The real Leatherhead ran out for this game against a Merstham side who have had an excellent first season in the Ryman League and, before this match, had real hopes of progressing into a play-off place.

The Tanners were without John Cartledge (injured) but with Iain Hendry returning at the heart of the defence to partner Sacha M’Baye. Steve Goddard returned to the right side of midfield with Tony Cuff moving to the middle. John Wilfort dropped down to the substitute’s bench.

If the Tanners were lacklustre the previous Saturday, their mood was quite different under the lights just a few days later. Within the first minute, a Tom Hutchings low cross-shot just flew wide after a break down the right flank.

On a pitch that had not fully recovered from some persistent rain, both sides took some time to find their shape but it was the home side that showed the early dominance.

Hutchings hit another shot – this time on target but straight at the goalkeeper, while Steve Goddard started on a run into the Merstham area that left three defenders floundering in his wake only to strike a powerful shot into the side netting.

It was not all one way traffic. The excellent Chris Lewington pulled off the first of a number of first class saves – this one being a point blank stop after Kwebena Agyei found himself in space inside the Tanners penalty area.

The home side gradually settled into their stride with the revised midfield taking control and moving the ball well to the two wide men, Jason Henry and Steve Goddard who were both giving their markers a really torrid time.

With the stalemate looking to continue into the half time break, a Ryan Palmer free kick was pumped forward into the visitors’ penalty area.

With Ian Chatfield, resplendent in pink kit, slow off his line, Goddard rose first for the ball to loop his header into an empty net, with the goalkeeper flapping at thin air.

It was a well deserved goal after an encouraging first half.

Merstham were never going to roll over. Mick Sullivan has built a side well able to compete at this level and they started the second half in typically positive fashion.

Within five minutes of the re-start, a snap shot from Mark Simmons forced Lewington to make another good save. The Tanners came back with Goddard, again, foraging down the right. This time, his far post cross evaded the defence for Jason Henry to sky his shot over the bar.

The visitors drew level midway through the second half. The ball was flicked on inside the Leatherhead area and, this time, Lewington could not prevent an Agyei finish from finding the back of the net.

So many times, this season Leatherhead have thrown points away through late goals but, this time, they were made of sterner stuff.

A matter of minutes after the equaliser, the ball was worked across to Jason Henry whose ball in to Tom Hutchings was dispatched emphatically by the Tanners leading scorer with a low left footed shot.

Despite another late flurry from Merstham – forcing Lewington into yet another fine save – it was the home side who finished the stronger.

Continued pressure on the visitors’ defence saw a series of corners that caused some panic but with four minutes of extra time played, it was the Tanners who came away with a well earned three points.

This was good and solid performance from a side who bounced back emphatically from a disappointing weekend on the banks of the River Thames.