By Rod Ellis
Image – Chloe Woodington
Basingstoke Town 2 Leatherhead 0
Basingstoke Town made it twelve league wins in a row as they overcame Leatherhead 2-0 in a hard
fought match at the Winklebury Football Complex on Saturday.
Goals from Paul Hodges and Brody Peart sealed the points for ‘Stoke, while Tanners had defender
Jerry Puemo sent off twenty minutes from the end for a last ditch challenge on Brad Wilson.
Leatherhead manager Hayden Bird made five changes to the side that lost against Raynes Park Vale
in the Surrey Senior Cup in midweek, including the return of goalkeeper Slavomir Huk and a debut
for Jude Molloy at left back.
‘Stoke dominated the opening exchanges, as Huk denied Ben Cook with two fine saves in the
seventh minute. Cook’s initial shot was well blocked and half cleared before the Leatherhead goalie
reacted quickly to keep out the forward’s follow-up header.
But the goal-hungry hosts took the lead after ten minutes, with the Tanners’ defence ripped wide
open by a decisive break down the middle. George Reid whipped a pinpoint cross into the box from
the right and an advancing Hodges fired home from close range.
Leatherhead were unfazed by the goal and quickly settled into a steady passage of play, moving the
ball around in the midfield as they sought a way to unlock the well organised ‘Stoke defence.
Orchestrated by their stand-in captain Kenny Beaney, Tanners almost drew level on 24 minutes. Olly
Allen’s long range effort clattered against the crossbar before the ball was gratefully recovered by
goalkeeper Paul Strudley.
Basingstoke’s Wilson was the main threat to Leatherhead in the second half. The division’s leading
scorer, with 25 goals to date, broke clear down the left on 70 minutes and his firm shot struck the
top of the bar.
The match turned firmly to the hosts’ advantage a minute later. Wilson was again put through on
goal, but this time the Basingstoke goal machine was felled outside the box by a lunging tackle from
Puemo. The referee went straight to his back pocket and brandished a red card for the Tanners
Thereafter ‘Stoke pressed forward in search of a decisive second goal. It duly came on 89 minutes
with Callum Winchcombe launching a probing cross into the box from the left. Peart arrived at the
far post and instinctively nodded the ball down onto the 4G pitch, with the firm bounce taking it
over the line and into the back of the net.
Overall this was a much improved performance from Leatherhead on an unfamiliar playing surface,
against a side brimming with confidence and heading the league table by seven points.
Tanners will need to build on this showing when they visit Ashford Town (Middx) for their next
league match on Tuesday.
Basingstoke Town: Paul Strudley, Marcus Johnson Schuster, Callum Winchcombe, Simon Dunn, Billy
Upton, Scott Armsworth, Brad Wilson (Marcio Neves 89), Ben Cook, Paul Hodges, James Clark
(Michael Atkinson 70), George Reid (Brody Peart 81)
Leatherhead: Slavomir Huk, Alpha Diallo (Paul Chalobah 83), Jude Molloy, Jerry Puemo, Fikayo
Atewologun, Ben Frempah, Kenny Beaney, Olly Allen (Francisco Fernades-Gomes 71), Javaun Splatt,
Omarr Lawson (Archie Burnett 83), Dan Hector