Four-midable Leafe overcome two-goal deficit to reach League Cup quarter-finals

Your Local Guardian: Second time's a charm: Michael Abnett celebrates his retaken penalty against Sevenoaks    SP70855 Second time's a charm: Michael Abnett celebrates his retaken penalty against Sevenoaks SP70855

By Allen Kelly

Whyteleafe overcame a two-goal deficit to cruise comfortably into the quarter-finals of the Kent League Cup at the expense of Sevenoaks Town.

After losing the first leg 3-1, goals from Cedric Abrahams, a Michael Abnett spot-kick, Che Stadhart and Jerson Dos Santos saw Leafe ease through 4-0 on the day and 5-3 on aggregate.

Leafe pressed forward right from the start, and after only three minutes Town’s George Smith was pressurised into handling in the area but Dos Santos hit the resulting penalty against the bar.

Dos Santos had two further clear chances in the first quarter of an hour but Town’s keeper, Matt Bailey, was proving equal to everything that was being fired at him.

Leafe’s superiority was almost complete and it was not until 25 minutes into the game before Town managed to mount an attack but the home side’s defence was up to the challenge.

Then a fine sweeping movement between Abnett, Paul Scott and Dos Santos resulted in a shot that went narrowly wide.

It was not proving to be a happy tie for Sevenoaks’ George Smith. After being sent off in the first leg and conceding the early penalty, he was the victim of a searing tackle by Dean Palmer.

The perpetrator was cautioned and, after some delay, Smith left on a stretcher. Luckily, the injury proved not to be as serious as was at first feared.

In first half added time, Leafe were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, and Abnett’s finely crafted kick was headed powerfully past Bailey by Abrahams.

Within a minute, Getro Kilapi was brought down in the box. Abnett took the kick but Bailey appeared to save. The linesman signalled that the keeper had moved off his line so Abnett was allowed to retake the kick. Finally, at the third attempt in the game, Leafe had scored from a penalty.

Sevenoaks were annoyed by the decision, and both a defender and the goalkeeper took their protestations too far and were cautioned. The encroachment had indeed been marginal; many officials would have ignored it but it meant that Leafe went in at half time level on aggregate.

The home side continued their almost total domination after the interval.

Scott ploughed his way through a succession of fierce tackles only to lose control just in front of goal, before a long shot from Michael Abnett hit the base of the post with Bailey well beaten and a pinpoint cross from Kalapi found Scott, but his header went narrowly wide.

At last, in the 70th minute, Stadhart found the net with a piercing shot to put Leafe ahead.

There was a brief flurry of activity from the visitors but the match was settled after 78 minutes when Dos Santos found the net from a wide shot to seal the Leafe comeback.

Leafe take on Erith & Belvedere in the two-legged quarter-final on a date yet to be confirmed - this weekend they return to the Kent League Premier Division at Greenwich Borough.

 

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