Disappointment at Fetcham Grove after Tanners fail to negotiate Three Bridges
Goal: Tommy Hutchings is mobbed by his Tanners team-mates after equalising against Three Bridges SP73093
Leatherhead remain third place in Ryman League Division One South after a disappointing 1-1 draw against bottom side Three Bridges.
Last season’s Sussex County League champions were no pushovers for the promotion-chasing Tanners, and Three Bridges battled for every ball and finished the match strongly.
Only some good Leatherhead defending and poor finishing denied the visitors three points in an entertaining end-to-end finale.
Leatherhead missed the aerial power of striker Tom Bradbrook, who had to sit out the match after injuring an ankle last week against Maidstone United.
Kev Terry partnered Tom Hutchings up front, while Sam Blackman came into the side in an attacking midfield role.
Tanners missed out on an opportunity to take an early lead after just three minutes.
Liam Wright skipped past his marker down the left and drilled in a cross for Mark Simmons, but the Leatherhead skipper’s close range effort was turned behind for a corner.
The visitors took a surprise lead against the run of play after 17 minutes - a corner was played in from the right and Abu Touray squeezed the ball home through a crowded penalty area.
Tanners struck back five minutes later with a superb solo effort from Hutchings - see pictures.
Leatherhead’s quick-paced front man latched onto a ball outside the area and dribbled past Three Bridges goalkeeper Jess Grimstone before planting a firm wide-angled shot into the back of the net.
Tommy Hutching finds the net for the Tanners, but it would be the only goal of the day for the team in green SP73093
Leatherhead had fallen behind in December’s corresponding fixture at Three Bridges before scoring three unanswered goals.
But there was no repeat of that one-sided second half performance on Saturday, although there were plenty of opportunities for a breakthrough.
After 52 minutes a Neil Jenkins corner was only half cleared by the Three Bridge defence and Jenkins latched onto the ball to force a very good save from Grimstone.
Chris Boulter went close two minutes later, heading over another Jenkins corner.
As Tanners pressed forward, Marcus Elliott escaped on a break after 59 minutes with a one on one chance against Andy Young.
The Three Bridges striker should have tested the Leatherhead keeper, but instead skewed his shot wide from 12 yards.
Three Bridges defended in numbers and were prepared to concede any number of corners to keep out Leatherhead.
Jerry Nnamani went up for another Jenkins corner after 72 minutes, but the central defender’s well-directed header was cleared off the line.
Yet another Jenkins corner was headed inches wide by Ryan Flack after 79 minutes.
Having withstood so many attacks, Three Bridges decided to press forward in search of a winner and Joel O’Hara missed three good chances for the visitors in as many minutes.
First the midfielder headed a cross straight at Young, and in their next attack O’Hara was blocked by a well-timed tackle from Jamie Coyle.
From the ensuing corner, O’Hara skipped past his marker before heading over from six yards.
At the final whistle, Three Bridges celebrated as though they had won the match but Leatherhead will want to put this unsatisfactory performance behind them as they prepare for two matches in the coming week against Folkestone Invicta.