Leatherhead 3 Leiston 2 Collin strikes see Tanners home
Leatherhead held out for three points following a stunning first half display against Leiston
Two goals from Frannie Collin and another from Kiernan Hughes-Mason gave Tanners a three-goal lead at half time.
Leiston pulled a goal back after 61 minutes, but Tom Bullard’s late header couldn’t prevent a seventh win in eight matches for Leatherhead’s new management team of Mike Sandmann and Steve Watt.
The visitors arrived at Fetcham Grove without their injured first-choice keeper Ashlee Jones in the starting line-up. And following Chris Kinnear Jnr’s return to Dover Athletic earlier in the week Phil Walsh started up front for Leatherhead.
Leiston almost took the lead straight from the kick-off. With less than twenty seconds played, striker Jake Taylor met a cross from the left, blasting high over from close range.
Tanners pressed forward and went ahead after six minutes. Alex Brown, signed this week on a deal which keeps him at Fetcham Grove to the end of next season, ran unchallenged from the half-way line before picking out Collin with a short pass. Collin saw Leiston’s inexperienced keeper Alex Rossis off his line and drilled the ball firmly into the corner of the net.
Tanners doubled their advantage on 31 minutes. Two Leiston defenders hesitated in clearing the ball, allowing Collin to muscle in and win possession. A quick lay-off to Hughes-Mason caught the visitors cold, with the Leatherhead striker firing into the top right-hand corner.
Leiston missed a chance to pull a goal back two minutes later. Taylor picked out Gareth Heath in Leatherhead’s penalty area, but the midfielder’s curling shot squirmed wide of the post.
Tanners added a third goal on 35 minutes. Leiston failed to clear a long ball and it dropped stone dead for Collin to drive home from the edge of the area.
Leiston were much better organised in the second half.
Leatherhead keeper Louis Wells made a fine block to deny Christy Finch on the hour mark. But Tanners failed to clear the visitors’ subsequent corner and Kelsey Trotter drove the ball across the line, despite Adam Green’s attempted clearance. The referee glanced across to his assistant and the goal stood.
Brown had the ball in Leiston’s net on 79 minutes, only for it to be ruled out for offside.
Wells made another save to deny Leiston sub Billy Clark on 85 minutes.
But the visited picked up a belated second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time. A corner from the right picked out Bullard at the far post who headed home from a tight angle.
There was barely time for the referee to re-start the match before he blew for full time.
The win takes Leatherhead up one place to twelfth in the table.
Leatherhead: Louis Wells, Adam Cash, Adam Green, Paul Semakula, Steve Watt, Jerry Nnamani, Ryan Mahal (Stephen Okoh 71), Alex Brown, Phil Walsh (Kiye Martin 84), Frannie Collin, Kiernan Hughes-Mason (Evander Lopes 90)
Unused subs: Gavin Long and Calum Davies
Leiston: Alex Rossis, Blake Saker, Seb Dunbar, Kelsey Trotter, Joe Jefford, Tom Bullard, Danny Cunningham (Billy Clark 76), Gareth Heath, Jake Taylor, Christy Finch, Tom Winter (Joe Francis 68)
Unused subs: Patrick Brothers and Leon Ottley-Gooch