Leatherhead 2 South Park (Reigate) 1
Leatherhead overcame a determined South Park side 2-1 in a tightly contested FA
Cup Preliminary Round replay at Fetcham Grove on Tuesday.
Tanners started brightly, taking a two-goal lead into the half-time break. But
Leatherhead’s grip on the tie gradually loosened, and they rarely threatened South
Park going forward in the second half.
Sparks hit back with a late goal in second half stoppage time, inducing a nerve
wracking final three minutes of added time as the visitors searched in vain for an
Leatherhead suffered an early setback with the loss of Michael Elechi to a leg injury
after six minutes. The wingback was replaced by Alpha Diallo.
Tanners pushed forward and took the lead after nine minutes. Dan Hector swivelled
past two Sparks defenders, taking the ball down to the by-line before delivering a
telling pass to Omarr Lawson, who stroked his shot into the net.
Leatherhead attempted to build on their early advantage. Efforts from Gus Sow and
Hector were met with good saves from Sparks’ keeper Danny Bracken.
Tanners doubled their lead in first half stoppage time. The ball was crossed into a
crowded six-yard box from the left and came off the head of Sparks defender Ethan
Kaiser for an unfortunate own goal.
Leatherhead’s control of the tie dipped noticeably in the second half as Sparks picked
up the pace. Goalkeeper Mikey Allen did well to block an effort from Kieran Lavery
before the South Park striker fired another shot just wide of the post on the hour mark.
The visitors continued to press forward and scored in stoppage time to make for a
tense finish. With two minutes of added time played, Sparks took advantage of a loose
pass from Tanners’ skipper Kenny Beaney, feeding the ball through to an advancing
Lavery, who slid it past Allen into the corner of the net.
In a nail-biting final three minutes of stoppage time, Bracken came out of his goal to
join a hoard of players in the Tanners penalty area, as the hosts were forced to defend
a succession of late Sparks’ corners. But for all their second half pressing, South Park
were unable to find a second goal to force the tie into extra time.
Leatherhead’s reward for this hard-fought victory is a First Qualifying Round home
tie against Isthmian Premier side Horsham. Meanwhile Tanners and Sparks return to
Whitehall Lane on Saturday for a third meeting in eight days, as they face each other
in a League match.
Leatherhead: Mikey Allen, Tyler Cox, Michael Elechi (Alpha Diallo 6), Fikayo
Atewologun, Ollie Cook, Jerry Puemo (Junior Savane 71), Fabio Sariava, Kenny
Beaney, Dan Hector, Gus Sow (Luke Phair 74), Omarr Lawson
South Park (Reigate): Danny Bracken, Jack Tucker, Jude Molloy (Kelvin Manuel
Massango 71), Craig McGee, Ethan Kaiser, Ryan Healy, Deondre Date, Brendan
Murphy McVey, Kieran Lavery, Sam King (Aiden Brown 45), Ben Jordan (James