Report: Whyteleafe 5-0 Peacehaven
A glorious afternoon at Church Road on Saturday. There’s nothing quite like watching a confident Leafe in action in a bit of sunshine at our ground.
Fresh from a very tough test against Maldon & Tiptree on Tuesday evening (3-3), there was a definite sign that the questions asked in that match had stood them in good stead and from kick-off this Leafe side – albeit without important defenders Ricardo Thompson and skipper, Nathan Campbell along with midfielder, Bryan Akongo, tore out of the blocks and looked extremely impressive.
It’s hard to say if Peacehaven were actually inferior, having a bad day or whether Leafe were so dominant we just stopped them playing. Actually, we stopped them getting out of their eighteen-yard box for most off the first half.
Every time they cleared the ball it came straight back at them, much to the irritation of their goalkeeper, who was being given very little protection in the first period. Indeed, he took a nasty looking knock to the arm bravely saving at the feet of Leafe striker Ronnie Sobowale who was clean through on goal in the second minute.
Peachaven and Telscombe FC, to give them their correct name play in the Southern Combination Premier Division (a tier below Leafe) but were fresh from a 4-1 defeat against BetVictor Premier side Lewes, which wasn’t a terrible result, when you think about it.
Anyway, Peacehaven came up with a Leafe side in no mood for benevolence and under the control of assistant manager, Calum MacFarlane as Harry Hudson was away, we were 1-0 up within ten minutes with a consumate finish from Ronnie Sobowale.
The same man doubled the lead a few minutes later and Leafe’s pretty football was turning Peacehaven’s defence inside out. They just couldn’t get out and on the odd occasion when they did their forwards couldn’t keep the ball. A solitary corner being their only attacking action all half, a stat tells a tale all on its own.
Bentley Graham, having his best game of pre-season so far added a third with a rare headed goal just before half-time.
Leafe went in for a well-earned break while Peacehaven got a large rocket. They came out with revised ideas after the interval and did start to put a few moves together but Leafe’s midfield was stifling everything they had to offer. Bentley, Kaseen, Antonio and Manny Mensah were superb.
It’s not often that you see young Manny venturing too far forward but even he had three credible efforts on goal and deserved at least one. however, it’s his creative play that is his main strength and he was content to tee Ronnie up, which bodes well for the season ahead.
Martin Sontan looks sharp too and he made a good run with a cool finish to make it 4-0 after 64 minutes, although it was Ronnie who wrapped up the scoring with the fifth in the 74th minute, saving the best to last with a marvellous run from just inside the Peacehaven half beating four defenders before unleashing a fierce low drive into the bottom left corner of the goal, with the keeper beaten all ends up. Boom.
To their credit, Peacehaven didn’t down tools or cave in completely and they kept plugging away. Indeed, they probably should have pulled a goal back in the second half when their centre forward did all the hard work but then pulled his shot wide. Should we have won by a bigger margin then an albeit pleasing 5-0 margin? Yes, probably and there was a bit of over-playing in the second period but how can anyone be disappointed with such a scoreline and also a clean sheet.
He’s not had that much to do yet but young keeper Tyler McCarthy seems to be exuding calmness and confidence this pre-season, which is good to see.
Harry and Calum have certainly un-earthed some more rare talents for this season and Ronnie is a real find. His hat-trick took his pre-season tally to seven goals in four games, which makes him a really exciting prospect.
It’s not only Ronnie though as Renadie, Kaseen and Antonio look sharp and skilful too. Whisper it but there’s more reasons for Leafe fans to be as happy as we were this time last year. Harry’s new model arguably looks even better in Mk2 form!
We have a couple of big tests coming up though. Two games in succession against BetVictor Premier sides – Merstham away this Saturday (July 27) and the visit of Worthing on August 3 (Church Road 3pm).
It will be interesting to see how we get on in those two matches. Exciting times, for sure.