Sat 26th Aug 2017
Suburban Football League Premier Divisdion
TAFC Reserve team 1-2 Leatherhead
TAFC goals: Joshua Hart
With our win against London Colney having been expunged as they folded we began our 3rd campaign in the Suburban League Premier Division with an ultimately disappointing defeat against a decent Leatherhead team from which we probably deserved a draw.
For the first 20 mins there was little between the sides but our opponents began to dominate in midfield and were able to work the ball out wide into the centre forwards feet a bit too easily . They hit the bar and the occasional misplaced pass from out the back meant we were under unnecessary pressure.
After 25 mins a poor attempt at a tackle allowed their full back time and space to cross the ball, their forward got across our defender and a header looped over Mark Richardson, who though not fully fit had been asked to play. In all probability a fit stopper may well have kept it out. Score 0-1.
The rest of the half was mainly hustle and bustle without too much activity in either area until their midfielder having been ushered across the pitch managed to strike a 25 yard strike into the far corner to double Leatherheads lead.
HT: Tring Athletic 0 Leatherhead 2
Playing down the slope we went man for man on their midfield and whilst this stopped them attacking it also nullified us going forward until in the 53rd Leatherhead were reduced to 10 men when a forward was given a straight Red card for kicking out.
We then probably had our poorest spell for some time when despite a change to a back 3 we failed to implement any particular way of playing. Eventually with a change of personnel we settled on a 3-4-3 and after 70 mins, after neat work by Ikeanyi Ejimofo , the very promising Josh Hart tapped in on the far post. Score 1-2.
We still tended to force passes rather than play with a sense of belief and confidence. Having said that Joe Naylor just failed to get a toe to a cross literally on the goal line, Ikeanyi Ejimofor shot across goal from an excellent position, Oliie Ruttle on as a late substitute passed up a good chance and in the 90 minute Joe Naylor smashed a great cross only for no one to attack the ball.
Afterwards Manager Chris Juraszek said he was disappointed with his own part in the game, when changes should have been made earlier and instructions passed more clearly. Certainly too often we tried to win the first ball when standing our immediate opponent would have sufficed, set pieces were poor and perhaps a bit more bite about us would have turned the tables. To be fair to Leatherhead they had 4-5 players who looked very comfortable at this level.
Final score: Tring Athletic 1 Leatherhead 2
Team: M.Richardson. R.Reeves, J.Butler, L.Barkers-Obua (P.Bagatti) G.Ball (O.Ruttle) B.Twelves (R.Blagden) S.Smith. J.Hart. J.Sunderland, J.Naylor, L.Irons (I. Ejimofor)