Town Pickup 3 Points Against London Tigers
Although the end result appears convincing, the performance by Town was anything but. Leading 2-0 at half-time and London Tigers down to ten men, the second half should have been a ‘stroll in the park’ for Leighton; it proved nothing of the sort as th
With a huge number of games to play squad rotation is going to be critical for Leighton and manager Reynolds made two changes from the side that started the FA Vase tie last time out with Smith replacing Coulter in the starting line-up and Marsala in for the unavailable Tom Silford.
Leighton dominated the first half, with the back four of Murphy, Hall, Towell and skipper Guiney in total control, but although going close on a number of occasions, they found the Tigers goalkeeper in fine form. The breakthrough finally came on the half hour mark as O’Brien fired Leighton into the lead from the edge of the box after good work by Mc Bride and a fine dummy by Tappin.
In the final minutes of the first half a Tigers defender was adjudged to have handled the ball deliberately in the visitors penalty area and referee Wyatt, who had an excellent game, pointed to the spot; having received a yellow card for a challenge on Hatch earlier in the half the Tigers defender was rightly dismissed. Marsala took the penalty but his well struck shot was acrobatically saved by the Tigers keeper; O’Brien, however, was the quickest to react and fired home his second goal of the game from close range, to give Leighton a significant advantage at half-time.
Any thoughts that Leighton would go on to control the game were quickly dispelled, as the visitors dominated large periods of the second half with Town lacking shape, positional discipline and pattern. Although Smith had two good chances to further Leighton’s lead, Tigers were the team who looked most likely to score, which they did, with ten minutes to go. It was a truly splendid individual goal by the young Tigers left back, who beat four Leighton players and then curled an unstoppable shot past the helpless Wyant in the Leighton goal. The Leighton faithful were now biting their nails; this was not a game in which Town could afford to drop any points. In the end, as is so often the case, it was Lewis McBride that calmed the nerves, as he converted a superb run and pass by O’Brien with great precision and venom to secure the game. The experienced Coulter on for James Hatch, wrapped up the points with an excellent strike, after latching on to another O’Brien through ball, to add gloss to a score line that what not a true reflection of the game.
Tigers deserve great credit for their second half performance as do Town for responding to the visitor’s threat in emphatic fashion, in the final minutes of the game.
With promotion rivals Berkhamsted Town, Harpenden Town and Leverstock Green all losing, it ended up being a good afternoon for Leighton. However, they will need to address some of the issues that appear to arise against teams in the lower echelons of the division, if they are to achieve their target of maximum points in January.
Next up are two away games; against Crawley Green on Wednesday at Barton Rovers FC and then a trip to resurgent Edgware Town on Saturday.