Paul Semakula proves why he wears the captain’s armband as tanners are held to a dull scoreless draw!

Leatherhead vs Merstham (02/01/17)

Line-up Merstham: Phil Wilson, Simon Cooper, Kristian Campbell, Douglas Antone, Tutu Henriques, Tom Kavanagh, Michael Abnett, Dan Bennett, Dean Mcdonald, Callum Willock, Dan Hector.
Subs: Omar Folkes, Ryan Fowler, Rea, Bailey- Allen, Yoann Fellrath, Josh Smith.
Line-up Leatherhead: Louis Wells, Adam cash, Danny Murphy, Paul Semakula (C), Chris Parr, Rian Bray, Kadell Daniel, Tyron Smith, Anthony Mendy, Richard Seixas, Mohamed Sagaf.
Subs: Calum Davies, Jerry Nnamani, Dean Theobalds, Louie Downey, Nana Boakye-Yiadom.
Referee: George Warren
Assistant Referees: Andrew Bennett
Tom Ellsmore
Bookings: Tutu Henriques (Merstham)
Red Cards: N/A

Twentieth place Merstham entertained Jimmy Bullard’s Leatherhead on the 2nd of January, a new year and a new signing (Yiadom) this game was always on the cards to be a cracker, despite both teams only getting a point each, the game was tense but jimmy looked at the positives overall.

Adam cash could’ve got himself a great assist in the opening 5 minutes when the right back played a great long ball over to Mendy, the tall striker controlled the ball well and unleashed a blasting shot but the Merstham keeper had no trouble collecting his effort (5)

Tyron smith was the man who created the long ball this time, Mendy once again controlled the ball well and the striker’s shot was on target however he’ll be disappointed that his blast from range only made the keeper parry away for a resulting corner (7)

This time it was the opposition who created a chance and what a chance it was, the bulky Calum Willock controlled a high ball played in by Bennett, on the turn Willock had a powerful shot but his strike went just wide of Well’s post (28)

Just before the half time whistle Dan Bennett, the pacey full back crossed a high ball in from the left hand side, defender Simon cooper rose to the occasion and headed towards goal, but his shot was saved easily by Louis wells (45)

Half time: Merstham 0-0 Leatherhead

In form Dan Bennett found space inside the away team’s box, the fast full back wriggled past Kadell Daniel and Seixas to unleash a low shot,  but his chance was denied by Wells as the former Staines and Aldershot keeper got down low to dive and prevent a goal (49)

(52) No.10 Richard Seixas comes off for no.17 Nana Boakye- Yiadom

Merstham now on the  attack done well, Kavangh received the ball off of Willock and despite the amount of free space Kavangh had, the midfielder’s shot outside of the box went slowly wide of the post and out for a goal kick

(62) No.11 Dan Hector off for no. 15 Rea Bailey Allen

This time it was New signing Nana Yiadom who formerly played for Barnsley, the winger sped down the right wing covering 2/3rds of the pitch, Nana played through Daniel and the former Woking Midfielder blasted a shot towards goal and made Phil Wilson Parry away for a corner (68)

Mendy won’t be too happy with his performance today and it got even worse when the striker forced his way into a one on one position with Wilson, the former Enfield centre forward blasted a shot towards goal but his shot rose well high of the goal and out for a goal kick (70)

How the tanners didn’t take the lead I don’t know, young winger, Mohamed Sagaf skilled his way past Bennett, Sagaf crossed In a great ball to Daniel and on the volley, unfortunately Daniel hit it inches wide of the post (73)

(73) No.9 Anthony Mendy off for Calum Davies No. 12

New signing Nana Yiadom tried a volley from 30 yards after receiving a ball from Daniel, Yiadom in acres of space shot from 30 yards but Wilson caught the ball with no trouble (74)

Just as tanners fans looked away in shame Merstham tried to get the ball over the line, firstly Bray clears off the line, Wells then dives to save and murphy has to slide over the line to clear out, seems leatherhead were very lucky (76)

(78) No.7 Kadell Daniel off for No. 15 Dean Theobalds

Calum Willock In another great position looked to plant the ball home into an open net from a dangerous cross, as he was about to take his shot, Chris Parr came around the strong Willock to clear off the line, fantastic effort from Chris Parr (80)

(82) No.5 Booked for trying to trip Yiadom, the defender ends up falling over himself in the end.

Not many opportunities came in the dying minutes but Sagaf would’ve been disappointed with his effort, the 19 year old got the ball, he swerved his way into the box and unleashed a shot but his effort was too weak and Wilson caught the ball easily (86)

(90) The 4th official indicated a minimum of 4 added minutes.

Full Time: Merstham 0-0 Leatherhead
Despite the result, Jimmy said “It’s good we’ve got our first clean sheet in a while” When asked about how the midfield was shaping up “Paul (Semakula) and Ty smith were great in midfield today, the two combined well with the outfield players” It was the 3rd game in the week, he said “It was Tiring, you could see it in the training before the match that it wasn’t as zippy” To check the full interview out head over to the Facebook page to see it!

Player Ratings:
Louis Wells- 7/10 Not much to do, yes his goal kicks could’ve been more accurate but he made a few phenomenal saves to deny Merstham a goal.
Adam Cash- 6/10 Was impressive first half but couldn’t prove to be the difference in the 2nd half and went quiet.
Chris Parr- 7/10 Not much to do all game however did block a vital shot from Willock in the dying minutes.
Rian Bray- 8/10 Tremendous performance by the Millwall Loanee, the centre half intercepted, headed away and blocked a number of shots/ passes, the youngster also cleared the ball off the line.
Paul Semakula- 9/10 No words would describe ‘Paulie’s’ Performance, the strong midfielder not only defended well but he pushed the team forward, Paul also won the possession off the midfield on many occasions.
Danny Murphy- 8/10 Danny Murphy or should I say “Mr consistent” the Full back, lead the team verbally, played some great passes, defended well and even made some dangerous crosses.
Richard Seixas- 5/10 Richard returned to the lineup replacing Dsean Theobalds, the young attacking midfielder was quiet and made little impact, was replaced just after half time.
Anthony Mendy- 4/10 was counted offside 4 times then was subbed with over 20 minutes remaining, the striker had 1 great opportunity but blasted it high and wide, disappointing.
Mohamed Sagaf- 6/10 The versatile winger couldn’t have done a lot against the tall and strong Merstham defence but when he did get past the defence he created 2 potential goals with his skills.
Tyron Smith- 7/10 Ty in the first half made some fantastic long balls which were highly accurate, the defensive midfielder may have wasted a free kick but did retrieve the ball when needed.
Kadell Daniel- 6/10 Not his best performance this season as he missed an open goal from Sagaf’s cross, lost the ball a couple of times upfront but did get into a couple of positions where he could’ve scored.

Alfie’s Analysis:
“Todays game was an interesting one, I could see it was far better than the performance last Saturday against Harlow but there is still room for improvement, overall though I believe the team is starting to shape up and can only see players like Davies, Semakula, Parr, Bray, Murphy, wells, cash and Theobalds get better.”

Alfie’s Man Of The Match:
“For me Murphy and Bray were fantastic both of them led from the back, were vocal on the pitch and done their jobs to the absolute best, but as much as they proved they should be the first names on the starting 11, the man of the match award has to goto Paul Semakula, he was undoubtedly the best man on the pitch. The captain moved the ball forwards, when he lost the ball he then regained it, defended and intercepted well and finally created chances on the pitch, for instance he lost the ball in the oppositions half to Willock and instead of letting him get away with it he sprinted back tackled him, regained possession and then created a chance for Sagaf, one of the best performances from him I’ve Seen”

Alfie Gates
Surrey Hills Sports Reporter