by Rod Ellis
Walton & Hersham 3 Leatherhead 1 (FA Trophy First Qualifying Round)
Tanners bowed out of the FA Trophy after a poor first half display against Walton & Hersham at the Xcel Sports Hub on Tuesday, with the hosts scoring three times in the opening half hour.
With a three goal advantage Swans took their foot off the gas after the break, allowing the visitors several chances to reduce their lead. Jermaine McGlashan duly obliged with a goal for Leatherhead midway through the second half, but by then the tie had been truly settled in Walton’s favour.
Following the sudden departure of three first team players last week Tanners manager Luke Tuffs made several changes to his starting line-up, handing debuts to new signings Edward Komey-Guadelope, Benedict Frempah and Mitchell Parker.
Swans took advantage of the visitors’ inexperience as a playing unit with an opening goal on eight minutes. Leatherhead’s frail defence were caught out by a short corner to Taurean Roberts, who was given sufficient space to turn, shoot and score from close range.
Jordan Adeyemi doubled the Swans lead on 18 minutes, coolly collecting the ball 40 yards from goal and taking a couple of touches before drilling a low shot past Tanners keeper Luke Williams from outside the penalty area. Walton should have added a third moments later. A probing cross from the right was played low through a crowded six yard box but found no one in a red shirt to finish.
Leatherhead were continually outpaced by their opponents on the slippery 3G playing surface in the opening half. Max Blackmore broke clear for the hosts on 23 minutes, but his long range effort was deflected for a corner.
Tanners’ frustration was borne out with a booking for Komey-Guadelope on 28 minutes. The defender grabbed at a Walton player’s shoulders after being beaten to the ball at the half-way line. He was replaced moments later by Jerry O’Sullivan.
Blackmore broke through the Tanners defence with ease on the half hour mark to nab Swans third and at that stage it looked as though Leatherhead might sink without trace. But there was a far more positive turnaround after the interval, with the visitors fighting back and creating a number of chances in their opponents’ half. Archie Burnett forced a fine save from Liam Allen with the Walton keeper called into action for the first time after 57 minutes.
John Gilbert nearly added a fourth for Swans on 63 minutes, working well with Blackmore before firing a rasping shot against the bar.
But Tanners continued to press forward and were rewarded with a McGlashan goal on 68 minutes, curling a shot into the top corner. Archie Burnett missed a chance to add a second goal moments later, firing over from close range.
With the tie moving into stoppage time, Leatherhead created further chances to reduce the arrears. McGlashan fired into the side netting from a tight angle before Mitchell Parker’s late effort was deflected off a post for a corner.
Walton & Hersham: Liam Allen, Joe Pratley-Jones, Jude Molloy, Taurean Roberts, Domonic Ogun, Joe Hicks, Harry Mills, Arsen Ujkaj (Flynn Bolton 82), Max Blackmore, John Gilbert, Jordan Adeyemi (Ollie Twum 71)
Leatherhead: Luke Williams, Edward Komey-Guadelope (Jerry O’Sullivan 29), Briggs Ojemen (Keane Anderson 46), Samir Bajja, Danny Dudley, Benedict Frempah, Archie Burnett, Adam Allen (Will Hellestoe 83), Jermaine McGlashan, Mitchell Parker, Josh Webb