In the bar before the game a fellow Leatherhead fan reeled off a few stats. Up until this game we had only kept two clean sheets, both against the same team Merstham. Not a good indication that you will stay up if you can only prevent one other team in the league from scoring against you. Further analysis showed AFC Sudbury are the only side we are realistically likely to pip to the post for the safety spot so a win today was crucial.
Leatherhead certainly approached the game slightly differently. It appeared less show-biz, slightly more direct and purposeful. AFC Sudbury, perhaps jaded from the long mid-week journey, had little in response but of course we had our scares.
Our opening goal came from a long ball down the middle (at last!) and the pace of Nana who rounded the ‘keeper and had an open goal in front of him. All he had to do was tap it in; tap it in with his left foot and this is where the fun began. He took his time, switched it to his right, took an extra touch and then another to avoid the returning defender.
“I don’t believe it!” I heard myself say amongst the panic behind the goal. A Victor Meldrew moment born of so many frustrating moments watching Leatherhead cock it up this year. Thankfully he composed himself in time to get his goal but his left foot became something of a theme. There was a good shooting chance in the first half that was shunned and in the second half there was a mix up in the AFC Sudbury defence that saw him in front of goal with the ‘keeper and two or three defenders all stranded… all stranded just to the right of him. Rather than switching it to the left and rolling into another open net he opted to go right and then right again as he ran into more and more trouble. Let’s leave the Nana bashing there; he worked hard and got the goal but it was a surprise he didn’t hop off when substituted.
Back to the game and the second half where we lived in fear it would all go wrong again in this end to end game. We should have been comfortable but for some reason the chances were being missed. Then came our salvation.
Callum Davies swung in what looked on first inspection an innocent looking cross but he picked out the run of Kadell Daniel who volleyed superbly past their ‘keeper to make it 2-0. Of course, Leatherhead being 2-0 at any point of the game does not guarantee anything but AFC Sudbury looked suitable wounded that a fightback seemed unlikely.
On to Saturday and the visit of Tonbridge Angels…