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Tooting & Mitcham United October Review

Tooting & Mitcham United October Review

Have Tooting and Mitcham United FC turned a corner? Here’s Roger Butcher with his October Review.

Perhaps this was the month when Tooting finally found their feet in the Bostik Premier Division. The green shoots of recovery were there to be seen in the first half away to top 6 Hendon. Tooting more than matched them in the early stages, but a red card for a thoroughly innocuous challenge by Danny Bassett on the half hour meant that we would be on the back foot for the rest of the game. Although we reached half time still level, we were subjected to a 4 goal barrage in the 20 minutes after the break as we slipped to another heavy defeat. Despite the loss, there was a feeling that we had showed some quality in the first half up until the sending off.

That feeling was well and truly extinguished just 3 days later at home to Staines. We were looking to avenge our 6-0 defeat earlier in the season, but a 2nd half capitulation saw us slump to our worst home defeat for many years. The defeat finally tested the manager’s patience once too often and he decided that a fresh approach would be necessary. He had been very loyal to the successful players from last year, but it was now time to make changes.

Mike Dixon

The next game was key. We were at home to Worthing who were bottom of the table, one place below us, and like us, were also winless. Manager Frank Wilson shuffled the pack and recalled Jordan Wilson into defence and Juevan Spencer into midfield. There was also a first league start for teenager Dominic Morgan-Griffiths and a change of formation with the dual spearhead up front of Omar Folkes and Mike Dixon.

The changes paid dividends as we picked up our first 3 points of the season with a 4-3 win. It wasn’t all plain sailing as some of our recent deficiencies were on show again, especially towards the end of the 1st half when we fell behind. But for once, we saw a good reaction to falling behind and fully deserved the victory.

The next game was a tough looking fixture away to Brightlingsea, a ground were we’d never played before. But we turned in a fantastic performance where we controlled the game for 90 minutes and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Mike Dixon, Omar Folkes and Juevan Spencer. By far and away our best display of the season, and one which has really instilled confidence in the supporters that we can start to pick up points and move up the table.

Juevan Spencer

The games got even tougher when we travelled to Tonbridge Angels, who had finished in the top 6 for the previous 2 seasons. We were forced to defend for long periods and it wasn’t a surprise when we fell behind. But we showed our mettle this time and responded quickly with an equaliser by Omar Folkes. Again, we were on the back foot for a while, but we were also showing a resilience that hadn’t been there a few weeks earlier. And we were rewarded with a stroke of luck when a powerful shot from Mike Dixon was spilled by the Tonbridge goalkeeper. The defence were on hand to tidy up but the clearance hit a fellow defender in the face and rebounded back into the net to give us the lead. More stoic defence was needed, and maybe a little bit of good fortune, but we held on to record an excellent victory making it 3 on the trot.

Our good form carried on into the next game against Folkestone, but this time Lady Luck deserted us as Chace O’Neill missed a first half penalty and then compounded his agony by earning an early bath for two bookings. We eventually lost 1-0 despite being on top for long periods. So, a disappointing result, but there is still a feeling that we are playing a lot better, and that more wins won’t be too far away.

Perhaps too early to say that we’d turned a corner, but definitely evidence that we were capable of grinding out a result when the circumstances demand it.


Upcoming Home Fixtures:

Harrow Borough – Sat 4th November – 3:00pm

Burgess Hill Town – Tues 7th November – 7:45pm

Kingstonian – Sat 18th November – 3:00pm

Margate – Tues 21st November – 7:45pm

Come along – the 280 bus stops right outside!

Keep up to date with all the TMUFC goings on at the Unofficial Website Or Official Facebook Page.

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