Virginia Water 2 Leatherhead 2 (Virginia Water win 4-3 on penalties)
Leatherhead bowed out of the Southern Combination Cup against Virginia Water following a tense
penalty shoot-out at Stag Meadow on Tuesday evening.
Waters’ goalkeeper Jones was undoubtedly the man of the match, not only for saving a Kenny
Beaney penalty towards the end of a frenetic ninety minutes that would have surely won the tie for
Tanners, but also for keeping out three Leatherhead spot-kicks in the shoot-out.
Tanners boss Hayden Bird opted to start the match with some key changes from the side that beat
Thatcham Town in the League on Saturday, with first team regulars Kenny Beaney and Dave Tarpey
moved to the subs bench.
Waters began strongly with Jack Mullan testing Tanners keeper Serine Sanneh with a fearsome drive
in the second minute. The wind played a key part in proceedings, as moments later Sanneh
uncharacteristically dropped a high cross caught in a strong gust, allowing the hosts to shoot. But
Leatherhead centre-back Jerry Puemo recovered well to clear off the ball the line.
Waters continued to press forward and took the lead in the fourteenth minute. A free kick was
pumped into the Leatherhead box from the left and Jamie Spencer struck the ball home.
Tanners levelled on 20 minutes when Waters failed to deal with a Leatherhead corner and the ball
was smashed into the net by an advancing Puemo.
The hosts restored their lead on 33 minutes with an in swinging corner from the right. Casey Bocarro
got a firm touch to the ball in front on Sanneh to squeeze it home through a crowded penalty area.
With the tie firmly in Waters’ control, Leatherhead made four changes on 57 minutes with Beaney,
Tarpey, Kwesi Ntim and Brian Gorzan introduced simultaneously to add some fire power to the
The impact was almost immediate. Tanners upped the tempo of this flagging cup-tie with a wave of
advances as they sought to unlock the solid Waters defence.
Gorzan set up a good chance for Javaun Splatt, but the tall Leatherhead striker put the ball into the
side netting from a tight angle. Another Tanners breakaway on 69 minutes saw Jones come hurtling
off his line to reach the ball ahead of an advancing Tarpey.
But there was no denying Leatherhead’s leading goal scorer on 80 minutes, as he strode into the
penalty area and beat Jones with a confident finish to level the scores.
Tanners should have sealed the tie moments later when Will Hellestoe was cut down in the box and
the referee blew for a Leatherhead penalty. Beaney’s spot kick was driven low to the keeper’s left,
but Jones guessed correctly and made a fine save to deny the Tanners midfielder.
Leatherhead dominated possession for the final ten minutes but were unable to find a way past the
resolute Waters defence.
And so yet another Tanners cup tie was to be decided by penalties. But with four penalty shoot-out
wins already under their belts this season, there was no room for complacency with this fifth one.
While Leatherhead’s keeper Sanneh denied Waters’ Cartwright and Jones, the hosts’ keeper saved
efforts from Beaney, Gorzan and Ntim, giving James Clark the honour of firing home the final spot
kick to give Combined Counties League Virginia Water a well-earned place in the semi-finals.
Tanners return to Isthmian League action on Saturday with a visit to lowly Bedfont Sports, as they
attempt to reinvigorate their flagging season with a top half of the table finish.
Virginia Water: Jones, Cartwright, Ryan Blake (Izzy Goddard-Joseph 64), Billy Blake (Matt Holliday
90), Joe McBride, Dunkley, Casey Bocarro, Jack Mullan, Jamie Spencer (Turnell Sinclair 69), James
Goudey (Adam McNamara 75), James Clark (Sam Blakeborough 82)
Leatherhead: Serine Sanneh, Bradley Manning (Will Hellestoe 67), Jude Molloy, Jerry Puemo, Fikayo
Atewologun, Ollie Allen (Kenny Beaney 57), Alex Addai (Dave Tarpey 57),Luke Phair (Kwesi Ntim 57),
Javaun Splatt, Dan Hector, Paul Chalobah (Brian Gorzan 57)