Eastbourne Town 2 Leatherhead 4

The one good thing about this recent run of bad weather is that it seems to have given this Tanners team a new lease of life.

Faced with a tricky away tie against the Saffrons, who came into the match off the back of a four-game winning streak, Bob Langford was able to field a strong side missing only the suspended Tom Hutchings, the injured, Iain Hendry and unavailable Ryan Gray.

New signings John Wilfort started his second debut for the club (following the abandoned Croydon Athletic game), as did Kev Terry and returnee to the club, left-sided defender, Ben Shannon.

A late Thursday signing, Jean Serge Msungu (from Kingstonian), joined the bench.

Right from the start, Leatherhead took the game to the East Sussex side.

For the first 30 minutes, Eastbourne rarely made it into the Leatherhead half of the field and, when they did, the central defensive partnership of Will Jenkins and man of the match, John Cartledge dominated the play.

Terry (a past Leatherhead youth player) showed some sweet touches and his pace, matched by the constant wide running of Jason Henry had the home defence constantly on the back foot.

There was a chance for the Tanners to take an early lead when a well worked short corner saw the impressive Tony Cuff blast over from inside the box.

The first three goals came in a flurry that lasted just six minutes.

The first saw one of a number of excellent crosses from Cuff – expertly fed by the impressive John Wilfort – glanced home from just inside the near post by Terry.

It was not to be all plain sailing. A defensive mix-up saw Shannon woefully mishead the ball, leaving Liam Baitup to stab the ball home.

It was unfortunate for Shannon, who had made an otherwise impressive start in his second start at the club, but there was an ominous gap in the centre of the defence that left him rather exposed.

If the travelling Tanners fans were starting to get twitchy, they needn’t have worried.

A truly superb move with Cuff operating down the right to great effect finished with his hard low cross cleverly left by Billy Marshall for Henry to slot home from close in.

Henry thoroughly deserved that score having spent the whole of the game tormenting the home defence on the ground and winning an unreasonable amount of ball in the air.

Despite being camped in the Saffron’s half for most of the half, the defence and in particular Chris Lewington in the Leatherhead goal had to stay sharp and, when an Eastbourne corner was only partially cleared, it was Lewington’s acrobatic tip over that kept the Tanners with their noses in front.

The game was effectively over when with 10 minutes to go before half time, right sided defender, Ryan Palmer flung in a deep far post cross.

For a moment it seemed too long but a flying Cuff header buried the ball into the home net off the underside of the cross bar – Cuff thoroughly deserved the strike as a reward for an excellent first half performance.

Last week, the Saffrons came back with a late rally to hold Met Police and, as the second half got under way, they began to take the game to the Tanners – one scuffed shot was all they could muster and, to counter that, a Will Jenkins header was disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper.

Cuff had been ill at half-time and midway through the second half, he gave way to the debutant Msungu.

The home side used all three of their substitutes and had their centre back Danny Williams sent off for two bookable offences.

Mark Elston came on for Billy Marshall and used his pace to great effect but the final word went to the impressive Terry.

Having outjumped Eastbourne’s Luke Denton, the youngster used his pace to leave the defender floundering and shot home past a stranded Russell Tanner.

This was an impressive display off the sort of flowing football that Tanners fans love to see and not even a 90th minute far-post header from Peter Cooper to give the score some respectability could diminish the elation of the team – and fans for a very well-deserved three points.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer but the Mole Valley side could bask in some initial sunshine all of the way back to Surrey.

Tanners: Lewington, Palmer, Cartledge, Jenkins, Shannon, Holmes, Wilfort, Cuff (Msungu), Marshall (Elston), Terry (Williams), Henry