This time of year when the clocks go back is the time of year when you start to fear the dreaded P-P appearing everywhere. Pick a game and pray, whether it’s the weekend or midweek. That happened to me on Tuesday night, Wick vs Selsey in the Southern Combination Division One was to be my port of call but washed out by mid-afternoon.
With not a great deal of choice locally, I was mildly tempted by Potters Bar vs Worthing, but having watched the Rebels on Saturday and faced with a two hour journey, I settled on Whyteleafe vs Burgess Hill instead.
Like Chipstead who I visited in the last few weeks, Whyteleafe I also spent time at in my youth with Tandridge League finals there too but this was my first game here for many a year.
Arriving at Church Road Hill found themselves in the bottom two and in need of some points while Leafe were in the top four looking to replicate the form they showed last season when it was curtailed. Extra for me to take in were two former Barnet players, one on each side in Ryan Gondoh and Martyn Box.
Before we’d made ourselves comfy in a standing spot, Leafe were in front. Just 4 minutes on the clock, Aaron Watson who impressed me throughout finished off a slick move to give the home side the lead and really set the tempo of the match, any time Leafe broke forward they looked likely to score.
Ten minutes later it was 2-0, a fine run down the left by Gondoh, whose pace troubled Hill anywhere on the pitch, was finished off with a simple tap in for Omari Hilbert at the far post.
The game was effectively in the hosts control on 24 minutes if it wasn’t already, Watson sent through and smashing the ball home for his second and the third for the home side. Box thought he pulled one back before half time, his free kick just lacking enough curl to send it into the top left hand corner.
That was the best effort of the half for the visitors, completely blown away by the pace and intensity shown by Whyteleafe and struggled to get any momentum when attacking the Leafe goal.
With the hosts fully in control of the game, I expected the game to either go the way of a tighter second half performance from Burgess Hill or Whyteleafe to go on and run up a goal difference busting win.
Watson completed a well-deserved hat-trick just after the hour mark, a neat finish side footed into the far corner followed shortly after with a red card for Hill’s Andrew Herring after a bad challenge in the middle of the pitch.
Box came close again for the visitors with another free kick this time the ball going the wrong side of the other post. The introduction of Tom Chalaye on loan from Worthing couldn’t improve Hill’s efforts on goal, the Leafe back line dealing with any ball into the box or cutting off the supply lines from the wingers.
Leafe then added a fifth goal eleven minutes from time, Watson again the scorer for his fourth of the evening to wrap up a very impressive individual performance in amongst a polished team effort.
As mentioned Gondoh’s pace was simply electric all evening, Watson just clinical with anything that came his way and with a largely untroubled evening for their defence, all in all a good night’s work for the Surrey side.