Raynes Park Vale 0 Leatherhead 1

Leatherhead opened up a five point gap on fifth-placed Raynes Park Vale with a
narrow win at Prince George’s Playing Fields on Saturday.

Ibrahim Olutade’s close range finish on 87 minutes was all the separated the two
sides, allowing the visitors to complete a league double over Vale following last
month’s 4-1 comprehensive victory at Fetcham Grove.

With Ollie Cook and Daniel Hector added to Leatherhead’s growing list of injuries,
Tanners boss Hayden Bird was forced into making some key additions to his playing
squad with three new signings in the starting eleven.

Striker Olutade returns to Leatherhead on loan from Walton & Hersham for the rest of
the season. Centre back Jerry Puemo comes back after a loan spell at Carshalton
Athletic, while goalkeeper Amadou Tangara is well known to both Bird and Tanners
Sporting Director Junior Kadi, after having played for them in spells at Merstham and
Dulwich Hamlet.

Saturday’s match ebbed and flowed in a thoroughly entertaining opening half, with
both sides creating plenty of opportunities in front of goal.

Leatherhead kicked off playing up the big slope towards the clubhouse. On 13
minutes, Omarr Lawson put a fine delivery into the box which Olutade headed
narrowly wide.

A minute later Vale’s Jordan Gallagher intercepted the ball of the edge of the visitors’
penalty area following a moment of hesitation between Tangara and the Leatherhead
defence, forcing a good recovering block from the new keeper at his near post.

Lawson created another good opportunity for the visitors, floating a well-directed
cross into the hosts’ six-yard box. Puemo’s glancing header flew just over the bar.
Louie Downey tested Tangara with a powerful low shot on 18 minutes forcing
another good block. The ball was quickly played up to the other end and fed through
to Lawson in the box, who chested it down before forcing a fine save from Vale
keeper Slavomir Huk.

Tanners continued to press forward creating another opportunity in front of goal on 24
minutes. But defender Jerry O’Sullivan calmly won the ball back for Vale before
calmly steering it forward to create another break for the hosts.

The second half presented fewer opportunities with neither side as adventurous going
forward, with possession football becoming more prominent.

Vale won a corner on 72 minutes. Tanners failed to make an effective clearance and
Callum Hope got on the end of another cross into the box, heading just over from
close range.

Two minutes later Vale’s Brad Sweeney bore down on goal before Puemo made a
well-timed challenge to deny the midfielder.

With the match going into the final five minutes of normal time there was still no clue
as to who, if anyone, would break the deadlock.

But on 87 minutes Trevan Robinson stole into Vale’s penalty area from the right,
delivering a perfectly timed cross for an advancing Olutade to hammer home from
close range.

There was still sufficient time remaining for Vale to hit back. On 89 minutes a
Gallagher strike was turned behind for a corner.

And deep in stoppage time Tangara gathered up Jermaine Green’s curling cross into
the heart of Leatherhead’s six yard box a split second before Gallagher could get his
head to it.

The final whistle brought equal measures of joy and relief to the visitors as they
chalked up yet another narrow win to keep themselves well in contention for the end
of season play-offs.

Next up for Tanners is a rearranged league fixture against Chipstead at Fetcham
Grove on Tuesday. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Raynes Park Vale: Slavomir Huk, Jordan Stepney, Jerry O’Sullivan, Brad Sweeney,
Louie Downey (James Dickson 73), Jordan Gallagher, Dan Moody, Jermaine Green,
Seanan McKillop, Reece Hannigan (Callum Hope 63), Charlie Penny (Chinedu
McKenzie 56)

Leatherhead: Amadou Tangara, Luther Williams, Tyler Cox, Jamie Splatt, Jerry
Puemo, Fikayo Atewologun, Trey Masikini (Emarjay Campbell-Jones 75), Fabio
Saraiva, Trevan Robinson, Ibrahim Olutade (Junior Savane 90), Omarr Lawson