Leatherhead 2 Southall 1

Leatherhead kicked off the new season with a 2-1 win against a well organised Southall side at Fetcham Grove on Saturday.

Ollie Cook gave Tanners the lead with a close range finish in the 53 rd minute before the visitors responded with an equaliser three minutes later.

The match appeared to be heading for a draw before being decided by an 89 th minute Kenny Beaney penalty after Trevan Robinson was shoved off the ball in the visitors’ area.

Leatherhead manager Hayden Bird gave a debut to goalkeeper Mikey Allen, signed earlier in the week on a season-long loan from Fulham. The young keeper made some key saves during the match but was at fault for Southall’s equaliser with a poor

Tanners had the better opportunities in a quiet opening half, with Alpha Diallo doing well to get the ball to the by-line on a couple of occasions before failing to deliver telling crosses into the visitors’ penalty area.

Leatherhead snatched the lead early in the second half. A probing Beaney free kick picked out Robinson at the far post, who headed down for an advancing Cook to drill home from close range.

The visitors responded quickly with a goal out of nothing. Allen mishit a clearance from the edge of his penalty area into the path of Anthony Mendy, and the Southall forward calmly lobbed the keeper from 35 yards out.

The referee made a point of punishing any misdemeanours, brandishing nine yellow cards throughout the match including three cautions for players caught kicking the ball away after free kicks had been awarded. Southall defender Joshua Green received
a second yellow card in the 67 th minute for a late tackle, reducing the visitors to ten men for the remainder of the match.

Dan Hector nearly restored Tanners’ lead on 69 minutes with a turn and shot which went narrowly over the bar. And five minutes later Jamie Splatt’s sweeping cross into the box found substitute Dave Tarpey, whose close range shot was well saved by
visiting keeper Michael Edegbe.
Allen atoned for his earlier mistake with two fine saves in the closing minutes, blocking a breakaway effort from Mendy before comfortably dealing with Kevin Songolo’s looping header.

Tanners sealed the points after a soft penalty was awarded in the dying minutes when Robinson was nudged off the ball by Southall defender. Beaney made no mistake with the spot-kick, drilling the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

The result gives Leatherhead the winning start to the season they were looking for as they prepare to visit South Park (Reigate) for an FA Cup Preliminary Round tie next Saturday.

Leatherhead: Mikey Allen, Alpha Diallo, Michael Elechi (Tyler Cox 67), Fabio
Saraiva, Ollie Cook, Jamie Splatt, Trey Masikini (Dave Tarpey 67), Kenny Beaney,
Trevan Robinson, Dan Hector (Junior Savanne 90), Gus Sow