Leatherhead collected a well-earned point in an incident-packed draw at Sittingbourne on Monday night.

Manager Bob Langford was forced into making changes from the side that had lost against Corinthian-Casuals on Saturday.

Kev Terry was missing with a back injury and Jason Henry had to withdraw to the subs bench after getting injured in the pre-match warm up.

With Chris Lewington in goal, John Cartledge returned to the centre of defence with Iain Hendry, Dev Williams and Sacha M’Baye in the back four.

Ryan Palmer moved up to midfield with Stewart Holmes, Ben Shannon and an 18 year-old Tom Horley, making his first team debut, following some assured performances in the reserves. Stephen Goddard and Tom Hutchings were paired together in attack.

Following a quiet opening the game burst into life after 12 minutes, when Sittingbourne’s Richard Brady found space in the penalty area to shoot past Lewington.

Despite the early setback the young Leatherhead side began to settle into the match and there was to be no repeat of the capitulation at Worthing last month, when the Tanners had been overwhelmed by another play-off chasing side.

Stephen Goddard was fortunate to stay on the pitch after a desperate lunge at a Sittingbourne player mid way through the first half. The referee decided the challenge warranted no more than a yellow card for the young Leatherhead forward.

Sittingbourne’s Tom Bradbrook was a constant threat to the Tanners defence throughout the match, but some poor finishing meant the home side were unable to build upon their lead.

Leatherhead equalised against the run of play after 35 minutes. Hutchings whipped in a corner to the near post to find Goddard unchallenged and he was able to head home from close range.

Play was held up for several minutes just before half time, as Sittingbourne’s Brady sustained a serious head injury after falling head-first through a wooden advertising hoarding behind the Leatherhead goal.

The Tanners came out for the second half with Henry replacing Goddard in attack. The move quickly paid off, as Leatherhead took the lead after 48 minutes.

The home side’s goalkeeper failed to hold onto a cross and the ball fell kindly for Palmer to tap in from close range, giving the experienced defender his first goal for the Tanners after 69 appearances.

The lead was short-lived though, as four minutes later the Leatherhead defence failed to clear its lines and Hicham Akhazzan was on hand to force home an equaliser.

With the game evenly matched neither aside was able to push forward for a decisive winner.

The nearest Leatherhead came to sealing a victory was when Horley fed the ball out wide to Henry and only the keeper’s outstretched legs blocked the young striker’s shot from going in.

With five minutes left on the clock Hutchings was replaced by Tom Williams, another young recruit from the Tanners reserve team making his first appearance in the senior side.

Bob Langford was visibly relieved at the final whistle and must have been pleased with the team’s overall performance against a side with play-off ambitions.

The Leatherhead players now have a few days off to recuperate before facing Croydon Athletic at home on Saturday.

Team: Lewington, D. Williams, M’Baye, Hendry, Cartledge, Holmes, Horley, Palmer, Hutchings (T. Williams), Goddard (Henry), Shannon.