Thirds progress in cup despite injury blow
After the disappointment of ending their unbeaten start to the season against Chessington, the Thirds attempted to bounce back to winning ways as they travelled to AFC North Leatherhead in the first round of the cup. With the league leaders boasting a 100% record, the pressure on the Thirds was increased greatly by the presence of the Leatherhead Ultras, who ensured the match would be played in a volatile atmosphere.
The match got off to a dreadful start for the Thirds as fullback Scott Townsin, who was making his competitive debut for the black and blues, dislocated his shoulder within the opening minutes. Despite the setback, the Soche dominated throughout the first half with and should have taken the lead but Jack Dowell was denied the opener by a world class save following great work by Tom Kenny. The deadlock would soon be broken as Dowell turned provider for Kenny who chipped an on-rushing keeper from the edge of the box with a delightful finish to silence the home faithful.
The Thirds continued to contain the hosts but when they broke through Tom Powell was there to deny them as he continued his solid start to a career between the sticks for the Soche. A dubious penalty shout aside, the Thirds remained the better side until the referees bizarre half-time whistle.
The second half was a show of resiliency by the Thirds as they sat back (not by physical choice) and soaked up the North Leatherhead pressure. The second 45 minutes was a masterclass in defending as Carl Viberg and Paul D'Souza were unbeatable in the air, providing a steady base for a counter-attacking platform. Kenny presented Dowell with another glorious opportunity but was this time denied by the horrendous state of the pitch.
Chances inevitably came for the hosts but Powell kept them at bay to ensure the Soche kept their first clean sheet of the season to progress into the next round of the cup. Victory was fully deserved for the Soche as everybody put in a real shift and the whole team defended resolutely throughout as North Leatherhead dominated possession late on.
Victory upset the locals as the hostile atmosphere reached boiling-point but the Soche kept their heads and focused on getting Scott from the hospital. After they'd had a well-earned pint.