Disappointing defeat for Tanners
Leatherhead slipped to defeat with another disappointing performance as they went down 2-1 at Concord Rangers.
A Billy Manners goal gave Leatherhead an early lead, but they were pinned back inside their own half and were outplayed by their hosts for most of the match.
Goalkeeper Chico Ramos made several heroic saves for Leatherhead, but he could only delay the inevitable, as Concord scored twice late in the match to seal the points.
Tanners held the lead for almost an hour and must have thought that Lady Luck was on their side.
Concord had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half and then missed a penalty after the break, before two well-executed strikes gave the Essex club the win they deserved, after dominating play from start to finish.
Concord looked solid in the opening exchanges before Leatherhead scored with their first meaningful break in the Concord half after 10 minutes.
Tommy Hutchings broke clear of his marker on the half way line, playing the ball through to Manners on the edge of the Concord box.
Manners saw the keeper off his line and threaded a wide-angled shot beyond the reach of two recovering defenders to give the visitors a surprise lead.
Manners was injured in scoring and bravely continued until limping off after 26 minutes to be replaced by Kev Terry.
Concord had the ball in the Leatherhead net 10 minutes later, but Kurt Robinson’s close range effort was ruled out for offside.
The hosts dominated the closing stages of the opening half. Tanners had Ramos to thank for keeping their one goal advantage in tact going into the break, as James Elmes was denied on three occasions by the Leatherhead keeper.
Ramos made a spectacular save in first half stoppage time, diving to his right to tip a thunderbolt from Elmes onto the bar, for what would be a strong shout for the keeper’s best save of the season.
Concord continued to dominate play in the second half. Ramos made another fine save from a corner, as Steve King headed the ball towards the far corner, only for the Leatherhead keeper to claw it away to safety.
Tanners were unable get the ball out of their own half for long periods, with the defence and midfield sending long, aimless balls down the middle and generally failing to make full use of the width of the pitch.
Concord pressed forward and were awarded a penalty after 58 minutes, with Leatherhead skipper Simmons shoving Tony Stokes in the back. Stokes took the penalty, but slammed the ball hard against the bar, as the Leatherhead players breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Tanners’ one good break in the second half came to a halt after Terry broke clear down the middle, only to be bundled off the ball by Ryan Tafazolli, who was booked for his cynical challenge.
Concord made a key substitution after 68 minutes, bringing on striker Sherwin Stanley in place of Lee White. Stanley scored with his first touch, as Leatherhead failed to clear a ball from their area and the substitute smashed a shot past Ramos from 12 yards out.
With the Leatherhead defence visibly tiring, Concord then missed two good chances to take the lead. Stokes sent a free header wide from a corner then struck a shot wide the post.
Concord’s inevitable second goal came after 82 minutes. Stanley played a clever one-two with fellow striker Mitch Hahn, before delivering a cross deep into the penalty area for Stokes to fire home from six yards.
Leatherhead: Ramos, Andrew, Gross, Coyle, Dean, Thompson (Maan 73), Francis, Simmons, Ottaway, Hutchings, Manners (Terry 26).
Unused subs: Richmond, R Hill and Brunt.
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