Cobham 1 Leatherhead 2

At the end, it was an injury time Marc Elston goal that separated these two teams with the junior of the sides left feeling robbed.

The Tanners were able to field a full strength side with Billy Marshall and John Wilfort dropping to the bench to accommodate Tom Hutchings and Jean- Serge Musungu.

After a lively first 10 minutes where the hosts pressed forward into the Leatherhead half, the Ryman League side gradually started to settle and exert the kind of pressure they would expect against a more junior side.

Within the first 10 minutes, the strike partnership of Kev Terry and Tom Hutchings both had good chances but Terry’s shot was comfortably collected by Peter Ruggles in the Cobham goal and Hutchings blazed over after a clever interchange of passes.

The stalemate was not to last. Ten minutes into the game, a swerving Hutchings shot was eventually deflected for a corner.

The short corner found Hutchings again who chipped a cross to the far post.

Ryan Palmer headed it back across goal and skipper, John Cartledge headed home with a powerful header that Ruggles could not keep out despite a valiant effort.

The balance of the side was lost to a certain degree, when Cartledge left the field with aslight groin strain – a precautionary move with a heavy league programme underway.

Matt Jones was drafted into the midfield with Ryan Palmer switching to the middle of the defence; Stewart Holmes dropped into the right side of defence.

For the remainder of the half, Leatherhead did enough to suggest that a healthy margin would be achieved.

In reality, the final ball always seemed to be lacking and the tenacious closing down that an impressive young Cobham side employed meant that the best the Mole Valley side could muster was that single goal.

The second half was a very different affair. With the game by no means out of their grasp.

Cobham took the game to the Tanners and put a by now distinctly off colour Leatherhead under a great deal of pressure.

The equaliser came with just over 30 minutes left. A defensive Tanners header only made the edge of the area and Alex Phillips was on hand to drive a low shot beyond Chris Lewington’s grasp.

It was no more than the men in red and black deserved.

If there had been any justice, Cobham should have taken the game to extra-time as they continually troubled their visitors.

Leatherhead, for all their obvious ability, were having a bad day at the office with their forwards becoming rapidly frustrated and running into blind alleys.

The game was well into injury-time when substitute, Marc Elston sealed an away tie with Woking in the new year.

A throw from the right fell to an advancing Will Jenkins, who forced the ball wide to Tony Cuff.

The midfielder broke down the right, rounded the defender to get to the dead ball line and crossed low for the diminutive Elston to convert from within the six yard box.

Overall, Leatherhead can feel fortunate that they did not slip on the Cobham banana skin while Cobham will feel that the form that belied their lowly and more junior league status was not rewarded by at least forcing the tie into extra time.

Tanners: Lewington, Palmer, Jenkins, Cartledge (Jones), Shannon, Holmes, Cuff, Musungu, Hutchings, Terry (Elston), Henry.