Tooting & Mitcham extended their unbeaten league run to seven matches with a gritty 2-1 win over Waltham Abbey on Saturday – and it’s all down to being less naïve than they once were, says their boss.
Two goals from U19 Lebanese international Hady Ghandour kept the Terrors in the play-off picture and Ashley Bosah, who runs first team affairs alongside Cornelius Nwadalior, said it was a clear sign that their young side is fast maturing.
“It’s a real learning curve for us all this season, including for Cornelius and myself in our first season managing the club,” he said. “But we are getting better at game management and learning how to win.
“When we lost at home to Hayes & Yeading last month, we saw how smart they were. They didn’t play lots of football but knew how to do just enough – how to win fouls and protect a lead. We learnt a lot from that defeat and haven’t lost since.
“I like to think we have a fair bit of creativity but we also are learning how to control games much better and to be less naïve.
“We know we can make the play-offs, but we also know that no-one lies down for you in this league and we can’t afford to be complacent. If we keep respecting all the teams we play and keep learning, we’ve got a great chance.”
There was further evidence of that growing maturity on Tuesday when Tooting defeated a very strong Crystal Palace U23 side 2-0 – thanks to goals from Dominic Morgan-Griffiths and Leon Lalor-Dell.
Palace monopolised the ball, but a virtual Terrors first team stayed competitive and solid before netting twice after the break.
Tooting are sixth in Isthmian League South Central Division and travel to seventh-placed Ware this weekend, before a midweek visit to Molesey.
They are four points behind Cheshunt, who occupy the last play-off spot, but Bosah’s men have a game in hand.
They will be hoping for more fireworks from striker Ghandour in the weeks ahead – a player who typifies the progress of some of the younger players this season.
“He took his goals really well and we’re really proud of him,” Bosah said. “He’s still only 19 and is a young lad learning his trade. He works really hard, makes things happen and has so much potential.
“He’s good at holding up the ball but also good at running in behind defences to get on the end of things. He’s got five goals for us now and there’s more to come.”
Tooting will be without another of their teenage starlets this week, however. Isaiah Jones, just back from a successful trial at Middlesbrough, is not available for the next two games, as he completes a three-game suspension for a straight red picked up against Marlow two weeks ago.
It came in a match where he scored a wonder-goal in a 1-1 draw.
“That red card was very much out of character,” Bosah said. “He had a rush of blood after seeing a bad tackle on his team-mate and over-reacted when he went in for another challenge.
“He’s got a good temperament and from what we hear, he did himself justice on his recent trial. He is definitely on their radar and I really hope it works out for him.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.