Match report: Glebe 1 - 3 Whyteleafe
So, in a weird year, Leafe were back in competitive cup action several weeks before the 2020-2021 league campaign begins. However, that’s the way it is and a good bunch of pre-season friendlies has been good preparation, with three wins, a draw and a solitary defeat prior to kick-off in this match.
Several people have asked why Leafe had to play in the Extra Preliminary Round, especially given our cup exploits last season, which saw us get to the 4th qualifying round. Simple answer is pure "luck of the draw".
On Tuesday evening Leafe headed across South London for the short trip to Chislehurst and the well-tended home of Glebe FC, a go-ahead little club who play in the ambitious environs of the SCEFL (a direct level below Leafe) and as recent history has shown all clubs in that division relish the chance to take on clubs higher up the pyramid.
Pre-game, Harry Hudson had spoken of Glebe being serious opposition, managed by ex-Ashford boss, Gary Alexander and fielding some notable new signings from the Isthmian league in Frankie Sawyer and prolific striker, Charlie MacDonald. Glebe had also grabbed a pre-season draw with high-flying Hastings on Saturday, leading until the very closing stages.
Great to see fans back again not to mention a good contingent of around 30 Leafe faithful among the crowd of 230. Not bad for a Tuesday evening. The romance and appeal of the FA Cup, eh?
Leafe had the better of the opening stages and went close quite early on. Clearly, Glebe are a good side though and they weren’t over-awed. However, it was no real surprise when a Ryan Gondoh free kick opened the scoring for Leafe in the 25th minute.
Leafe extended the lead in the 30th minute. Another shot from Gondoh spilt by the keeper and tapped in from close range from David Owusu. David is another returnee and he played a few games two seasons ago, scoring a few goals along the way and it was good to see him opening his new account against Glebe.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, and Glebe looked extremely dangerous from set pieces going close several times. Plus, with Charlie Macdonald around danger always lurks.
Harry and Calum have now almost finalised their squad for the season and once again they look to have found a few new talents that look like delighting our fans – midfielder Courtney Clarke has shone in pre-season, for example.
The Glebe match saw young left-back Chibuike Ezenolim make his debut, and he looks a real prospect, while it was great to see the return of an old fan favourite, centre-back Antone Douglas, who slotted back in as if he’d never been away.
Not wishing to take anything away from Glebe, Leafe’s class showed in midfield, which extinguished many Glebe attacks and built our own for forwards Gondoh, Sesay and Owusu to exploit.
Early in the second half Glebe pulled one back and for a while looked intent on getting back in the game. The obvious roasting they’d received at half-time from Alexander had clearly had an effect.
Leafe weathered the minor storm though and looked the most likely to score again, which they did courtesy of a Ryan Gondoh penalty in the 70th minute, which really settled matters. A pretty even tempered game, although Glebe centre-half, Chris Parr got his marching orders in injury time for a second bookable offence.
Leafe now move onto the Preliminary Round proper and a home tie at Church Road on Saturday, September 12 (3pm) when we host Peacehaven and Telscombe FC of the Southern Combination Premier Division (one level below us) who impressively dispatched Bearsted FC 5-3 away from home in their Extra Preliminary Round tie.
In the meantime, there’s a final pre-season friendly at Church Road on Tuesday, September 8 (7.45pm kick-off) when we host Isthmian Premier side, Leatherhead FC.
See you there.
Leafe Line-Up: McCarthy, Olorunnisome, Ezennolim, Graham, McGeoghegan, Douglas, Clarke, Orome (capt), Owusu, Gondoh, Sesay
Subs: Dennis, Archer, Kanu, Hogan, Mundele-Smith, Hyman, Barford (g)