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Leatherhead 2
Strange (39' og), Pearch (63')
1 Kingstonian
Parchment (56')

Grier's Guide to Leatherhead

The match: Leatherhead v Kingstonian, Velocity Trophy. Tuesday 22 November, 19:45.

The club: Long-standing Isthmian stalwarts and rival of Ks. They're synonymous with Chris Kelly, 'The Leatherhead Lip', who starred as they reached the fourth round of the FA Cup in 1974-75. He later played for us before becoming manager and then chief exec. Another ex-Ks manager, Hayden Bird, has recently taken charge.

The town: Smallish town in Surrey which made a pleasant temporary home for us in 2017/18. Local residents include the actor Michael Caine.

The ground: Fetcham Grove, Guildford Road, Leatherhead, KT22 9AS. With covered terraces at either end as well as all down one side it's a decent ground for this level, with an assymetric and slightly chaotic character to it. The facilities are good and we were warmly welcomed during the season we played there.

Directions: The 465 stops close to the ground, taking about 45 minutes from Kingston via Surbiton and Chessington. The bus home is at 21:56 but you might have to wait another hour if it goes to penalties. The station isn't on a line to anywhere in the RBK but you can change at Raynes Park. There's a good-sized car park at the nearby leisure centre.

Our record there: It's fair to say Fetcham Grove was not a happy hunting ground when we shared there, with Leigh Dynan regularly getting frustrated by its boggy playing surface. Our last visit was an entertaining 3-2 win on New Year's Day.

Tickets: £12 adults; £8 concessions; £5 U16s; U12s free. You can buy them on the turnstiles or from their online ticket store at https://leatherheadfc.ktckts.com/brand/match-tickets (not yet available at time of writing)

Players to watch: Bird has taken his usual approach of signing a lot of his former players to his new club - so ex-Ks Dan Hector, Harry Osborne, Olly Allen and Lewis Pearch are all now Tanners. They join two more ex-Ks in Jermaine McGlashan and Louie Collins as well as Reise Allassani, who played a starring role helping Dulwich to promotion in 2018 before signing for Coventry, and non-league veteran Dave Tarpey.

Recent form: After a bad first half of last season they were desperately unlucky to be relegated on points per game after finding some late season form. But a slow start this term saw Bird brought in to replace former manager Luke Tuffs. Results have remained mixed but they've pulled clear of the relegation playoff zone.

Crowd: The derbies with Ks tend to pull in a good crowd - Leatherhead have a reasonable-sized support and we tend to travel well there ourselves. Of course the Velocity Trophy tends to be less of a draw than league games.

Drinking: The Running Horse, five minutes' walk from the ground, is undoubtedly the pre-match favourite with Ks fans. The welcome is warm and it offers good food at a reasonable price, Surrey Hills beer on tap and a big beer garden. It dates back to 1403 and legend has it that Queen Elizabeth once spent the night there when flooding made the River Mole impossible to cross.

Food: The Five Rivers on Bridge Street is an excellent curry house with good service and an interesting menu. The food in the ground is decent too, including the gourmet burger. 

Published Saturday 19th November 2022