Tanners blunt Hornets sting thanks to super-sub Fairweather-Johnson
4:15pm Thursday 27th February 2014 in Sport
Two second-half strikes from Theo Fairweather-Johnson secured three points for Leatherhead against a well-organised Horsham side at Fetcham Grove on Wednesday night.
The 2-1 win keeps Tanners second in Ryman Division One South, but they are now five points ahead of third placed Guernsey, and only one adrift of leaders Peacehaven & Telscombe, although they have played a game more.
Horsham stunned Tanners with an attacking first half display and a fine opening goal from Jamie Cade, before Fairweather-Johnson struck two goals in quick succession to extend Leatherhead’s winning run to seven matches.
Tanners boss Richard Brady had to make a late change to his starting line-up with Frank Griffin replacing Ryan Mahal at full back just before kick-off.
Leatherhead produced a disjointed first half performance with too many loose passes going astray, while the Hornets attacked with purpose and conviction going forward.
Horsham took the lead after 18 minutes when a probing cross came in from the right and Cade brushed aside his marker to fire past Leatherhead keeper Deren Ibrahim from the edge of the box.
Ryan Marriott wasted a chance to double the Hornets’ lead on the half hour mark, blasting high and wide with only the keeper to beat.
Brady sent his team back out onto the pitch a full five minutes before the start of the second half in an effort to regroup his players.
He also made two half-time substitutions, with Dan Johnson replacing Griffin at left back and Fairweather-Johnson coming on for Tom Parkinson on the right.
Within minutes of the restart Tom Bradrook made way for Matt Smart, with Fairweather-Johnson, formerly of Welling United and Thamesmead Town, moving forward to partner Ian Draycott in attack.
Fairweather-Johnson’s fresh pace paid immediate dividends for Leatherhead, as the former Thamesmead Town striker struck twice in the space of five minutes to turn the game around for the hosts.
The equaliser came after 63 minutes, with Fairweather-Johnson playing an intelligent one-two with the quick-paced Kev Terry on his left, before firing home from the edge of the box.
Fairweather-Johnson’s second goal came from an almost identical position, as the tiring Horsham defence failed to close down the Leatherhead super sub.
This time Fairweather-Johnson collected the ball from his right before shooting past goalkeeper Kieron Thorp from 18 yards.
The Hornets nearly snatched a dramatic late equaliser after a fierce low drive was whipped in from the right.
Ibrahim completely misjudged the flight of the ball, leaving Jerry Nnamani to make an acrobatic goal-line clearance to head behind for a corner.
Leatherhead make the long awaited journey to third-placed Guernsey at the weekend for a Saturday lunch-time kick-off, before returning to Fetcham Grove next Wednesday to host play-off chasers Ramsgate.
Leatherhead: Deren Ibrahim, Frank Griffin (Dan Johnson 46), Ryan Cooper, Tom Parkinson (Theo Fairweather-Johnson 46), Jamie Coyle, Jerry Nnamani, Paul Semakula, Darren Smith, Tom Bradbrook (Matt Smart 52), Ian Draycott, Kevin Terry.
Unused sub: Connor Heffernan.