Academy put 'Leafe to the sword
By Wink Tomkinson
First half display puts the game to bed
Whyteleafe came to King’s Hill sitting bottom of the table, pointless and conceding on average six goals a game, so complacency could possibly have proved as much an enemy as the opposition. But a first half showing that blew the visitors away with five goals displayed an attitude that wasn’t a party to that mindset.
The first half was, indeed a procession of forward momentum and chances aplenty for the Academy. Three efforts on goal had brought saves from the Whyteleafe goalkeeper, Jimmy Penfold, before the breakthrough in just the fourth minute.
A searching ball from Harry Hudson sent Rhys Bartlett clear and although Penfold saved well the rebound was safely tucked away by Ned Snowden-Lewis.
Tonbridge’s pass and move style was too much for the Whyteleafe defence and they were being carved apart almost at will with Penfold excelling to deny Jacob Lambert and Bartlett before the Angels doubled their lead on 17 minutes. Superb movement between Lambert and Bartlett ended with a cross that gave Snowden-Lewis a tap-in.
And so it continued, Angels versus Penfold with the keeper saving from Snowden-Lewis and Bartlett whilst a 20 yard free kick from Sam Slipper came back off the bar.
Meanwhile, as those of us on the sidelines were beginning to feel the bite of Jack Frost on our toes, sympathies were with Tommy Taylor in the Angels goal who was as much a spectator as we were.
A third goal was added after 33 minutes when Bartlett powered a 20-yarder into the top corner giving Penfold no chance.
Penfold, who had done most to keep the scoreline respectable, sadly was at fault for the fourth goal on 40 minutes when he ventured far from his line but failed to collect the ball allowing Snowden-Lewis to set up Bartlett with an open goal.
The first half was wrapped up when Leo Deere, a new signing from Maidstone, cut in from the right to bury a shot into the bottom corner. A deserved return for an industrious first period.
Manager Tom Parkinson was pleased with his team’s first half display but was a little disappointed that in the second half they created equally as many chances but only added a single goal to their tally.
It certainly appeared that the deluge would continue as four minutes into the half, Lambert crashed a shot against the underside of the bar and, a minute later, Regan Bowden hooked in at the far post to open up a six goal lead.
Whyteleafe showed a far greater resilience in the second period and even managed to employ Taylor on a couple of occasions, but in truth, the one-way nature of the game continued for the most part.
Snowden-Lewis putting a header against a post being the closest of numerous chances that were passed over by the home side.
Parkinson remarked after the game that his side had not moved the ball as quickly in the second half but it was part of the learning curve for the boys. A good player is one that does the right things for 90 minutes, a good team is one that for 90 minutes does the same and does not let teams off the hook. But, overall, he is delighted with the progress made by his team to date.