Tanners climb out of relegation places
It was just like old times at Fetcham Grove on Saturday, with Tommy Hutchings and Greg Andrews getting their names on the score sheet as the Tanners comfortably dispatched Aveley with a 2-0 win.
Leatherhead’s victory, coupled with Harrow Borough’s defeat against Canvey Island, saw the Tanners move out of the bottom four for the first time since August.
Richard Brady was able to name an unchanged line up from the side that beat Cray Wanderers so convincingly last Sunday.
But there was no repeat of that confident performance in the opening half hour, as Leatherhead stumbled time and again to contain the attacking threats from relegation-certainties Aveley.
An uncharacteristic slip from Dan Dean allowed Abs Thompson through on the corner of the Leatherhead penalty area after 24 minutes.
Thompson squared the ball to Billy Holland, who cracked a shot straight at Chico Ramos from twelve yards. Ramos spread himself well and took the sting out of the shot before gathering the ball.
There was further danger for Leatherhead five minutes later as Aveley’s Paul Burnett was not closed down before shooting from the edge of the box, with Ramos having to make another good save to turn the ball away for a corner.
Greg Andrews has so often been an impact player for the Tanners and once again he made the telling pass for Leatherhead’s opening goal after 32 minutes.
Andrews won possession just inside the visitors’ half and picked out Hutchings running towards the Aveley area. Hutchings skilfully controlled Andrews’ delivery with one touch before volleying the ball over goalkeeper Lemar Johnson and into the roof of the net with a superb finish.
Johnson was fortunate to stay on the pitch a few minutes later after rushing out of his area and colliding with Harry Ottaway. The referee decided that Leatherhead had not been denied a goal scoring opportunity and only cautioned the Aveley keeper.
Leatherhead missed out on a good chance for a second goal, as Andrews and Hutchings broke clear in the Aveley half before Andrews fired wide.
But that miss was quickly put to one side as Tanners doubled their lead on the stroke of half time. This time Hutchings took the ball past the last Aveley defender before unselfishly playing it back to Andrews for a simple tap in.
The visitors never really threatened in the second half, as Leatherhead set about building on their lead.
Harry Ottaway and Vernon Francis both missed good chances late in the game, but the Tanners defence ensured Chico Ramos has little to do in the latter stages as Leatherhead ran out comfortable winners.
Leatherhead: Ramos, Coyle, Gross, Dean, Nnamani, Simmons, Thompson (Manners 79), Holness, Ottaway, Hutchings (Terry 75), Andrews (Francis 71).
Unused subs: R Hill and Richmond.