campbell is a long-term casualty and sorely missed, but he’s been joined on the sidelines by fellow centre-back kingpin, Corey Holder, who broke his arm in the VCD match, while Daniel Hector, Junior Aikhionbare, Gus Lukini, Jamie McGeoghegan, Josh Malcolm, Ashley Paul-Robinson, David Owusu, to name but a few, are also on the sidelines. To cap it all, key midfielder, Bentley Graham suffered a groin strain during training on Thursday and was also absent.

At least Harry could welcome back Laurent Mendy, Andre McCollin and Harvey Brand for Saturday’s match. The injuries caused a reshuffle elsewhere, too. Bradley Wilson stepped into Bentley’s pivot role in central midfield, while Marvin Armstrong was moved wide to pick up Wilson’s position.

Whyteleafe lined up with the ever-dependable Helge Orome captaining the side and also chaperoning two makeshift centre backs alongside him in midfielder, Bryan Akongo and the returning Scott Day, normally a striker, of course. Indeed, he was top scorer last season.

Faversham seemed to have a renewed vigour about them, but were surely driven by the desire to overturn the heavy defeat against us earlier in the season. In un-seasonably mild conditions and bright sunshine the opening half an hour or so was all square with both sides cancelling each other out.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Whyteleafe, though. In the 26th minute a nice passing move saw the impressive Marvin Armstrong play a precision pass for debutant Daniel Bennett to score, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside. Then, a few minutes later, striker Lauris Chin drew a smart save from Faversham Town goalie, Jordan Beeney (ex-Charlton Athletic and the son of Chelsea goalkeeping coach, Mark Beeney, no less).

Armstrong was lively, although playing in a different position to normal, while Mendy caught the eye, especially in the first twenty-five minutes. He was always looking to create openings.

However, what proved to be the winning goal came in the 45th minute, right on the stroke of half-time, when Faversham left-winger, Ashley Miller was allowed to run, cutting inside to the edge of the penalty area, to fire a low shot past Leafe keeper, Tyler McCarthy.

A disappointing end to a disappointing half, frankly. “Terrible half of football,” moaned the Faversham photographer as he trudged off to get his cup of Bovril.

Whyteleafe were in a much more positive frame of mind in the second half and put the Faversham goal under sustained pressure. We probably deserved an equaliser, although football is like that sometimes. We love the game, but it can be a cruel lover nevertheless. We just couldn’t find the breakthrough we needed. There was definitely a feeling of an equaliser could have led to a winner. Alas, it was not to be.

Outstanding performance from Scott Day, playing at the back. He tried his heart out and deserves much praise for his efforts in the un-familiar role of centre half.

We remain in sixth place in the league table, thanks to results elsewhere going in our favour and Harry Hudson’s quest for the play-offs remains very much alive.

We move onto the Ashford United game this coming Saturday (Church Road 3pm) and they sit one place above us in the league table, in the final play-off place. If there’s really such a thing as a six-pointer in football, then this could be it. Why not come down and support the lads?

Up The Leafe!

Whyteleafe Squad: 1 Tyler McCarthy 2 Harvey Brand, 3 Matthew O’Donoghue, 4 Scott Day, 5 Bryan Akongo, 6 Helge Orome (capt), 7 Laurent Mendy (sub Kelvin Ogboe 78’), 8 Bradley Wilson, 9 Lauris Chin (sub Andre McCollin 67’), 10 Daniel Bennett, 11 Marvin Armstrong (sub Valentino Carpene 60’)

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