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Tooting & Mitcham United December/January Review

Tooting & Mitcham United December/January Review

Up and downs over Christmas and New Year for Tooting and Mitcham United FC, but they face 2018 with renewed hope! Roger Butcher with his December/January Review.

Its been a difficult couple of months for Tooting as we dropped to the foot of the table after a tough programme of fixtures over the holiday period. There have been a couple of good performances but we have managed to shoot ourselves in the foot once or twice in games against fellow strugglers.

We began December with a winnable fixture at home to Lowestoft. Despite a good first half performance, we seemed to switch off in the 2nd half and slumped to a heavy defeat.  However, we made amends in the next game with a 4-1 victory over Thurrock. In a reversal of the game against Lowestoft, we looked disjointed in the first half but turned it on in the 2nd half when we scored all of our goals. Things were looking distinctly brighter following an impressive 1-1 draw away to promotion hopefuls Enfield Town, where a late equaliser from the hosts denied us a deserved win.

Boxing Day saw our highest attendance of the season watch the clash against our biggest rivals Dulwich Hamlet, but once again, it was a game of 2 halves as Dulwich blasted their way to a 3-0 half time lead.  Tooting put on a much better showing in the second half. We pulled a goal back through a Sam Flegg header, but it was too little, too late.

We scored another impressive 3-1 victory over Merstham in the final game of 2017, giving us good reason to be confident of climbing the table in the new year, but it didn’t turn out that way!

Admittedly, we did have some tough fixtures in January, but we also had an away game against Harlow Town who are in the relegation mire along with us. Despite a resolute performance where we deserved at least a point, we once again capitulated in injury time as Harlow nicked a late, late winner.

Ollie Bennett

In all, we had recorded a dismal 5 out of 5 losses in January when we travelled to Dorking Wanderers, the scene of our league championship celebrations last season. In a game that followed a similar pattern to so many this season, we had a good spell and took the lead with a Danny Bassett finish. But we failed to back this up and spent the 2nd half on the back foot and fell behind to 2 goals midway through the half. It appeared that we were to be consigned to a 6th successive defeat as Matt Drage got injured, but as we had used up all of our substitution, he was forced to carry on despite struggling to move. Then in the 89th minute, Dorking were awarded a penalty and it looked all over. But in a final climactic twist, the penalty was fired high and wide, and just a minute or so later, we made them pay. A free kick in the dying seconds allowed keeper Matte Pierson to join the attack, and amid the confusion, Ollie Bennett somehow found a bit of space at the far post and managed to bundle the ball over the line for a dramatic equaliser to earn a 2-2 draw.

The game evoked memories of a similar game last season when 10-man Tooting snatched an unlikely draw in stoppage time away to Carshalton – a game which ended a losing run and heralded a fantastic unbeaten trot which ultimately led us to the title. I don’t think we’re expecting to win the Championship this season, but hopefully this result will signal a change in fortune as we attempt to secure premier division survival.

Quincy Rowe

Whilst the relegation battle has been at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts, it is worth remembering that we are still involved in the London Senior Cup. We got past Tower Hamlets in the last round courtesy of a Quincy Rowe 20-yarder and a late Peter Wedgeworth penalty. We are away to Metropolitan Police in the quarter-final, due to be played on 13th February. Even though this is considered a minor competition in some quarters, it is still a first team competition, and we have had pretty good success in this cup in recent years with 5 finals and 3 victories over the last decade or so.

So the big question is... can we start to pick up points more regularly in February? We definitely need to! We need to start performing for the full 90 minutes to capitalise on some of the good football that we know we are capable of playing. And maybe a progression in the cup as well!


Upcoming Home Fixtures:

Wingate & Finchley – Sat 10th February – 3:00pm

Leiston – Sat 24th February – 3:00pm

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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