by Rod Ellis, Leatherhead FC Match Reporter
Leatherhead 0 Walton & Hersham 2 (Pitching In Isthmian League South Central Division)
Leatherhead slipped to a third consecutive home league defeat in a fast paced local derby against Walton & Hersham.
Second half goals from Taurean Roberts and John Gilbert saw the Swans edge an evenly contested match at Fetcham Grove.
Tanners had the better of the opening half but failed to raise their game after the break, allowing the visitors sufficient space to run at defenders and create chances in front of goal.
Leatherhead started brightly enough and came close to scoring midway through the opening half. Keane Anderson picked out Elliott Buchanan in the visitors’ box, but the Tanners striker’s goal bound effort was cleared off the line by Walton full-back Jude Molloy.
Leatherhead continued to press forward and Buchanan tested Walton keeper Liam Allen with a deft touch on Dave Tarpey’s well-directed free kick after 35 minutes.
Walton missed an opportunity to take the lead just before half-time, as Joe Pratley-Jones fired wide from the edge of the box.
The visitors’ intensity increased in the second half, with some good passing and possession football, leading to a narrow miss from Dominic Ogun-Forster after 54 minutes.
Swans took the lead after 64 minutes. The Tanners defence failed to close down Roberts on the edge of the box and the much travelled striker fired a perfectly weighted shot into the bottom corner of the net.
A string of substitutions followed and Leatherhead sub Reece Robins almost equalised, taking the ball past two Walton defenders before firing a low shot just wide of the post.
Swans grew in confidence and doubled their lead on 84 minutes thanks to an appalling mix up in the Tanners defence. A long delivery towards the edge of the penalty area found the ball in no-man’s land between Leatherhead defender Tom Bird and goalkeeper Luke Williams. Gilbert swept in between the two players, lobbing the ball over Williams and into an empty net.
Walton nearly added a third goal in injury-time when Bird collided with fellow defender Danny Dudley on the edge of the Tanners’ penalty area, allowing a loose ball to run on to Arsen Ujkaj. But the Walton sub’s shot was well saved by Williams.
Leatherhead: Luke Williams, Louie Paget (Tom Bird 67), Jerry O’Sullivan, Joshua Webb, Danny Dudley, Mitchal Gough, Will Hellestoe (Reece Robins 60), Archie Burnett (Jermaine McGlashan 67), Dave Tarpey, Elliot Buchanan, Keane Anderson
Walton & Hersham: Liam Allen, Joe Pratley-Jones, Jude Molloy, Alex Kelly, Charlie Nicholas, Joe Hicks, Dominic Ogun-Forster, Taurean Roberts (Reece Brewster 83), Max Blackmore (Jordan Adeyemi 73), Eddie Simon (Arsen Ujkaj 66), John Gilbert.