Pre-Season Report: Whyteleafe 3-3 Molesey
Great to be back at Church Road on Saturday, for our first official pre-season friendly. That is if you don’t take the ‘behind closed doors’ match against Croydon FC last Tuesday, into account. A pleasing 6-0 win, by the way.
Our visitors on Saturday were Molesey, formerly of the BetVictor South Central League until relegated with Egham Town at the end of last season. However, any notions that we’d roll the supposed whipping boys over were scotched early on. Under former England assistant manager, Ray Lewington’s son, Craig, Molesey look a useful side. They certainly came to Church Road to try and win the game.
As for The Leafe, manager Harry Hudson is looking to build on last season’s encouraging eighth-place finish in the - newly re-christened - BetVictor South East league. Sure, we’ve lost the likes of Brad Wilson (Lewes), Dan Hector (Kingstonian), Marvin Armstrong (Worthing), Helge Orome (Whitehawk) and Andre McCollin (Three Bridges) but the core of the side remains – Nathan, Corey, Tyler, Bentley, Matt O, Jamie, Ricardo and Akongo, for a start and to these Harry and Calum have added some seemingly superb new additions.
Leafe started brightly on Saturday but went behind to a smart early strike from Molesey, before equalising ten minutes later. Despite being a very early pre-season friendly Saturday’s game was an entertaining game. Harry was probably the more disappointed of the two managers but 3-3 was a fair result all-round.
Some of our new recruits look extremely promising. Young left-back Renadie Masumpu, most recently on Chelsea’s books, looked very lively when he came on for the second half, while other newcomers, winger Jordan Clarke and midfielders, Antonio Walker-Barth, Malachi Simpson and young Tre Daley – who made a few cameo appearances late last season, also look very exciting.
A quick word for the performances of Bryan Akongo and Ricardo Thompson on Saturday. Both seem to have really kicked-on from last season, with Bryan becoming a genuine box-to-box midfielder, while Ricardo put in a seriously accomplished performance against Molesey.
Regular Leafe fans may recall Herne Bay visiting Church Road last Spring and a particularly impressive and combative centre-forward called Ronald Sobowale who caused our defence some concern?
Several fans remarked then how good he looked…well, the good news is Harry Hudson has secured young Ronald for Whyteleafe. He’s already scored three goals in two games and looks – whisper this – to be the natural replacement for our previous hotshot, the much-missed, Eddie Dsane.
Anyway, be prepared to be very excited by young Ronald. He’s strong, fast and great on the ball with a keen eye for goal. He also has a knack for penalty taking too. No run-up, no back-lift but he smashes them into the net. As a Leafe fan on Saturday said: “Try stopping that” as Ronald buried the pen.
If you can’t make our trip to Essex to face Maldon and Tiptree on Tuesday (July 16) then try and come down to Church Road next Saturday (July 20 – 3pm) when we entertain Sussex-side Peacehaven in another pre-season friendly.
LEAFE LINE-UP: 1 Tyler McCarthy, 2 Bryan Akongo 3 Matt O’Donoghue 4 Nathan Campbell (capt) 5 Ricardo Thompson 6 Jamie McGeoghegan 7 JJ Malcolm 8 Bentley Graham 9 Ronald Sobowale 10 Tre Daley 14 Jordan Clarke
Substitutes – 15 Antonio Walker-Barth 16 Jordan Hector-Smith 17 Renadie Masumpu 19 Martin Sontan 20 Malachi Simpson 21 Dino 22 Tyrese Sutherland