After a lengthy lay-off due to the extreme weather conditions, this was never going to be an easy return to action for Bob Langford and his team.

Kingstonian currently sit at the top of the Ryman League Division 1 South and, although their form has wobbled of late, they still proved to be a handful for the Mole Valley side.

Without Iain Hendry who is still short of match practice following a serious foot injury. The newly formed pairing of John Cartledge and Andy Wareing continued at the heart of the defence with Tommy Moorhouse facing one of his old clubs in midfield. Steve Goddard, a recent capture from Metropolitan Police started up front.

Neither side settled well on a pitch that had started to cut up badly from the first whistle. In the opening exchanges, it was the Tanners who had the better opportunities with Stewart Holmes having his shot blocked and Steve Goddard shooting tamely to Luke Garrard after being given space by a fine Tommy Moorhouse ball. After 18 minutes, Holmes fed Tom Hutchings - playing deeper this time – who unleashed a fierce shot that Garrard did well to parry. It was not nearly all Leatherhead. When Liam Collins crossed from the left, Chris Lewington – who otherwise had an inspired game – was left in two minds and Bobby Traynor could have done better than to screw his effort wide.

It was end to end stuff without being a classic contest – and full of incident. In a spell of some five minutes, Carl Wilson-Dennis was booked for diving after having protested about every challenge he was involved in, Kev Terry failed to convert after Goddard had fed him with a good low cross to the far post and Tommy Morhouse collected the first yellow card of his current spell at the Tanners with an innocuous tackle on another ex-Tanner, Jamie Beer (who was later to be booked himself for a studs up lunge on Ben Shannon).

There was very little to choose between the sides at the half time interval but that was soon to change early in the second period of the game.

The half was barely 2 minutes old when a cross in from Ks’ Tommy Williams was not cleared by the defence and, despite a good block by Chris Lewington, Jason Henry was unfortunate enough to put through his own net under pressure from 2 Kingstonian forwards. Four minutes later, the visitors extended their lead when Simon Huckle was left in acres of space at the near post to head the second and decisive goal.

Leatherhead were by no means out of the contest. Within a matter of minutes, defender, John Cartledge won the ball and fed Goddard who turned well only to see his effort blocked. Even better was the chance that fell to Kev Terry moments later. A superb through ball from Tom Hutchings saw him with the keeper to beat. His shot found only the side netting and the Tanners best chance of the game went begging.

With the pitch cutting up and taking its toll on both sides legs, Terry made way for Tony Cuff and an injured Cartledge for Jean-Serge Musungu.

With Kingstonian pressing forward, Leatherhead began to see what a good signing Chris Lewington is in goal. On two occasions he pulled off double saves to deny the Ks attackers and was assured throughout the game. His parry from another ex-Tanner, Julian Thompson was out of the top drawer and certainly kept the home side competing to the last.

Despite continually pressing a Kingstonian side that were not as dominant as their league position indicates, the Tanner started the New Year with another home defeat. With tricky away fixtures at metropolitan Police and Sittingbourne to come over the next 10 days, the scramble for points will be crucial by the time they host Whitstable Town on the 31st January at the Grove. By that time, Bob Langford will hope that his new signings will have settled in and the quality that this squad undoubtedly has translates itself into points.

Team Lewington, Palmer, Shannon, Cartledge, (Musungu), Wareing, Holmes, Henry, Moorhouse, Goddard, Terry (Cuff), Hutchings