Leatherhead were unlucky not to at least get a draw, but went home with nothing after a disappointing and disheartening 3-0 defeat away to Staines Town on Saturday.
Goals from Elliot Buchanan, Mo Bettamer and Max Worsfold certified the three points for the Swans and extended their unbeaten run to four games.
Leatherhead were the dominant for most of the first half and it only took three minutes for the Tanners to get their first chance of the game. McManus played a through ball down the right flank for Clohessy, he crossed a low ball into the path of Midson but he stabbed his first-time effort inches over the bar.
Ten minutes later, Midson came close again when Blackman got himself into a crossing position, found Midson who tried the spectacular, but his overhead kick curled just too early and whistled wide of the post.
Staines got their first real chance of the game in the 18th minute, but it was down to Minshull’s goal line clearance that the game remained goalless. The block was latched onto by Buchanan who aimed towards goal, but the ball flew just the wrong side of the post.
Leatherhead had a very good case for a penalty in the 25th minute when Blackman ran almost the full length of the pitch and appeared to have been brought down. Unfortunately, the referee saw no wrongdoing and waved play on.
Five minutes later, Leatherhead looked to have gone ahead, but to Staines’ relief; the ball somehow couldn’t find its way into the back of the net. Midson had an excellent effort from 25 yards out that struck the outside of the post. Leatherhead managed to work the ball back into the box ending with a drive from Clohessy, but his shot was deflected wide of the post.
Soon after, new signing Nathan Wood had a one-on-one shot saved by Driscoll as well as the rebound. The resulting corner came to nothing but when the Tanners got the ball back into the box, Tom Beere was at the end of the cross and volleyed towards goal, but again it was off target by a couple of inches.
Staines undeservedly went in front 10 minutes from half time when striker Elliot Buchanan received the ball on the edge of the penalty box with his back to goal, turned Ambroisine and fired low into the bottom corner past Oualah.
The Tanners very nearly came out with a perfect response two minutes later, but Mcmanus’ flick on from Ambroisine’s header inched over the bar.
Just under 5 minutes before half time, McManus picked up the ball on the edge of the Staines defensive penalty area, tricked himself onto his left foot into a shooting position, fired into a busy and crowded area but the side netting was the best he could do.
Leatherhead came out in the second half the stronger side and it was Blackman who came close again in the 54th minute. McManus dribbled past two defenders but was tackled by the third and managed to win a corner. The resulting corner was cleared as far as Blackman outside the penalty area who volleyed towards goal, but the keeper was equal to it.
A deep free kick for Leatherhead was headed back towards goal by Ambroisine but it was just too far for Minshull to get something on it. He did still manage to keep the ball on the pitch and tried to drill the ball back in. Despite calls for handball by the Tanners fans and a number of the players, the ball deflected back off Minshull and went out for a goal kick.
Just after the hour mark, Buchanan just managed to keep a wayward shot from going out for a goal kick, played a low pass into Mo Bettamer who calmly placed the ball into the far corner to double the Swans’ lead.
Five minutes later, Sam Beere came close to getting his first goal for the club with a curled free kick over the wall, but Driscoll managed to get across his goal line and keep hold of the shot.
In the 70th minute, there was some controversy involving Sam Blackman and Daniel Brown. Both players went in for a 50/50 challenge which was won by Sam Blackman. However, Brown followed through with his tackle and quite blatantly kicked Blackman in the face. There was an outcry from the Leatherhead bench as well as the players on the pitch, but the referee decided against brandishing his red card and waved a yellow instead. The resulting free kick was kicked long and resulted in Nathan Woods’ shot being parried away from goal.
Staines almost made it 3-0 with 15 minutes to spare, only for Minshull to deflect Buchanan’s close-range effort over the bar.
Leatherhead didn’t stop piling on the pressure until the very last whistle. Midson got on the end of a Clohessy cross, but his shot was blocked on the line. Shortly after, McManus tackled a defender to start the counter, squared the ball to Midson who helped the ball into the path of Tom Beere, but he couldn’t keep his head over the ball and fired high and wide.
Staines finished the game off in the 81st minute when Max Worsfold ran onto a defence splitting through ball, took one touch to the left and drove the ball low and hard into Oualah’s near post.
Leatherhead’s hard work throughout the game unfortunately didn’t pay off and now find themselves in 17th place on 16 points. They do however have several games in hand over most of the clubs surrounding them. The Tanners are only 6 points off a playoff place and with 34 games left to play and the FA Cup, there’s plenty of excitement for the coming season.
Leatherhead will host Isthmian South Division side, Hythe Town in the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy this Saturday at 3pm.