Bishop’s Stortford were frustrated with a goalless draw at the bottom of Leatherhead’s table on Saturday but remain on course for the play-offs at least in the Isthmian League Premier Division.
The Blues – who beat their hosts 7-0 in the second leg at the R&D Advisors UK Stadium three months ago – had the majority of possession and chances but were down to 10 players for the final half hour after that Darren Foxley received a second yellow card.
However, they move up to third in the table due to Lewes’ 3-1 loss at sixth-placed Hornchurch. Second-placed Enfield Town beat Margate 4-0 to close the gap on leaders Worthing, who drew 1-1 at Corinthian-Casuals, two points behind, with the Blues now five points behind Enfield but with a game less.
The Tanners have picked up just their second point in 13 League appearances at Fetcham Grove this season, while Stortford, now unbeaten in 19 League appearances, kept a first clean sheet in three. Only Hornchurch, with 25, conceded fewer goals than the Blues (28).
Manager Steve Smith made two changes from Tuesday’s 3-1 home win over Bognor Regis Town, with Chris Harris and Mark Haines coming on the bench. Archie Edwards returned from injury for the first time in over two months and Anthony Church was also in attendance.
Leatherhead skipper Aaron Lamont netted a free kick near the edge of the box but it went over the crossbar of Blues keeper Jack Giddens.
When Giddens launched a free kick near the halfway line in the box, his counterpart Adam Desbois totally misjudged it in the air, missing his punch and knocking out Mitchal Gough in the process, with Cameron Black forced to clear from the vacant goal line.
From the resulting corner, Billy Cracknell saw his counter post header blocked on the line, and Jonny Giles looped one in from the edge of the box but Desbois saved.
Foxley was booked for blocking a quick free kick in the half from Leatherhead, before Giles fired a weak effort wide of the right post and Foxley’s back was cleared before Marlow could make contact.
Anthony Church knocked down a Foxley cross to set up Jack Thomas but his shot was blocked. Ryan Henshaw’s header from Giles’ free kick was blocked and his volley on the rebound was saved by Desbois for a corner.
Neither substitute Chris Harris nor Foxley could hold on to a low cross from Giles, and on Giles’ second attempt Leatherhead escaped.
Foxley saw a powerful shot from the left side of the box parried for a corner, before receiving a second yellow for a strong shoulder challenge on a Tanners defender. Black and Marlow were later cautioned for their involvement in a melee after the incident.
Johnville Renee was on hand to provide a double block at the back post following a deep cross, before Frankie Merrifield saw a long-range effort denied by Desbois for a bulletproof corner.
Leatherhead replacement Antonio German was left free in the box to head home but nodded over the bar after a cross from the right wing, before Renee dribbled in from behind straight and in the box, but saw his cannon inside the right post.
The German had a late chance for the win after a through pass from Joshua Bohui but dismissed his shot as neither team could break the deadlock.
The Blues host Corinthian-Casuals next Saturday (February 5) before traveling to Potters Bar Town – who lost 7-0 at home to Folkestone Invicta – on Tuesday February 8.
leather head: Desbois, Owens, Paget, Hanson, Gough (booked 29), Black (booked 58), Bohui, Lamont (c), McGlashan, Burnett, Mendes Calucane (German 63). Unused subtitles: Daly, Bridgeman, Cawdron.
Blues: Giddens, Edwards (Haines 67), Church (booked 38), Henshaw (c), Giles, Marlow (booked 59), Merrifield (booked 68; Charles 72, booked 77), Renee, Jack Thomas (Harris 46), Foxley ( reserved 25, 60), Cracknell. Unused submarines: Robbins, Wallace.