This has been a season with many highlights for Leatherhead fans. A fabulous FA Cup run which included a televised victory over Billericay Town, a seemingly unstoppable climb up the league after games in hand caused by those cup heroics were won, a seven-nil victory and Tom Derry’s habit of scoring late goals all brought joy to the Fetcham Grove masses- but last night the home fans came down with a bump, as another side who normally play in green spoiled their party. Hendon confirmed their play-off place as the Tanners conceded a last minute goal for the third game in a row- and in doing so also ensured that Leiston will take the final playoff spot, barring a mathematical miracle on Saturday.
When the two sides met at Silver Jubilee Park back in January, Sammy Moore’s men were rampant, coming away with a 4-1 victory. Undoubtedly that meant that Gary McCann’s side were looking for revenge last night, and they got it in perhaps the cruellest way possible. Really the Tanners needed three points, but one would have kept them in the playoff hunt and given them a chance if Leiston were to lose their final game- ironically against Hendon. They must have thought that they’d got that point after Jack Midson cancelled out an early goal from Sam Murphy midway through the second half, but Hendon were not to be undone, and Josh Walker stepped up to deliver away delight.
Leiston, in fifth place, have three more points than sixth place Margate and the Tanners in seventh, but a goal difference six better than Gate and thirteen better than Leatherhead. On that basis it would seem that the playoff semi-finals will see Dulwich Hamlet host Leiston, whilst Folkestone Invicta face Hendon- although the result of Saturday’s matches will determine which of those two has home advantage.
In the North Division, Romford gave themselves a fighting chance of avoiding relegation, closing the gap on second bottom Norwich United to two points with one match remaining. The Boro went three-nil up, first half goals from Chris Taylor and Carlos Djalo Oso being added to by Greg Akpele in the 74th minute, and then contrived to make themselves sweat as opponents Grays Athletic scored in the eightieth and ninetieth minutes- Tommy Wade and Kieran Bishop finding the net. But they were able to hold on, and now all attention turns to Saturday, when Romford host Maldon & Tiptree needing a win- and for United to lose at Cheshunt.
Tonight Kingstonian take on Dulwich Hamlet in the Premier Division, whilst Brentwood Town host Canvey Island in the North Division and South Park visit Molesey in the South.