St Leonard’s Social II’s returned to action following a lengthy 8 week lay off with a well deserved win against relegation candidates Mountfield United at a stodgy Robertsbridge Community College.
Player manager Mende handed debuts to defender Sonny Kewley and forward Reece Mitchell and both players instantly looked at home in their respective positions. However the first half was a scrappy affair with neither side gaining any real foothold on proceedings. Some half chances had came and went for both teams when Social created the first real chance of the afternoon, Larkin did excellently to control a ball into the box and found Mitchell with a square pass around 10 yards out, Mitchell’s first touch allowed him to spin his marker and he struck thunderous effort towards the goal but somehow Marc Smith in the Mountfield net pulled of a miraculous save to push the ball onto the bar.
The second half continued in much the same way until Mende was subbed off for Carlton ‘Sus’ Phillips on the hour mark. The change paid instant dividends as Phillips cleverly found pockets of space in front of the Mountfield back four and his intelligent use of the ball and driving runs were causing instant panic. After being on for only three minutes Phillips collected the ball on the halfway line and drove at the Mountfield defence before playing a precise reverse ball through to McCann who was racing away down the left channel, McCann chopped back inside his defender before unleashing a pile driver of an effort into the near side top corner to open the scoring.
Phillips really had the bit between his teeth now and only 2 minutes later he produced an amazing piece of skill on the halfway line to beat two players and he drove towards the Mountfield goal yet again, this time he opted for the shot and let fly from around 35 yards, his daisy cutter completely flummoxed the keeper and flew in underneath his despairing dive. 2-0.
Moments later Larkin found himself racing in at goal on the right hand side but his powerful effort was repelled by the keeper with new signing Mitchell begging for the square ball and an easy tap in.
Mountfield began to grow into the game and won a dubious penalty which they despatched to half the deficit but the industrious Damian March quickly restored Socials two goal advantage with another contender for goal of the season. Phillips swung a free kick in from the right towards the edge of the penalty area and March took a beautiful first touch on the bounce with his back to goal and then swivelled and struck a delightful looping volley off the far post and in to the net. 3-1.
Social were really on top of their game at this point and they made it 4-1 when Phillips and Blanche combined brilliantly in the midfield to send Mitchell clear and he fired superbly passed the keeper at the near post.
The goalscoring was rounded off with yet another goal of the season contender when Blanche struck an absolute thunderbastard from 30 yards out in to the top bin. A shot so hard it ripped the net causing the referee much confusion but after a quick CSAR review (Common Sense Assistant Referee) he awarded the goal. 5-1 and full time!
Social continue their league campaign next week with a home tie against Peche Hill Select.