Leatherhead 2 Merstham 1
Two smash and grab goals from Dan Hector secured a stunning late turnaround win for Leatherhead
against Merstham at Fetcham Grove on Tuesday evening.
The well organised Moatsiders appeared to be coasting to victory in the closing minutes after Jean-
Pascale Masikini’s well struck penalty gave the visitors the lead after 55 minutes.
Merstham were convinced they had scored a second goal on 86 minutes, only for it to be ruled out
for offside by the referee’s assistant, before Leatherhead finally clicked into gear to score twice in
three pulsating minutes of play to turn a disappointing defeat into a jubilant victory.
The visitors showed more pace and fluidity from the outset as they pressed the Tanners defence.
Leatherhead keeper Serine Sanneh was forced to make a series of smart saves throughout the
opening half as the Moatsiders pushed forward at every opportunity.
Leatherhead barely had a shot on target in the opening half, failing to test Filip Chalupniczak until
Omarr Lawson’s wide angled shot was easily gathered by the Merstham keeper after 50 minutes.
The visitors broke the deadlock with a penalty awarded on 55 minutes after Leatherhead defender
Louis Collins made a clumsy late challenge on a Merstham player running into the box. Masikini
calmly stepped up and stroked the spot-kick past Sanneh to give the Moatsiders a well-deserved
Leatherhead manager Hayden Bird made a triple substitution on 64 minutes in an effort to inject
some extra pace into a Tanners side somehow lacking the same drive and purpose as the visitors.
And yet within a few minutes of these changes, Leatherhead’s Hector was seen hobbling around the
pitch with the knowledge that no further changes could be made.
In the closing twenty minutes the Moatsiders’ physio was called onto the pitch to offer treatment for
cramp on three separate occasions, as the tiring Merstham players made cynical attempts to run
down the clock.
The visitors thought they had secured the win with a second goal on 86 minutes when Bryan Zepo’s
curling shot was pushed away by Sanneh, only for the final touch from an advancing forward to be
ruled out for offside.
Leatherhead stepped up a gear in the closing stages, equalising on 88 minutes with a thunderous
wide-angled shot from Hector that flew through a crowd of players and into the corner of the net.
Tanners’ turnaround was completed two minutes later, as Hector stole in to meet a well struck
Collins corner with a close range glancing header.
Six minutes of stoppage time followed before the referee blew the final whistle on a remarkable last
gasp win for Tanners.
The inconsolable visitors left the pitch visibly distraught long after Leatherhead’s players had
finished celebrating with their supporters, as the Moatsiders face an undoubtedly hard fight against
automatic relegation in their remaining four matches.
Meanwhile Tanners move up to eighth place with an outside chance of a play-off spot, as they
prepare to face fifth placed Hanworth Villa at Fetcham Grove on Saturday.
Leatherhead: Serine Sanneh, Jerry Puemo, Louis Collins, Ben Frempah, Fikayo Atewologun, Olly Allen
(Kwesi Ntim 64), Dan Hector, Alpha Diallo (Jamie Splatt 64), Javaun Splatt (Alex Addai 64), Dave
Tarpey, Omarr Lawson
Merstham: Filip Chalupniczak, Luke Read, Aaron Goode, Aziz Sankoh, Charlie Alexiou, Ayman
Gharbaoui, Jordan Wilson, Jean-Pascale Masikini, Adam Adam (Bryan Zepo 74), Adam Allen (Ore
Bello 69), Mario Quiassaca