Herne Bay 1 Leatherhead 6
Tanners kicked off their FA Trophy campaign in style with a six-goal masterclass at
Herne Bay on Saturday.
Leatherhead striker Trevan Robinson deservedly received all the plaudits with four
second half goals as the makeshift Bay defence visibly wilted in the afternoon heat.
Tanners opened the scoring on 19 minutes. Bay failed to clear a Kenny Beaney corner
and Tyler Cox smashed the loose ball home from 18 yards.
Bay took the unusual step of making three defensive substitutions in the first half, as
they sought to find a way to combat the visitors’ early dominance. Centre back
skipper Liam Friend was withdrawn through an injury received just before half-time.
But two other Bay defenders were replaced earlier, as they were clearly unable to deal
with the pace and threats posed by Leatherhead’s Cox and Alpha Diallo.
Tanners missed out on chances to add to their lead before the interval, with Beaney
and Robinson forcing a couple of good saves from goalkeeper Harry Brooks and Trey
Masikini firing over from the edge of the box.
Leatherhead continued to press forward in the second half and doubled their lead on
54 minutes. Diallo worked the ball down to the by-line and delivered a fine cross for
an advancing Masikini to fire home from six yards out.
Bay pulled a goal back four minutes later. Former Tanner Archie Burnett sent a
probing cross into the visitors’ penalty area and striker Michael Salako dispatched it
from close range.
Leatherhead restored their two-goal advantage on 60 minutes, with Herne Bay unable
to defend another Beaney free kick. The Tanners skipper sent the ball high across the
goalmouth and Robinson leapt up to head home at the far post.
The former Chertsey Town strike missed out on a chance to increase the visitors’ lead
on 66 minutes. Robinson drew the keeper off his line but took too long on the ball and
fired his shot against the post. Daniel Hector pounced on the rebound but screwed the
Burnett threatened to pull another goal back for Bay on 74 minutes when the hosts
were awarded a free kick just outside Leatherhead’s penalty area. Goalkeeper Brian
Okonkwo made a fine block and the ball was quickly played up field. Masikini fed a
well-timed cross through to an advancing Robinson, who outpaced his marker and
drilled his shot into the corner of net.
The hosts threw caution to the wind, pushing forward in a desperate effort to reduce
the arrears, while leaving themselves even more exposed to a Tanners counter-attack.
On 88 minutes Robinson broke clear again at the half-way line, before confidently
rounding the keeper and firing home from a tight angle for his third of the afternoon
and Leatherhead’s fifth.
Tanners completed the rout with a sixth goal in the second minute of added time.
Substitute Bradley Manning won the ball on the right and delivered a well time cross
into the box for Robinson to score his fourth goal of the afternoon with a deft touch to
beat the keeper.
With all of the second half goals and substitutions plus a two-minute drinks break, the
referee should have been at least another three of four minutes of stoppage time. But
straight from the restart, the man in black decided to bring Herne Bay’s tortuous
afternoon to an early end as he blew the final whistle.
Herne Bay: Harry Brooks, Harrison Byford (Jacob Gilbert 38), Harry Brown (Michael
Salako 32), Frankie Smith, Liam Friend (Danny Walder 44), Dan Carrington, Gil
Carvalho, Archie Burnett, Kane Rowland, Bola Dawodu, Theo Osinfolarin
Leatherhead: Brian Okonkwo, Alpha Diallo (Bradley Manning 83), Tyler Cox (Kalani
Barton 83), Michael Elechi, Jerry Puemo, Fikayo Atewologun, Trey Masikini, Kenny
Beaney, Trevan Robinson, Daniel Hector, Gus Sow (Luke Phair)