Letef Select FC3
Traco Triumphant In Dominant Display
It was goals galore as Traco Athletic triumphed in their thrilling 9-3 victory at home to Letef Select, who finished 4th last season in Division Two.
Traco Athletic lined up with a number of new signings to entertain the visitors at Traco’s home pitch. With changes in the league structure, teams from last season’s Divisions One and Two were placed into a merged Division One, with just two divisions making up the Aldershot and District Saturday League, instead of three.
Nick Brown handed debuts to Tom Popplewell, Kyran Fenton and George Christie. The former, Popplewell, makes a return following a couple of season’s break from the game, while Fenton is a graduate of the Leatherhead Youth set-up. Theo Verissimo, Kyle Kitch and Cain Fitzsimons lined a strong and healthy bench.
Brown’s side made a very promising start, taking the lead with the game just two minutes old. A long ball, direct out of the hands of Gittoes, looked to be over-hit but a pacy Joe Chuter charged it down and slid it home. Wheeling away to celebrate, the one-time centre half sparked emphatic celebrations and applause from the touchline.
We didn’t have to wait too long for the second. A good passage of play in the build up to the goal between Joy and Chuter, led to the latter to drilling it beyond the reach of the Letef goalkeeper, with a “good” advantage applied by the referee.
Fenton had numerous chances of his own throughout the afternoon; his first opportunity of the game was hit low and weak, allowing the goalkeeper to parry it away using his legs.
Traco’s third came in the ninth minute when a corner by Chuter was inch-perfect for “TJ” (the one and only Tom Joy) to rise to it and head it out of the reach of the Letef stopper. No doubt he will be begging the critics to write the headline around his top-draw performance.
Just a few minutes later and Fenton was at it again. Another good advantage and another decent chance for Traco, with Chuter being the supplier on this occasion, and Fenton opting for a chip that flew well over the bar. Three chances in the space of just a few seconds followed for the hosts. The most notable one of the three was Chuter’s chipped effort, only for it to be headed off the line by the last defender.
With a downfall upon us, I truly thought I may well have to change into my new boots… After initially freezing and being undecided as to whether to come and collect, the ball ran cheekily past Gittoes, and as a last-ditch attempt of trying to prevent it from crossing the goal line, at full stretch, ended up head butting the frame of the goal. It trickled past him and was out of reach. After a few moments of water and a gasp of air, he resumed, as did the game, from the subsequent kick-off.
Our fourth came around the 34th minute, with Chuter making the most of the moment, grabbing his hat-trick and third of the afternoon. As the half started to round to a close, Fenton and Chuter connected in some good build-up play, feeding TJ, who stabbed home from point-blank range to make it 5-1 to the good.
On the stroke of half time, the away side pegged a second back through some sloppy defending and a scrappy close-range finish at an acute angle. This would be much a consolation goal to the overall outcome.
In the opening few minutes of the second half, Bushell was penalised for going through the back of an opponent and subsequently saw red, having being judged to not have, or any intention, to play the ball (tackling from behind). The resulting spot kick was confidently converted.
While my brilliant services were called upon yet again to run the line, albeit for a matter of minutes, plus refilling the empty water bottles, the one controversial point of the afternoon was when Traco dangerman, Chuter, went into the book for what the referee judged to have been simulation.
Sam Hull got his name onto the scoresheet next to continue the home side’s goal spree, finishing from an in-swinging corner that bounced out, for our sixth of the game. The goals didn’t stop there, with substitute Fitzsimons also scoring his first of the season.
Fenton was dangerous throughout and pulled one out of the bag late on with a spectacular 25-yard absolute screamer. Fratton Park, River Lane or Wembley: we would have celebrated it all the same – jumping for joy. After trying his luck from here, there and everywhere, he finally found the net in very fine style.
Fitzsimons’s second goal marked our ninth, and final, of the match. “Oh, Cain,” rang out from the sideline, as frontman Cain Fitzsimons chanced his luck from 20 yards, whistling into the bottom left hand corner to complete a superb opening day and start to the season. It finished Traco Athletic 9, Letef Select 3.
Several players impressed, with stand-out performances from Kyran Fenton, who himself certainly wasn’t afraid to have a shot from range, Joe Chuter and Tom Joy, plus positive debuts for Christie and Popplewell. As always, there is room for improvement. Credit where credit is due for Brown’s team who strung together a sequence of successful passes in each passage of play, creating chance after chance.
Traco next face a trip across the border when they meet Mytchett Athletic next Saturday, 16 September, in league action. Join us then for a winning match report, and in the meantime, interact with us on Twitter – @TracoAthleticFC.
Macauley Pond (c)