Mohamed Eisa’s coolly executed 74th minute goal proved decisive, as Leatherhead edged a scrappy encounter 1-0 against Sittingbourne on Saturday.
Substitute Eisa produced a gem of a goal to liven up an untidy match played on a bumpy sloping pitch at Woodstock Park.
Following a tentative opening period, Theo Fairweather-Johnson produced the first chance of the match after 23 minutes with the Leatherhead forward’s long-range effort going just wide of the post.
Kev Terry had Tanners’ first shot on target seven minutes later, as he latched onto a cross from Ryan Mahal.
But Terry’s effort lacked power and Sittingbourne keeper Adam Molloy saved with ease.
While Leatherhead created most of what few chances there were, the hosts almost snatched the lead against the run of play after 66 minutes.
A cross came into Leatherhead’s penalty area from the right and goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim did well to tip a Sittingbourne header over the bar for a corner.
The flagging match burst into life following Eisa’s introduction as a substitute on 71 minutes, with the young Tanners striker having sufficient confidence to run at the Brickies’ defence with the ball at his feet.
Within three minutes of replacing Fairweather-Johnson, Eisa created and scored what proved to be Leatherhad’s winner.
Eisa won possession 40 yards from goal and took the ball around one defender before stroking a firm shot past Molloy from the edge of the box.
Sittingbourne pressed forward in search of a late equaliser, but Tanners held out comfortably over the remaining minutes for a valuable three points.
Leatherhead: Deren Ibrahim, Ryan Mahal (Ryan Cooper 59), Dan Johnson, Matt Smart, Jamie Coyle, Jerry Nnamani, Paul Semakula, Darren Smith, Theo Fairweather-Johnson (Mohamed Eisa 71), Ian Draycott, Kevin Terry.
Unused subs: Tom Parkinson, Jordan Gough. Mark Worsfold