Leatherhead suffered their worst defeat of the season to date, as Bury Town scored five goals without replay at Fetcham Grove to win 5-0.
It was a bizarre score line as the two sides had been evenly matched in the opening 30 minutes, with Leatherhead playing attractive, flowing football. All that was to change, however, as the visitors took a two goal lead at the end of the first half.
Richard Brady introduced two more new players into the Leatherhead starting line up and both looked useful additions.
Nineteen-year-old midfielder Thomas Brunt arrived on a month’s loan from Gillingham, having held a professional contract with the League Two club, while 22 year old midfielder Ryan Dolby joined from Blue Square South front runners Welling United.
Bury had an early chance after 10 minutes, with Russell Short chipping over the bar. Leatherhead responded positively, as Dolby fired into the side netting from a wide angle.
Tanners’ best chance in the opening half came after 28 minutes, when Tom Hutchings broke clear down the left and drilled a probing ball through the heart of Bury’s defence, but he found no one in a green shirt to turn it home.
Bury’s John Sands opened up the Tanners defence after 36 minutes to force a diving save from Leatherhead goalkeeper Chico Ramos, who turned the ball away for a corner.
A Sam Reed header almost caught out Ramos two minutes later, but the keeper made another smart save to stop the ball from going over his head.
Bury were now starting to look threatening and they duly took the lead after 41 minutes. A shot from Lee Reed was well blocked by Ramos, but Sands latched onto the rebound to send the ball home.
Worse was to follow for the home side two minutes later. Tanners shipped a second goal, as Lee Smith effortlessly rounded his marker to slip the ball past Ramos.
Bury were then awarded a penalty in the opening minute of the second half. Tanners were caught out going forward and defender Adam Gross chased back into his own penalty area before colliding with Sands, who fell dramatically to the ground.
The same player got up to take the spot kick, but sent the ball crashing over the roof of the Bernard Edwards stand behind the goal.
If Leatherhead thought that they had received a just let-off, they were punished for their complacency five minutes later, as they conceded an untidy third goal.
A cross was floated into the home side’s penalty area and Bury centre half Sam Nunn rose up to nod it gently towards the far post. Ramos completely misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing it to float past him and into the corner of the net off the post.
Bury thought they had another perfectly good goal disallowed, after Sands took the ball past Ramos, before planting it into the back of the net, only to see the referee’s assistant raise his flag for offside. Sands’ disappointment turned to frustration, as he was cautioned by the referee for playing on after the whistle. By now Leatherhead could now smell defeat and the visitors added a fourth goal after 64 minutes. Smith outsmarted the Leatherhead defence to fire past Ramos from the edge of the box, finishing off the best series of passes in the match.
Bury rounded off the scoring with their fifth goal after 75 minutes, as Connor Hall worked the ball in to the six yard box from the byeline, allowing Smith to complete his hat-trick with a simple tap in.
Leatherhead pressed forward in the final stages, desperately searching for a late consolation goal.
Brunt and Thomas both went close before the referee blew the final whistle to save any further embarrassment for the home side.
Leatherhead: Ramos, Richmond, Gross, Coyle, Nnamani, Brunt, Francis (Thompson), Simmons, Terry, Hutchings (Manners), Dolby (Thomas).
Unused subs: Rob Hill and Goma Lambu.