MM Exit Cup with Heads Held High

Leatherhead Youth FC Colts 3 Moor Mead Athletic 1

Moor Mead were knocked out of the Presidents Cup despite a spirited performance against a talented team from three divisions higher up the league.

For large parts of the match Moor Mead more than held their own, but Leatherhead were more incisive in front of goal, and moved the ball around very fluently, using the channels to good effect on a large pitch which rewarded precise passing and movement.

It was a great learning experience for the parakeets, who learned a lot about what it takes to compete in the upper echelons of the league - and also proved that it is by no means an unrealistic goal.

Moor Mead had to change to their stylish blue and gold away shirts to avoid a very rare clash of green, and several players had to switch boots, due to the strict rules on footwear which wouldn't damage the artificial surface.

They made a promising start with Miles going close with a snap shot following good interplay with Sam.

But Alec stopped a curling shot, and the home side saw two shots fizz narrowly wide of the left post following sweeping attacking moves.

Moor Mead took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, when determined play down the right flank by Jake set up Mani, who stabbed home from close range.

Miles came close to doubling the lead following an exchange with Mani.

But Leatherhead equalised when a great through ball split the Moor Mead defence and the striker applied a clinical final touch.

The home side were pinging the ball around with great skill, pulling the parakeets all over the pitch, but they responded well with some good passing and movement of their own.

Miles had a long-range shot tipped over, and Jake fired a fierce shot straight at the keeper, while at the other end Alec plucked an angled cross shot out of the air.

Moor Mead started the second half strongly, with Jake, who had a very good all round game, posing an increasing threat down the left flank.

Alec raced from his goal to force a Leatherhead striker wide when through, the shot hitting the side netting.

But the home side went 2-1 up when the ball was smashed home from the centre of the area following a good passing move.

Again Moor Mead responded, driven forward by Miles and Sam. Sam went close, and a Miles free kick was nodded behind for a corner.

But Leatherhead broke once again to apply the coup de grace. Ben, who had a solid game alongside Teig at the back, made a great interception, but the loose ball fell to a Leatherhead player, who skilfully lobbed Alec from distance.

Alec, playing at times as a sweeper-keeper in the manner of Manuel Neuer, made a series of brave stops to keep the score down.

At one point his father, who had already set off the clubhouse alarm, tried to ape his son's efforts, jumping to catch the ball, but succeeding only in landing on his backside while trampling a passing toddler under foot.

Moor Mead might have buckled, but instead - and to their great credit - they finished the game camped in the Leatherhead half, peppering the home goal, and doing everything but score.

Mani and Miles combined to set up James, whose shot was saved. The keeper then denied Miles and James in quick succession and Miles went close again, narrowly failing to find the finish his probing running deserved.

A Miles free kick was palmed away, and Mani snapped a low drive against the post.

Ryan and Miles both had shots at the death, but Leatherhead, well drilled and disciplined, held on for the win, leaving the happy home fans to celebrate a win and discuss the merits of reporting Nick Leon to the relevant authorities.