by Rod Ellis
Leatherhead 2 Kingstonian1
Tanners overcame local rivals Kingstonian in a closely contested Velocity Cup Third Round tie at Fetcham Grove on Tuesday.
Talk ahead of the tie centred around Leatherhead’s loan signing this week of Dorking Wanderers goalkeeper Slavomir Huk for the remainder of the season. Huk made his Tanners debut and lived up to his formidable reputation with a highly impressive performance against a strong Ks side.
Huk was called into action after eight minutes when Jermaine McGlashan was bundled over in possession by Kingstonian’s Kieron Cadogan. But the consistently lenient referee waved play on, and the new Tanners keeper was forced into making a fine save to block the Ks striker’s goal-bound effort.
Kingstonian were the stronger side in the opening half and created another good chance to open the scoring on 16 minutes when Jack Strange headed over Sean Bonnett-Johnson’s probing cross.
Ks physicality was called into question again on 34 minutes when a heavy challenge from Bonnett-Johnson dispossessed Tanners midfielder Luke Phair, while the referee nonchalantly allowed play to continue. Huk stood firm to block the advancing Ks midfielder’s powerful shot to keep the scores level.
Leatherhead took the lead against the run of play on 40 minutes, thanks to a bizarre Ks own goal. An innocuous looking back pass from Strange completely outwitted Ks keeper Rob Tolfrey, positioned on the opposite side of his goalmouth as the ball ran tantalisingly over the goal line.
Kingstonian came out for the second half determined to hit back. And their efforts were rewarded with an equaliser from Corey Parchment on 55 minutes, the Ks midfielder hitting a superb shot from 30 yards to find the corner of the net.
Leatherhead produced their most coherent spell of play over the next ten minutes, stringing together a series of attacks culminating in a second goal for the hosts after 63 minutes. Michael Elechi did well to round a Ks defender on the left before drilling a finely weighted pass to find an advancing Lewis Pearch in the box who fired home from close range.
Pearch almost added another for Tanners four minutes later, forcing a good save from Tolfrey.
With Tanners firmly in control, Kingstonian were unable to find a way back in the closing stages of the match. Ks best chance came with an effort from Declan Skura on 79 minutes, but Huk made another good save to once again deny the visitors.
Leatherhead’s reward for this solid performance is a fourth round tie away to the winners of next week’s Velocity Cup fixture between Binfield and Sutton Common Rovers.
Leatherhead: Slavomir Huk, Max Mullins, Michael Elechi, Fikayo Atewologun, Harry Osborne, Keane Anderson, Lewis Pearch (Jake Eales 87), Olly Allen, Dave Tarpey, Luke Phair (Samir Bajja 55), Jermaine McGlashan (Louis Collins 67)
Kingstonian: Rob Tolfrey, Declan Skura, Geneiro Maragh, Jack Strange, Michael Abnett, Sean Bonnett-Johnson, Corey Parchment, Kenny Beany, Kieron Cadogan, Nodirbek Bobomurodov, Denilson Carvalho Subs: Kwesi Ntim, Amine Sassi, Iker Noguera Leon