The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Whitehawk 1-1 Leatherhead (3-4 On Penalties)

For men of a certain age, the name of Leatherhead FC makes the eyes mist over and the memories come flooding back. The Tanners were in Division One of the Isthmian League (which was renamed the Premier Division in 1977, following reorganisation) when they beat Colchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion on the way to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in 1975, where the BBC’s Match Of The Day cameras saw them steal a two goal lead against First Division Leicester City before losing by three goals to two. Over the next couple of years, they would beat Cambridge United and Northampton Town, as well as reaching Wembley in the 1978 FA Trophy Final, before dropping back to the relative obscurity from whence they came. Three and a half decades on, the Isthmian League is now known as the Ryman League and Leatherhead are fighting to get out of one its two basement divisions. This evening, their supporters are back on the south coast for a play-off semi-final in the Ryman League Division One South against Whitehawk. Such is the slightly rushed atmosphere under which non-league play-offs tend to be played that it’s the second time in four days that the two clubs have met – Whitehawk won 2-1 here on Saturday to secure third place in the league and, therefore, home advantage this evening –...

Read More