Five-goal thriller at Church Road ends in Leafe defeat

First published in Sport

By Brian Davis

Whyteleafe are out of the FA Vase after losing 3-2 at home to their Combined Counties Premier Division rivals Guernsey.

It was a classic game of two halves, where the Channel Islanders dominated the first half only for the hosts to almost force a replay in the second.

Guernsey the lead inside 15 minutes through Dominic Heaune, and they doubled their advantage just moments later when Leafe keeper Joe McLoughlin could only parry Glyn Dyer's shot into the path of Ross Allen who fired home from close range.

Leafe's first opportunity did not arrive until after half an hour when Peter Adewumi's throw was headed on by Che Stadhart to Marlon Wallen who's shot on the edge of the box was blocked.

The visitor's third goal came just before the break when Sam Robins's attempted headed clearance fell into the path of Allen who ran into the box and slotted past McLoughlin. 

Heaune could have added a fourth minutes later but his weak shot was cleared off the line by Daniel Day.

Leafe had a chance to pull one back right on half time when Bentley Graham, recently released from Leatherhead, headed wide from a Day cross.

Leafe made a substitution and positional changes at the break and looked a different side in the second half, dominating most of the play. Michael Abnett was brought into a more central role and Jay Garrick added more strength to the Leafe attack. 

The pair combined well for Garrick to test the Guernsey keeper, while Abnett fire wide from 25 yards. 

Leafe should have scored on 53 minutes when Graham headed Ryan Maxwell's free kick into the path of Louis Clark but he shot wide from close range.

Two minutes later, Stadhart volleyed over from close range after Chris Tardif punched a Day cross into his path.

Then Garrick's cross found Graham free in the box, he chipped keeper Tardif but Alex Le Prevost headed the ball off the line.

Guernsey struck back with a Heaune header that hit the crossbar, and a Matt Loaring effort that was wide of the mark.

However, Leafe were finally rewarded for their improved performance when the Guernsey keeper fumbled a free kick from Day, and Dean Palmer was on hand to score from close range.

A frantic finale was ensured when Garricks's cross was deflected into his own net by Sam Cochrane for 3-2.

However, despite seven minutes of stoppage time, Leafe could not find an equaliser and Guernsey return over the Channel with a place in the next round.

Leafe return to league action this weekend with a trip to Lordswood.

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