Just one match in Ryman Division One South survived the weather at the weekend, and 10-man Leatherhead will be wishing it had not after they lost the table topping clashing at Peacehaven & Telscombe 3-0.
The heavily-sanded pitch passed an early morning inspection and despite further persistent heavy rain, the match referee decided that the game could go ahead.
Peacehaven adapted to the almost farcical playing conditions much better than the visitors, moving the ball around within the few areas of the pitch where it would not grind to a halt on the increasingly sticky playing surface.
Peacehaven snatched the lead after six minutes, with Tom Burton latching onto a Charlie Walker pass to fire home from 18 yards.
Tanners gradually acclimatised to the incessant rain, creating a series of half-chances in front of the Peacehaven goal.
Darren Smith’s 21st minute corner was punched away by goalkeeper Antony Di Bernardo, but the ball dropped to the feet of Frank Griffin, who drove it just wide of the goal.
Smith launched a probing free kick into the Peacehaven box after 27 minutes, with Jamie Coyle’s header well saved by Di Bernardo.
A good build up involving Leroy Griffiths, Tom Bradbrook and Ian Draycott saw the ball played through to Paul Semakula, who fired disappointingly wide from the edge of the box.
Peacehaven absorbed everything Tanners could throw at them and doubled their lead with a piece of good fortune after 31 minutes.
A clearance from the Leatherhead defence got bogged down in the mud, and Walker latched onto the ball to fire past goalkeeper Deren Ibrahim.
Tanners came close to pulling a goal back after 50 minutes, but Semakula’s fine effort was cleared off the line before Draycott’s follow-up was headed behind for a corner.
Leatherhead were then reduced to 10 men on 75 minutes after Griffiths received his second yellow card of the match.
The popular Tanners forward immediately left the pitch for the sanctuary of the warm and dry dressing room, only to be summoned back onto the pitch by the referee, in order to observe the strict protocol of showing a red card after a second yellow.
Peacehaven should have added a third goal on 81 minutes, but Walker’s goal-bound effort pulled up short in the heavy mud in the Tanners goalmouth.
The hosts did not have to wait much longer however, as Craig Richards headed home an 88th minute corner to complete a thoroughly miserable afternoon for the visitors.
Leatherhead: Deren Ibrahim, Ryan Mahal, Frank Griffin (Matt Smart 52), Tom Parkinson (Mohamed Eisa 63), Jamie Coyle, Jerry Nnamani, Paul Semakula, Darren Smith, Tom Bradbrook, Ian Draycott, Leroy Griffiths.
Unused subs: Matte Pierson, Kev Terry.