Author: Rod Ellis, Leatherhead FC Match Reporter
Thatcham Town 1 Leatherhead 2 (Pitching In Isthmian League South Central Division)
Leatherhead secured their first League win of the season with a solid away performance against Thatcham Town.
Joshua Webb’s stunning strike for the visitors lit up a largely uneventful opening half. Tanners doubled their lead midway through the second half with a big deflection off Elliott Buchanan’s right thigh, before Thatcham pulled back a late goal to make for a tense finish.
Luke Tuffs gave a debut to Steven Duff in an otherwise familiar Leatherhead line up. But the former Hartley Witney midfielder lasted only 17 minutes before pulling up with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Briggs Ojemon.
Leatherhead took the lead on 36 minutes when Buchanan’s probing cross from the left picked out Webb in the box, who fired home with a thunderous volley from 12 yards.
Dave Tarpey had a chance to add a second for Tanners after 41 minutes as he tried to take the ball past goalkeeper Jack Hopwood. But the Kingfishers custodian did well to gather the ball at the Leatherhead striker’s feet.
Thatcham almost equalised on the hour mark when a fierce cross from Lewis Francis was headed behind for a corner by Tanners defender Mitchal Gough.
Leatherhead’s second goal came with a heavy deflection off Buchanan’s right leg following a wayward shot from Tarpey. Buchanan froze in front of goal for a moment before celebrating, but he was clearly in an onside position and the goal was allowed to stand.
Thatcham pulled back a goal after 83 minutes when Cory Hathaway’s long range effort ran through a crowded Leatherhead box on its way to the net.
Hathaway missed a chance to equalise in stoppage time after winning a free kick on the edge of the Tanners penalty area. But the Kingfishers forward blasted his late effort high over the bar before, moments later, the referee blew the final whistle.
“It’s a step in the right direction” said Tanners boss Luke Tuffs after the match. “As a group we are starting to build relationships in units and as individuals.”
“Thatcham asked some different questions and I thought we answered them for the most part. Our game management will need to be better. We should have been three or four nil up and, by the end, they had a free kick on the edge of the box to equalise in the last minute. And if that goes in, we’re flat. Little moments like that are really important.
“We’ve come a long way in the space of two weeks. We did say it would take a month or so to be where we need to be. That hasn’t changed. It’s a step in the right direction. There will be downs as well as ups and we need to be aware of that. What’s important is that we stay balanced in the good and the bad and that should see us fine”.
Thatcham Town: Jack Hopwood, Anton Miller, Lewis Francis, Lamar Koroma (68), Joshua Edwards, Oliver Bourne, Nathan Jones (Mo Ceesay 46), Ben Cook, Simeon Weekes (Alex Miller 46), Javin Dougan, Cory Hathaway
Leatherhead: Luke Williams, Steven Duff (Briggs Ojemon 17), Jerry O’Sullivan, Joshua Webb, Louie Paget, Mitchell Gough, Will Hellestoe (Reece Robins 80), Adam Allen, Dave Tarpey, Elliot Buchanan, Keane Anderson (Archie Burnett 77)