Whyteleafe FC

Match Report: Egham Town 2-1 Whyteleafe

Good news and bad news to report about this game. Good news is that after the eleventh-hour postponement last time, this game finally went ahead. The bad? We lost. 2-1!

However, it wasn’t all bad especially if you consider that eleven of Harry Hudson’s fourteen-man squad were teenagers, it shows the strength in depth available to him. All the more notable given that the rest of the players remained at Church Road preparing for our tough Buildbase FA Trophy game away to Hastings United this coming Saturday (October 13).

This match, against Egham Town, who are currently struggling in the Bostik South Central division, also provided Harry with the chance to give some of the squad players some invaluable game time.

For the vast majority of the first half Leafe completely dominated with the reserves showing that they are equally as fluent in ‘Harry-Football’ as the first teamers. That is, smooth, flowing football, often built patiently from the back.

It was therefore no surprise when Lauris Chin put us in front in the 26th minute, ruthlessly finishing with a stinging right foot shot that the Egham keeper, Conor Hudnott, had no chance with.

Sadly, the lead was short-lived Ashley Lodge equalising for Egham four minutes later. The game then turned scrappy with the inconsistent grass pitch not helping the pursuit of ticky tacky footie! At times, Leafe fans were distracted by the incredibly regular flow of Airbus A380s from nearby Heathrow Airport that seemed so low that you could reach up and touch them.

Obviously, managers at Egham Town matches have to learn to shout instructions to their players inbetween aircraft movements. If an Airbus A380 is meant to be a ‘quiet’ aeroplane I’d hate to hear a noisy one!

Anyway, Egham came out for the second half with serious intent and it has to be said dominated the second 45. Whether it was inexperience, the pitch, lack of game time or fatigue caused by the same, we never really looked like getting a winner and the game was settled in the 60th minute by their centre forward Kezie Ibe (any relation to Jordan Ibe, I wonder?). after a nice move, down the right.

Returning keeper, Oli Webber, in the Leafe goal did well and kept the score down with some smart saves, but even he was a bystander during a crazy period of play in the 65th minute that saw Egham hit Oli’s right-hand post twice, before netting at the third attempt, which luckily for The Leafe was disallowed for offside.

You can always be sure that a Harry Hudson will never give up and our boys plugged away valiantly without ever looking like getting level, apart from a live-wire chance late on for Afriye Offeigyimaha, who did well to beat the opposing right back but couldn’t keep his shot down or on target. The lad played well all game though, as did the returning sixteen-year old Bryan Akongo.

Having made our three substitutions, Leafe were reduced to ten men for the last fifteen minutes when captain for the evening, Helge Orome, who had defended valiantly, pulled up with a hamstring tear and limped off. Although not as bad as first feared, the popular defender will be out for three weeks according to Harry Hudson, who said:

“I’m always disappointed to lose any football match especially after going ahead in the game. It was a difficult place to go to on a Tuesday night and a difficult pitch to play on but I was proud of our application and endeavour. I am also proud that eleven of our fourteen man squad for the game were teenagers and it shows we have great strength in depth to only lose narrowly. There are a lot of those players who are knocking on the door very loudly! It is a great problem to have!”

So, a promising run out for the squad players but a disappointment to lose the game, but on balance, Egham deserved the victory and it would have done our boys the world of good.  

For The Leafe, it’s onto Buildbase FA Trophy business this Saturday, when we make the 55-mile trip to the south coast, to face our Bostik League rivals, high-flying, Hastings United. It should be a cracker.

1 Oli Webber 2 Dan Akinwunmi 3 Matt Weller (Nick Akoto 60’) 4 Jamie McGeoghegan 5 Helge Orome 6 Bryan Akongo 7 Afriye Offeigyimaha 8 Dan Hogan (Malik Nosike 64’) 9 Lauris Chin (goal 26’) 10 Arif Hattabi (Adam Aziz 64’) 11 Gus Lukini

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