Hutchings at the double as Leatherhead seal fifth consecutive League win on the road
Leatherhead moved up to third in the Ryman League Division One South table after a comfortable 3-1 win at Worthing on Saturday.
Two goals from Tommy Hutchings, one a penalty, and a strike from Tom Bradbrook were enough to beat the hosts in a workmanlike encounter, to extend the League’s best away form to five consecutive wins.
Tanners boss Richard Brady brought in new signing Liam Wright to an otherwise unchanged starting line up, and the win marked the ninth out of 12 on the road.
Worthing went into the game with eight home defeats from 11 League matches and aside from a superb strike from Chris O’Flaherty, the Rebels were powerless to stop a Leatherhead win.
The visitors had the best of the opening exchanges. Early on, Hutchings broke clear but the Leatherhead forward opted to shoot from distance and Bradbrook’s hurried follow up went over the bar.
The Rebels pushed men forward, producing a good save from Louis Wells, but found themselves exposed in their own half as Leatherhead midfielder Matt Smart won possession from the corner and launched a long ball forward.
Tanners’ captain Mark Simmons took the ball to the edge of the area before squaring to an unmarked Bradbrook, who took one touch before placing it firmly into an empty net.
After more good saves from Wells, the visitors doubled their lead with a penalty awarded after 41 minutes, smashed home by Hutchings.
The ball had been played high into the Worthing area and as defender Steve Metcalf went to clear it, he clashed heads with Simmons.
The referee pointed to the spot before immediately ushering both clubs’ physios onto the pitch to attend to the injured players, who both continued the match after treatment.
Tanners looked to be heading to the interval with a two goal cushion, but O’Flaherty had other ideas. Seeing Wells off his line, the Worthing midfielder hit a rocket of a shot past the Leatherhead keeper for a spectacular goal.
Tanners came out for the second half in determined mood and restored their two goal advantage after 50 minutes. When Worthing failed to clear an attack, an unchallenged Hutchings drilled the ball home from the edge of the box.
Worthing were rarely able to threaten Tanners’ well-marshalled defence in the latter stages. Leatherhead were content to keep hold of possession and moved the ball around with authority to see out the win.
Tanners go into Tuesday’s match against Sittingbourne with only Dulwich Hamlet and Maidstone United above them in the table, as the race warms up for the League title and automatic promotion.