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Tooting & Mitcham United FC August 2019 Review

Tooting & Mitcham United FC August 2019 Review

Danny Bassett
Danny Bassett

A cracking start for Tooting & Mitcham FC this season! They’re top of the table, have a new Chair, and are starting their campaign for FA Cup glory. Roger gives us the latest...

As someone once said – what a difference a year makes! Whereas last season we looked disjointed and disunited on the pitch, this season we have come out of the blocks with a team that looks comfortable in their play and seem full of confidence. This is the 2nd season for co-managers Ashley Bosah and Cornelius Nwadialor and they have clearly learned a lot from last year, putting together a young team that really look like they mean business this season.

We had a great pre-season in terms of results with 7 wins from our 9 starts. But it was less the results, more the style of football that we played which gave the supporters a bit of a lift and the expectation that this could be a good season. However, we did suffer a bit of a blow with the news that central defender Lexus Beeden was offered a professional contract with Reading and would be joining them straight away. He becomes the 4th player to have signed professional forms since Ashley Bosah took over the managerial reins, following in the footsteps of Abraham Odoh, Isaiah Jones and Sam Folarin. Losing players to professional clubs is a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand we are obviously losing great young talent. But on the plus side, it may help with recruitment of other young players as they see a proven pathway to 1st team football and a professional contract.

Despite the loss of these players, the management have still managed to retain the core of the side that finished last season quite well and ended up in 6th place. They have also brought in a couple of more experienced players such as David Castanho and Nathan Daly as well as the returning Dean Hamlin. So we approached the opening fixture away to Hertford with a bit of confidence. And the confidence appeared well placed as Tooting took the game to the home side and despite a pretty ordinary playing surface were on top for long periods. However, we couldn’t turn our pressure into goals until 5 minutes from time when substitute Omari Hibbert scored the only goal of the game to give us the perfect start.

Next up was Ashford Town in our first home game of the season, and the team put on an excellent performance and came away with a 3-1 victory with goals from Hady Ghandour, David Castanho and Danny Bassett.  It was another game where we dominated for long periods.

Next up was Faversham in the FA Cup and we despatched them 1-0, thanks to an early Danny Bassett finish. I suppose the one area that might concern the fans is that we are in control of these games but perhaps aren’t scoring the goals that we should.  But while we are winning games I don’t think we’ll be moaning too much about it!

Meanwhile, there were changes afoot off the pitch. Former Surrey FA Chief Executive Caroline McRoyall has joined as Chair of the football club. I’m sure she will bring with her plenty of skills and knowledge gained in that role and will give the club a boost behind the scenes. Her arrival has definitely coincided with an upturn in results! Coincidence? 

Caroline McRoyall (with friend!)
Caroline McRoyall (with friend!)

On bank holiday Monday we made the short trip to Chipstead in the roasting hot sun. Chipstead gave us a physical encounter, but once again the team overcame whatever was put in front of them and emerged victorious 2-1. An early goal from Danny Bassett was equalised soon after, but a free kick from Daryl Coleman deceived the Chipstead goalkeeper to give us another deserved 3 points.

We ended the month at home to Northwood – a team that could be described as our bogey side, not ever having beaten them at home in 7 attempts. But this team is made of sterner stuff. Despite going a goal behind against the run of play, they kept their composure and pulled level in the 62nd minute with Danny Bassett’s fourth goal of the fledgling campaign. Tooting continued to pile on the pressure and just as time seemed to be running out, Razzaq Coleman popped up with the winning strike in the 4th minute of injury time. If you want to hear a short interview with manager Ashley Bosah after the game, just click on this link.

Not only did that win equal our best ever start of 4 successive wins going all the way back to 1958, it also took us to the top of the table for the first time since we were promoted in 2016. So the management and the players could hardly have done better so far and have now set themselves a very high standard. The task now is to maintain that standard as we face further challenges as the season progresses. 

We start this Saturday in the 1st qualifying round of the FA Cup. We are at home to AFC Varndeanians whom we have never played before. They play in the Southern Combination 1st Division which is effectively the Sussex League, and are also two steps below us in the pyramid which should make us hot favourites to progress. However, AFC Varndeanians are unbeaten so far this season which makes this game the archetypal banana skin.

So if you have yet to visit the ground, why not make the FA Cup the reason to come along and see our exciting young side in this famous old competition!

Come along – the 280 bus is on diversion at the moment and stops at Morden Road, just a few minutes walk from the stadium!

Upcoming home fixtures:

  • AFC Varndeanians (FA Cup) – Sat 7th September – Kick off 3pm
  • Bedfont Sports – Tue 17th September – Kick off 7:45pm

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

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