The watch word behind the goal was “under-play” on Saturday. Leatherhead under-played their way to victory by seemingly just doing enough frustrate the hosts.
The first chance of the game fell to Rook. It looked like it wasn’t going to be his day at all when he was pulled up for the patented “Rook-grapple” deep in midfield. Then a tempting cross was sent to the far post for Rook to head but he decided it was perhaps too high and ducked under it completely. The defender, understandably, was not prepared for this and it bounced off of his shin straight back to Rook who was now faced only with a stranded ‘keeper. Rook’s approach to the shot was as deliberate as a golfer approaching a tee shot off the 18th at the US Open. Ensuring his body was correctly positioned and attempted the odd practice swing. With the space now closed down he turned passed out of the box as if he was a cultured defender playing it out from the back to send the right back on his way down the wing.
Rook made amends shortly after. Hughes-Mason broke free down our right and slide a ball just beyond the keeper straight to Rook just a yard out in the middle of an open goal. He doesn’t miss those chances and so we were 1-0 up.
Second half and the game picked up. Our hosts probably had the better of it but Leatherhead were just too organised at the back and there was always someone to make the last telling tackle.
Our second goal came from a breakaway after we had soaked up a spell of Tonbridge possession. Hugh-Mason took charge of the ball down our right, who played in Nwokeji down the middle who in turn fed Vas the perfect ball on the left. Vas, now through on goal, was presented with a chance he thrives on and the second goal flew in off the far post.
More Tonbridge pressure resumed until a less dramatic breakaway move saw Vas in a similar position albeit with more defenders around him. His powerful shot was parried into the path of Nwokeji who finished to make it 3-0 and signal much of the 396 who attended to start leaving.
As the final whistle blew the hopeful message of “The Only Way Is Up” from Yazz played to the local support who chose to see out the last 10 minutes. Leatherhead would no doubt quietly admit to not being quite so ambitious. Sticking at 14th will do us fine….