Big win for Leatherhead
Goals from Vernon Francis and Charlie Holness gave Leatherhead three vital points in this relegation dog fight against Harrow Borough on Saturday as they won 2-0.
Francis headed Tanners into a first half lead and substitute Holness sealed the points with a well directed shot midway through the second half.
Leatherhead manager Richard Brady had a pre-match selection headache as Holness, down to make his first start for Tanners after a loan signing from Crystal Palace, was held up in traffic on his way to Fetcham Grove.
The number six shirt was given to Elliott Thompson, while Holness went on the subs bench, after eventually arriving at the ground just minutes before kick off.
It was a stroke of good fortune for Leatherhead, as Thompson lit up the first half with an unerring desire to win the ball and run with it.
Thompson set up Leatherhead’s first chance as early as the third minute, taking the ball down to the bye-line before playing back for Tom Hutchings to shoot at goal.
Hutchings’ shot went wide of the post, but Leatherhead had put down an early marker that they meant business.
The visitors offered little in the way of any resistance. Harry Ottaway won possession on the half way line after 17 minutes, and picked out Thompson on the edge of the area. The pacy midfielder saw Harrow keeper Jack Bonham off his line and lobbed a shot over his head and just wide of goal.
Tanners’ onslaught was rewarded with a goal after 29 minutes. Thompson delivered the ball out wide to the right for Billy Manners to send in a perfectly weighted cross for Francis to head home from close range.
Leatherhead almost doubled their lead two minutes later. Once more Manners provided a tempting delivery from the right for Francis to hit a thunderous shot, only for Bonham to pull off a great save, as he tipped the ball onto the bar.
Tanners dominated possession in the opening period and should have had a bigger lead going into the break.
Boro came out fighting in the second half and nearly equalised after 48 minutes. Rob Wolleaston produced a fine shot from well outside the area, to force a good block from Tanners keeper Chico Ramos.
Boro’s best chance came after 64 minutes when Danny Buckle won possession in Tanners’ six yard box and forced another fine close range save from Ramos.
Thompson then made way for Holness and the new signing made a perfect start, scoring with almost his first touch of the ball after 69 minutes. Hutchings won possession on the right and jinked his way past two Boro defenders before squaring a pass for Holness to tuck home in the left hand corner.
Boro looked down and out by this stage and they nearly conceded a third in the dying minutes when Colin Richmond fired wide with the goal in his sight.
Leatherhead’s slender survival hopes remain in tact, while the visitors’ live messaging service summed up Boro’s lacklustre performance in three unforgiving words…’Totally clueless, relegation’.
Leatherhead: Ramos, Andrew, Gross, Coyle, Dean, Thompson (Holness 66), Francis, Simmons, Ottaway, Hutchings (Richmond 82), Manners (Terry 72).
Unused subs: R Hill and Diedhiou.