In the first half of the two-handed Easter programme, the Tanners earned three well deserved points over their ex-assistant manager, Stuart Massey.

With a number of ex-Leatherhead players in the side and both teams wanting the points to steer well clear of any potential danger, this was a crucial match for both clubs.

With Jason Henry and Sacha M’Baye missing, starts were provided for recent signing Jason Turley and also Ben Shannon. Steve Goddard and reserve team centre back Michael Corbett (stepping up from the reserves) joining Dave Hyatt, John Wilfort and Matt Jones on the bench.

In fact, Whyteleafe did not prove the stiff, physical opponents that the Tanners have faced over recent seasons. Although their defence mad the strike partnership of Tom Hutchings and Kev Terry work for every ball, their attack hardly troubled Chris Lewington in the visiting goal with Andy Martin proving as ineffective as he did in his time at Fetcham Grove.

Leatherhead showed their intentions from the start. Within the first 2 minutes leatherhead forced a corner to the left but the rehearsed short kick did not go to plan and the defence scrambled the ball away.

The opening goal was not too long in coming a long ball from Tony Cuff looked to have been over hit and on its way for a goal kick. With his usual tenacious turn of speed, Tom Hutchings prevented the dead ball kick and lofted a superb cross to the far post where the late arriving Jason Turley rose to head an excellent first goal for the club.

The Tanners shaded the rest of the half playing some decent passing football and stretching a competent ‘Leafe defence. When the home side were able to get forward their forwards were no match for a superb Iain Hendry partnered this week by Ryan Palmer. Hendry was rightly “Man of the Match” although Turley, playing his best game for the club and the ever consistent Stewart Holmes ran him very close.

The remainder of the half was scoreless but we saw some of the old Whyteleafe as the half way loomed with some strong challenges that did not seem to trouble the Tanners players unduly.

With leatherhead in the ascendance, there should have been a second goal after 15 minutes of the re-start. The impressive Turley finished a superb move that started with some tenacious tackling from Holmes in the midfield and continued with an inch perfect through ball into the area. Turley rounded the giant Rob O’Hara only to be hauled down with the goal open. This produced an inevitable red card and a Tanners penalty. Usually these spot kicks are meat and drink to Hutchings but on this occasion his shot lacked confidence and force and was parried for a corner by substitute goal-keeper Adam Broomhead – who had started the game at Centre-back for the ‘Leafe.

Bob Langford brought on Steve Goddard to add fresh legs to the attack and rested Tom Horley who had played well through the game. And, with 73 minutes gone, the inevitable happened. Turley, again, was involved when he threaded a through ball to Hutchings who made ground and slipped the ball into the path of Kev Terry. Terry took one touch and blasted home a fierce shot that the regular goal-keeper would not have stopped, let alone his substitute.

With the game sewn up, there could have been a third. Terry broke down the right and crossed for a Whyteleafe defender to crash the ball into his own net. Despite the celebrations, the 2 goal margin held when the linesman adjudged that a Tanners forward was in an offside position and “active”. It is this type of interpretation that confuses the fans but at the end of the day it did not matter.

With a tough home match against Dulwich Hamlet on Easter Monday, the Tanners will have, at least come out even over the weekend. This was a competent and competitive performance that went some way to showing that the Tanners could achieve more. They will have found Hamlet a tougher challenge on the Monday.

Team: Lewington, Williams, Turley, Palmer, Hendry, Holmes, Cuff (Wilfort), Horley (Goddard), Hutchings, Terry, Shannon.