Leafe lose out to hat-trick man in the "Zanone"
8:31am Wednesday 26th September 2012 in Sport
By Brian Davis
Whyteleafe's season of inconsistency in the Kent League Premier Division continued with a 3-1 defeat at Rochester United.
The hosts put Leafe under pressure from the start, forcing them into conceding a couple of needless corners.
From the second, Tommy Smith headed against his own bar attempting to clear, then Jordan Johnson conceded a penalty and got a yellow card for his trouble.
This was all in the first four minutes, and the league's leading scorer Stuart Zanone made no mistake from the spot.
Leafe responded and Danny Higgs' 12th minute header from a Jahmel Heyward cross was tipped round the post by Joe Hagan.
Higgs had an even better chance in the 33rd minute when Johnson sent him clear but he took too long to get his shot in, giving Hagan the time to come out and block.
Rochester increased their lead early in the second half when Zanone beat the offside trap, rounded Paul Smith and slotted home.
Leafe introduced Jay Garrick for the struggling Paul Scott and he injected some life into the attack.
Johnson was unlucky with a fine 25-yard strike in the 55th minute that was tipped round the post.
Zanone went close to a hat-trick in the 73rd minute when he chipped Smith, but the Leafe keeper scrambled back to tip the ball over the bar.
Lari Yao came on in the 82nd minute and immediately gave Leafe some hope when he scored from close range seconds after coming on.
But with Leafe pushing forward in search of an equaliser, Zanone took advantage of the space and again rounded Smith to complete his hat-trick and put the game beyond reach.
Leafe host Tunbridge Wells this weekend at Church Road, kick off 3pm.