Author: Rod Ellis, Leatherhead FC Match Reporter
Photo Credit: @jussyjpg
Leatherhead 3 Haywards Heath Town 0 (FA Cup Preliminary Round)
Leatherhead made a resounding start to their FA Cup campaign with a comprehensive 3-0 win against Haywards Heath Town.
Two goals from Dave Tarpey and a late third from Jermaine McGlashan told only part of the story. Tanners were much sharper in attack, tighter in defence and played with an all-round level of confidence that was all too obviously missing from their two opening League fixtures.
Keane Anderson set up Leatherhead’s first goal, with Tarpey latching onto the Aldershot Town loanee’s probing free kick to score from close range after 13 minutes.
Elliott Buchanan almost added a second for the hosts eight minutes later. JJ O’Sullivan found Tarpey on the right, with the Tanners skipper picking out Buchanan in the box, whose firm drive beat Haywards Heath keeper Billy Collings and came back off the post.
Collings did well to save another effort from Buchanan after 23 minutes, as the hosts gradually took control of the tie.
Will Hellestoe constantly troubled the Heathens defence with his pace down the right flank and on 33 minutes the young Tanners winger was brought down just outside the visitors’ penalty area. Joshua Webb’s ensuing free kick sped across the six yard box without finding anyone to provide a decisive finish.
Leatherhead continued to command possession in the second half and doubled their lead after 48 minutes. O’Sullivan picked out Buchanan on the right and the former Farnborough and Kingstonian forward delivered an inch perfect pass from the by-line for an advancing Tarpey to drive home from close range.
Mitchal Gough came close to adding a third for Leatherhead on 57 minutes, hitting a 25 yard free kick just wide of the post.
Collings was much the busier of the two goalkeepers throughout. The Haywards Heath custodian was again called into action to make another fine save from Tarpey after 68 minutes.
There were strong appeals for a Tanners penalty five minutes later when Tarpey went down in the box after an untidy Heathens challenge. But the referee inexplicably waved play on.
Following the introduction of Melford Simpson the visitors briefly threatened a fightback in the last fifteen minutes, with the burly striker muscling in on a couple of half chances.
But it was two of the hosts’ substitutes who combined to round off a highly satisfying win for the Tanners. Three minutes into added time McGlashan latched onto a probing pass from Briggs Ojemon and the quick paced forward squeezed the ball over the advancing Collings for Leatherhead’s third.
“We’ve still got lots to learn” said Tanners boss Luke Tuffs. “Today the boys ran through some brick walls, which was something that was really missing seven days ago. I couldn’t have asked any more from them today. ”
“Haywards Heath asked a lot of questions. As a group, we know that we’re not quite where we need to be yet. But we had that energy and absolute desire to come out on top. ”
Leatherhead: Luke Williams, Tom Bird, Jerry O’Sullivan, Adam Allen, Mitchell Gough, Danny Dudley, Will Hellestoe (Briggs Ojemon 89), Keane Anderson (Like Phair 76), Dave Tarpey, Elliot Buchanan (Jermaine McGlashan 76), Joshua Webb
Haywards Heath Town: Billy Collings, Marc Lida Gballou, Tom Cadman, Byron Napper, Dean Gunner, Alahady Ibrahaim Jalloh, James Dickson (Filippo di Bonito 79), Ahmed Abdulla (Jake Lindsey 79), Thomas Collins, Alex Laing, Callum Chesworth (Melford Simpson 67)