Tanners cross Three Bridges thanks to a second half reshuffle
Leatherhead returned to winning ways in Ryman Division One South after a 2-1 win over Three Bridges on Saturday.
Goals from Theo Fairweather-Johnson and Tom Bradbrook, his 28th of the season, keep the Tanners second in the table, seven points behind leaders Peacehaven & Telscombe, and 11 points inside the play-off places.
Leatherhead fell behind during an untidy opening 45 minutes before hitting back with two goals midway through the second half.
Goalkeeper Tom Wellham made his third appearance for Tanners in place of an unavailable Deren Ibrahim.
Leatherhead began brightly, with Mohamed Eisa testing Bridges keeper Martin Grant with a fierce drive in the second minute.
But the next 20 minutes dragged by with neither side able to keep possession for long or create any meaningful changes in front of goal.
Relegation-threatened Bridges took a surprise lead after 28 minutes, capitalising on a mistake in Leatherhead’s defence.
Centre back Jerry Nnamani hit an under-strength back-pass to Wellham, and Bridges striker Tony Garrod latched onto the ball, skilfully rounding the keeper before firing home from a tight angle.
Wellham had little else to do for remainder of the match.
But the Leatherhead keeper required treatment from the physio five minutes before the interval, landing heavily after a mid-air collision with Bridges forward Tim Rivers.
Tanners boss Richard Brady made three changes to his side at the beginning of the second half in an attempt to add a new dimension to Leatherhead’s attack.
Tom Parkinson made way for Matt Smart ahead of the restart before Eisa and Paul Semakula were replaced on 52 minutes by Kevin Terry and Fairweather-Johnson.
Tanners showed better co-ordination going forward as the half progressed and snatched a well deserved equaliser from a set piece after 70 minutes.
Smart launched a probing free kick into the Bridges area and Fairweather-Johnson out-jumped his marker to head home from 12 yards.
Leatherhead continued to press forward and grabbed the lead four minutes later.
A long clearance from Wellham was flicked on by Fairweather-Johnson into the path of Bradbrook, who smashed the ball home from the edge of the area.
Bradbrook missed out on a chance to add a third goal for Tanners after 82 minutes, firing wide with only the keeper to beat.
But with front-runners Peacehaven & Telscombe and Guernsey both losing, the extra three points on the board were all that mattered for Tanners as they go into the final six weeks of the season.
Leatherhead: Tom Wellham, Ryan Mahal, Dan Johnson, Tom Parkinson (Matt Smart 45), Jamie Coyle, Jerry Nnamani, Paul Semakula (Theo Fairweather-Johnson 52), Darren Smith, Tom Bradbrook, Ian Draycott, Mohamed Eisa (Kevin Terry 52).
Unused subs: Ryan Cooper, Connor Heffernan.
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