Archive for Leighton Town Football Club

SSMFLP; Reynolds hoping for gold at the end of the season

Saturday 21st April 2018

Leighton Town v Hadley

Spartan South Midlands Premier Division

Bell Close

K.O. 3.00pm

Leighton Town host Hadley in their penultimate home league game on Saturday, and with it face a stern test against the side who haven’t lost in eight games, including a two goal win over their hosts just over four weeks ago. Hadley currently occupy fifth place in the league table, albeit having played more games than most around them, so Leighton will need to continue their recent fine form in their pursuit of Berkhamsted and that second place in the table.

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with manager Scott Reynolds, and we asked how the game against Holmer Green midweek went:

Tuesday night we hosted Holmer Green and we were superb & finally back to our best. The result made it three wins on the spin again in the league, but more importantly keep a long awaited clean sheet which is always pleasing from a defensive point of view. Our performance was aggressive, clinical and the desire to win was there to see from all members of the playing squad on the night

Scott Reynolds

And ahead to this weekend:

Saturday will be tough, Hadley are the in form team in the division and have in recent weeks beaten us as well as the champions Welwyn Garden City. With promotion still a possibility it adds pressure and importance to this particular fixture

And how are things looking going into the final few games:

Squad wise we are as strong as ever. Lorrell Smith will return following a midweek absence and all other players are eligible for selection. As a club we are heading in the right direction. A huge amount has been achieved both on and off the pitch this season. A fine season on the pitch, which we hope will end with silverware & promotion, and a lot of effort & improvements off the pitch to improve the facilities & match day experience. A truly great effort from all so far, let’s just hope we can finish the job off in the last few weeks off the season

Sports Shots would like to thank Scott for his time this week.

SSMFLP; Biggleswade Utd 1-1 Leighton Town

Biggleswade United – 1

Leighton Town – 1

The race for second place in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division saw no advantages taken on Tuesday evening, as Leighton Town could only draw at Biggleswade United, but this did not affect the table as rivals Berkhamsted only managed to share ten goals at home to Leverstock Green. Leighton fell behind early on and were on the back foot for the opening stages, but they grew into the game & equalised from the spot through recent new signing Ash Fuller and went on to dominate the rest of the first period. After the break Leighton continued to press but United fought back and almost snatched a late winner but for a good save from Tom Wyant in the Leighton goal, but both defences did their jobs in the end and a point apiece was a fair reflection of the game.

It took four minutes for the first attack, Fuller received the ball out on the left and fizzed a ball across the goal mouth but with no one near forward enough, the ball rolled away for a goal kick. From there Biggleswade took the lead when Kane Farrell was fed down the left channel, he delivered an inch perfect cross into the Leighton box, the ball just too high for Town defender Matt Hall to reach and waiting in behind was Abraham Eze who headed past Wyant.

United went on to enjoy some time on the ball and had Town defending deep, but on thirteen minutes were almost caught out when Dom Marsala pressured Farrell out on the touchline to win the ball, as the home crowd called for a foul the midfielder was away and squared to Fuller inside the penalty arc, he took a touch before firing low past home keeper Robbie Ponting’s left hand post.

Marsala then played a pass out to Lewis McBride who attacked the right flank, he fizzed low & hard across the six-yard box and with Fuller stretching to get to the cross Jordan Wright somehow managed to flick over for a corner. Alex O’Brien swung the corner in right underneath the crossbar, Ponting seemed to have the ball in his clutches but lost it, a clearance to the edge of the penalty arc was then thumped narrowly over the top by Carl Resch.

Alex O’Brien fouled for penalty

United fought back, a loose ball some twenty-five yards out was seized upon by Farrell and he aimed at the Leighton net, a swooping and dipping drive that eluded Wyants outstretched hands but just didn’t dip enough & flew inches over the crossbar. Leighton equalised on thirty-six minutes when O’Brien on the right-hand side of the United box jinked through three United players & Gerard Martinez promptly stuck out a foot to bring the midfielder down. Fuller took responsibility and sent Ponting the wrong way to level the game.

The visitors almost undone their own hard work minutes later when surrendering possession in their own half allowing Eze to advance towards goal, but he didn’t connect properly and Wyant was behind his shot all the way. Straight back at the opposite end Marsala got in behind the home backline & attempted to square across the box, United skipper Martin Russell sliced the ball straight back to Marsala and he smashed at goal, the ball coming back off the goalframe and was eventually cleared. H/T: 1-1

Ten minutes after the restart James Hatch had a thumping header from a corner cleared off the Biggleswade goal line, followed moments later by another O’Brien corner being swung in and met this time by a great run from Resch who headed over the top. Leighton continued to have the better chances but just could not find the goal they needed to relax, and were almost undone when a Wyant clearance came back off Eze but bounced wide of the open goal from very close range.

Lorrell Smiths pace caused problems

Lorrell Smith came on to add some pace to the attack, and a ball down the right channel for him to chase after saw him get away from his marker, advancing into the box his low shot was blocked by the arm of Ponting and he fell on top of the ball to smother.

The home side then burst back into life with twenty minutes or so left, and picked up the pace sensing maybe they could pick up a late winner, having already beaten Welwyn Garden City at home this season, the league leaders only defeat to date. However, as much as they had the lion’s share of the ball, their crosses were too deep or they ran into a red & white brick wall.

The home side had the best chance of the half when Matt Cooper sent a free kick deep into the Town box, sliding in at the back post Lu Ndovi managed to touch the ball across goal to substitute Joshua Muschett but the ball was at an awkward height and he could only steer goalwards by his shin and the lack of power allowed Wyant to brilliantly dive away to his right to gather.

There was a late chance for the away side, a cross into the box was headed clear and running in O’Brien went for goal on the volley, but the ball flashed across the goal face and wide of Ponting’s right hand post. F/T: 1-1

Attendance: 103

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

After the game Sports Shots spoke to Town boss Scott Reynolds: 

For match photography, click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskySBW1G

SSMFLP; Reynolds requires rapid Reds reaction

Saturday 24th March 2018

Cockfosters v Leighton Town

Spartan South Midlands Premier Division

Chalk Lane

K.O. 3.00pm

Leighton Town travel down to Cockfosters on Saturday looking to bounce back from the midweek defeat at Hadley, their first in thirteen league matches. After Wednesday night’s result, twinned with Welwyn beating Berkhamsted, Leighton now sit fourth in the league table, a point off third with a game in hand, but now thirteen and fourteen points respectively off second place Berkhamsted & top placed Welwyn. Four games in hand on Berko means they have to win them all, but with nine games inside the next twenty-one days, and this being the forty-sixth of a long season already, can Town keep their season alive?

Awaiting Leighton at Cockfosters is a side that before last week-end had lost six on the bounce and all without scoring a goal, but last Saturday they rediscovered the goal net and beat Leverstock Green by the odd goal in a seven-goal thriller. Can the boys from Bedfordshire get back on track?

Ahead of the match Sports Shots spoke to manager Scott Reynolds, and asked how the midweek game at Hadley went, and look ahead to Saturday’s game at Cockfosters:

It was a very tough night on Wednesday, I can accept losing games of football, that’s all part of the game, but what I cannot and will not accept is losing through an apparent lack of effort & application. That really concerns me, and we will be looking to address this on Saturday.

Cockfosters are another young side from North London, a good footballing side. We beat them 2-1 at home on a Tuesday night, in one of our eleven league wins on the bounce prior to our FA Vase quarter-final, so I am confident that if we apply ourselves and get back to working hard & doing the basics then we can come out of the game with the right result

Scott Reynolds

Sports Shots would like to thank Scott for his time this week.

SSMFLP; Top of the table stalemate

Leighton Town – 0

Berkhamsted – 0

A healthy crowd attended this South Midlands Premier Division top of the table clash at Bell Close on Tuesday evening, but the sides could not be separated despite both having numerous chances. Leighton had the better chances in the first half but were forced to defend for long periods after the break and had goal keeper Tom Wyant to thank for denying the visitors with some stunning saves, and when he was beaten his defence were on hand; one late clearance off the line from Tom Guiney especially.

The stalemate left Berkhamsted the happier of the two sides at the final whistle, as they remain top of the table with their hosts sitting third, but with fourteen games left yet to play, Leighton still have plenty of time to reduce the thirteen-point gap between the two promotion chasing clubs. Before the game Town manager Scott Reynolds was presented with the Team of the Month award from the South Midlands League for their superb unbeaten run in January.

Scott Reynolds receives award

The opening moments saw the away side take the game to Leighton, forcing two early corners before one half clearance fell to Adiel Mannion on the edge of the area and he fired just wide of Wyants right hand post. After weathering the storm Town slowly grew into the game, and on thirteen minutes a great attack down the right from Lea Coulter saw him fizz the ball across the six-yard box but with no one anywhere near forward enough, the Berko right back was able to clear.

Tom Silford & Lorrell Smith then combined well down the left and fed Matt Hall who made a run through the Berko back line, however the left back couldn’t connect with the ball properly and his attempted lob saw keeper Carl Tasker have to take a couple of steps back before claiming in mid-air. At the other end a ball across the Leighton box looked lost until Ashton Campbell retrieved, he pulled back to Steve Hawes who thumped high over the crossbar.

Back came Leighton with Alex O’Brien who collected a clearance in midfield, he splayed the ball out wide to Smith who attacked the right wing, making some distance he then crossed back into O’Brien who had continued his run but from twelve yards he never really connected properly on the sticky pitch and drove narrowly wide of the near post. Carl Tappin then threaded a great ball through for O’Brien but again a lack of decent connection saw Tasker behind the ball all the way.

Campbell then cut in from the Berkhamsted left and snapped a low drive wide, from the goal kick the ball was headed straight back into the Leighton half and Ashley Morrissey was away on goal, reaching the corner of the box he blazed over the top. Campbell then had another low shot saved by Wyant low down at his near post, what seemed a regulatory save hit a bobble and with two Berko players running in the keeper had to stick a hand out to quickly push out for a corner.

Healthy crowd urging Town on

Leighton had a spell in the Berkhamsted area which saw numerous opportunities arise but some unselfish play saw each player trying to pass, or cushion the ball to someone in a better position, but it would just not sit for someone to hit, and credit to the visitors who did not panic and simply hurried and pressured until the danger was eventually cleared. A cross from the right from Tappin then found George Boland unmarked in front of goal but his touch escaped him, and the ball bounced off him into the waiting gloves of Tasker.

Three minutes before the break a Leighton throw deep in the Berko half saw a defender go to clear, the ball bouncing off a team mate and hanging in the air, Tappin was first to reach it but could only lift over the top. A minute later saw the away side convinced they should have had a penalty, Morrissey got down the right and headed towards goal, inside the box he went down under a challenge, but the referee awarded the corner despite the huge protests. Matt Pateman met the corner at the near post and his glancing header flashed across the goal face eluding everyone and going out for a goal kick. There was still time for Smith at the other end to drag a shot wide of goal from a throw in. H/T: 0-0

Seven minutes into the second half Berkhamsted sent over a cross from the left which found midfielder Dan Jones in on goal, but his left footed effort looped over the crossbar, and a minute later another cross saw Pateman running in at the back post but he was always underneath the ball and could only head up and Wyant gratefully gathered with both hands.

Morrissey then threaded a great pass out to Mannion to the right of the Leighton goal, but he could only screw wide, and on the hour mark another cross from the left wing was met on the six-yard line right in front of goal by Morrissey and his shot was brilliantly tipped away by Wyant. The Leighton keeper was back in action soon after when a goal kick was headed straight back at him, in behind the red defence was Campbell who went for goal & Wyant again earned the applause of the crowd tipping away for a corner.

Tom Wyant made crucial saves

Within minutes Wyant was pushing another shot onto his own crossbar which bounced over for a corner, and it seemed only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken. With eight minutes left Campbell attacked down the Berko right, Hall went out and blocked the run but, in the process, lost track of the ball, in a flash the Berko winger was away with the ball, he flashed the ball across the Town six-yard box but again no team mates were forward enough to get anything on it.

Berkhamsted started to push harder as the clock ticked down, a clearance from the Town defence saw left back Josh Chamberlain drive forward and hit first time but over the bar. With a minute left of regulatory time, the away side thought they’d won it, a header from substitute Sean Coughlan was brilliantly saved by Wyant but as the ball seemed to roll towards the goal line, Tom Guiney somehow launched the ball away, the referee & his assistant were then besieged with claims the ball had crossed the line but all to no avail.

With an additional eight minutes of time added, Leighton had chances of their own at the death, Matt Hall seized upon a loose ball in midfield and surged forward, evading a couple of challenges the move ended with Bruno Brito shooting over his shoulder, his effort flew amongst a sea of bodies in the Berko box, but no one got near to trouble Tasker although a slight touch somewhere saw a corner awarded. There was still time for the corner, Leighton piled bodies forward but Berko defended resolutely clearing as far as Brito who thumped high over the bar. H/T: 0-0

Attendance: 176

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

After the match Sports Shots caught up with Town boss Scott Reynolds: 

For match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmh8shNc

 

SSMFLP; High flyers Wade into Leighton Town

Saturday 10th March 2018

Leighton Town v Biggleswade FC

Spartan South Midlands Premier

Bell Close

K.O. 3.00pm

Leighton Town get back to league duties on Saturday after their recent FA Vase run came to an end two weeks ago, with their promotion battle now back in focus for Scott Reynolds men. The first game back after their cup exit couldn’t be much more difficult with fifth placed Biggleswade FC coming to Leighton on the back of a run that has seen them win six of their last seven league games. However, the Bell Close boys have themselves been in superb recent league form, having won their last nine on the bounce, fourteen of their last sixteen league games, and haven’t lost a league game since November last year.

Ahead of the game manager Scott Reynolds spoke to Sports Shots:

It feels an age since our last match which was the FA Vase quarter-final two weeks ago. A narrow single goal defeat to 1874 Northwich who in my opinion have been one of the most organised & tactically disciplined sides we have faced all season. We had everything in place on the day but just could not create anything clear cut, therefore exiting the competition at the last eight stage. I felt as a team, as we always do, had 110% in every department, our preparations were the same as any other, our expectation to win was the same as any other and we were confident going into the game.

Sadly, football can be very unpredictable & brutal at times, and it just wasn’t to be on the day. As a group, our staff and squad have spoken at length since about using our disappointment, frustrations and anger as added motivation to continue our very impressive league form, and ultimately push for promotion. Squad wise for this week we are very strong, we have an incredibly committed, experienced & talented set of football players here at Leighton Town who are always available to train and play upon every request.

I’ve never had an issue here getting players to play for Leighton Town FC, it’s more about selecting which players to use, managing the team & rotating the squad moving forward to cope with the hectic schedule we have ahead of us. Because of our success in cup competitions this season, along with some bizarre weather, we now find ourselves with eighteen games to play inside eight weeks. We have three matches every week for a month!

Make no mistake, it’s going to be physically & mentally draining but if we can keep our winning run going and maintain our momentum then it could be a very enjoyable & rewarding final third of the season!

Scott Reynolds

Sports Shots would like to thank Scott for his time this week.

Buckingham Senior Charity Cup: Ath secretary reveals dates for semi-final with Leighton

Buckingham Athletic and Leighton Town have set the dates for their semi-final in the Buckingham Senior Charity Cup.

Colin Howkins

Athletic secretary Colin Howkins told Sports Shots this morning;

We have now arranged our semi-final with Leighton Town.

The game at Leighton takes place on Thursday 12th April at 7.45pm with the second leg at Stratford Fields set for Tuesday 1st May, kick-off 7.30pm.

The final against the winners of the Winslow United versus Daventry Town semi-final tie will take place at Buckingham Athletic on Monday 7th May, 3pm.

FAVQF; Leighton FA Vase run comes to an end

Leighton Town – 0

1874 Northwich – 1

A cold & crisp day at Bell Close

The superb Leighton Town FA Vase run is over after 1874 Northwich came to Bell Close on Saturday and claimed a single goal victory from the penalty spot, and that was all that could separate the two sides. In all fairness, the match did not live up to the expectations or hopes of the huge crowd squeezed inside the ground; there was plenty of noise, colour and ceremony but the football did not match the enthusiasm of both sets of supporters. Whether nerves or the occasion got to the players, it wasn’t one to remember, and once Northwich got their noses in front they were happy to defend anything their hosts could throw at them. With the cup frenzy now over, concentration turns to finishing as high in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division as they can in their pursuit of promotion back to the Southern League.

Leighton made the better start to the game, Lea Coulter in the first minute used the outside of his boot trying to curl one inside the back post from the right hand side of the box, but the ball did not bend in enough as it sailed harmlessly wide. Dom Marsala had a better chance moments later when he collected the ball in midfield, he laid off to Coulter who attacked the right wing before squaring back to Marsala who had made ground inside the area but he mis-hit his shot and pulled wide.

Northwich had to wait ten minutes before the first chance, when Matt Russell crossed from their left and right in front of Tom Wyant in the Town goal Samuel Hind somehow scooped the ball up and over the crossbar. The visitors almost gave their hosts a gift shortly after when a routine ball into their half saw Jack Pritchard turn and go to pass the ball back to his keeper Greg Hall but he sliced his pass and for a second or two it looked as though the ball was going to roll into the net, but Hall recovered to save his team mates blushes.

Tom Guiney has ball taken off his head

From the corner the ball was swung in perfectly towards the head of Town skipper Tom Guiney who looked odds on to connect and thump at goal, but Hall was off his line and pushed the ball away in the nick of time, almost off the head of the centre half. On twenty-one minutes Hall was again denying the home side from taking the lead, Alex O’Brien tried his luck from thirty yards out with a dipping drive that had the keeper back peddling before leaping to push over the bar with both hands.

Four minutes later saw the deciding moment of the game. Northwich were on the attack with Jake Parker to the left of the area, as he looked for space a tackle from Marsala saw him felled and the referee who was right behind the action blew and pointed to the spot. Although Wyant went the right way, he couldn’t prevent Scott McGowan from drilling into the bottom corner to give the away side the lead.

Up until that moment Leighton had been the better side, but the goal changed the whole complexion of the match. 1874 came into the game lifted by their lead and started asking their own questions of the Leighton back line. Taylor Kennerley attacked down the left channel and his cross cum shot almost crept inside the back post but was eventually cleared. James Hatch then had a chance when played in down the Leighton left, shoulder to shoulder with a defender he took the shot on early from just inside the box but Hall was comfortable falling to his left to gather. H/T: 0-1

Tom Wyant goes close to saving penalty

Seven minutes into the second period almost saw Northwich extend their lead when a loose ball in the Leighton box was allowed to bounce and Hind nipped in between the reds defence but could only side foot straight into Wyant’s gloves. Some intricate passing on the edge of the Northwich box between O’Brien and Marsala then saw Hatch presented with the opportunity to shoot from twelve yards but his shot was straight at Hill.

As the half wore on the away side managed the game to their benefit, mopping up anything Leighton tried, forcing manager Scott Reynolds into freshening up the front line by introducing Lorrell Smith for Lea Coulter. Almost immediately Smith had a run at the 1874 defence but again they dealt with the threat without too much discomfort.

George Boland was also introduced to the action and a free kick into the box found him twelve-yards out creeping in behind the defence, however he didn’t connect and could only screw the ball away from goal where it was cleared away. Lewis McBride crossed from the left and a defender blocked to kill the ball dead, running in Carl Tappin sent the ball back into the danger area but with no one in red anywhere near it was again launched to safety.

With five minutes left Smith robbed Ryan Mitchell out on the left and headed for goal, on reaching the eighteen-yard line he snatched at the chance but simply curled straight into Hill’s gloves. Northwich then saw out the remainder to book their place in the two-legged semi-finals, and leave Leighton heart broken. F/T: 0-1

Attendance: 1,109

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

After the game Sports Shots spoke with Leighton manager Scott Reynolds: 

For full match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm7vLtsq

 

FAVQF; Quarter-Final preview with Reds defensive duo

Saturday 24th February 2018

Leighton Town v 1874 Northwich

FA Vase Quarter-Final

Bell Close

K.O. 3.00pm

Leighton Town

Since September last year, over five-hundred non-league clubs have entered the 2017/18 FA Vase. This Saturday the final eight teams left in the competition take to the field to battle it out for a place in the semi-finals and be just two games from playing at the home of English football, Wembley Stadium. There aren’t many managers, staff, players, supporters & committee’s that get to watch their side play on the hallowed turf at this level; back in September when the first qualifying round of matches took place not many were thinking ahead to Sunday 20th May 2018 and the FA Vase Final. Fast forward seven rounds, we are now down to the quarter-final stage, and everyone is thinking about the final.

Leighton Town were no different to most clubs, just hoping for a good run to swell the financial coffers, but on Saturday they host 1874 Northwich with the opportunity to reach the last four. Scott Reynolds men are on an eleven-game winning sequence, but once again come up against unknown opposition from another league, and another part of the country, a part of the country where teams are notorious for doing well in FA Vase competition!

Ahead of the fixture, Sports Shots caught up with defenders James Towell & Dave Murphy, and asked Dave just what it means as a player to be this far into an FA competition:

It’s a huge game & a massive achievement to get through to the quarter finals in such a prestigious competition. To know that we are in the last eight after winning seven previous games makes it even more special. For so many teams at this level, it’s a dream to have a good run in it and we are going to do all that we can on Saturday to make sure we are in the hat for the semi-final draw on Monday

James agreed that it’s been a dream run so far:

It’s getting very real now, a cup final at Wembley is at arm’s length; the sort of occasion you dream of being involved in as a kid. We have done very well to get this far, however there is still work to be done so we shouldn’t get too carried away just yet. But of course, it’s a great feeling to still be in the cup

James Towell

We asked James what the highlight of the cup run has been so far:

I’d have to say that beating Norwich CBS has been the highlight for me, being so close to exiting the competition to get back into the game so late on, and going on to win so convincingly in extra-time, we showed tremendous character in that game, that will long live in the memory

Where does this run rank in Dave Murphy’s career:

This is actually the second time I’ve played in a Vase quarter-final, unfortunately in 2014 I was at Ampthill and on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline and our dream ended there. To miss out on the opportunity to play in a two-legged semi-final was crushing. At that point to be so close, and even if you were up against one of the top northern teams, the fact is playing over two legs always gives you a chance to get to the final. So for me, this game on Saturday is right up there, I don’t want that losing experience again and I will do everything I can to stop that from happening again

We asked Dave if there was any secret to the Leighton run?

I honestly believe that we‘ve kept the games as low key as possible. We know that we have a lot of quality in our squad and on our day,  we can match any team at this level. We’ve tried to take our consistency and good form from our league campaign and replicate it in the Vase, and up to this point it has been an expectation that if we perform well & play to our strengths then we have every chance of winning. That hasn’t always happened, and we have had two very tough ties against Norwich and Wolves but our poor performance during stages of those games has been as much a factor of making those ties difficult as the quality of the opposition. But our attitude to games is that we do not know when we are beaten, we have a great group of players who will fight for each other until the end

We questioned James whether it was difficult to concentrate on league games with the Vase in the background?

It’s not that difficult if I’m honest. They both seem to give us a break from each other of late, the league is obviously our priority and we must gain promotion this season. But we give it our all in all the competitions we’ve been in this season, and I’d hate for anything to slip through our fingers now

We looked at what players James thinks will make an impact for Leighton on Saturday:

I actually think myself and Matt Hall will have a big part to play, keeping our opposing players quiet, stopping crosses & shots, and winning our own individual battles, I think the pace of Lorrell (Smith) up top causes every team we’ve played problems, he could really make the difference for us going forward

Dave is expecting a tough battle on the pitch:

I would expect them to be a very good side, you can’t get to this stage of the competition through luck alone. They will be organised, disciplined and no doubt have quality all over the pitch. But we need to make sure that we focus on our strengths and what we can do, if we can do that & play to our potential that we know we can at Bell Close, then we have a great chance of making it through to the semi-finals, and that’s when you really start getting excited

Dave Murphy

Rounding up, we asked Dave how he feels his own personal season has been:

It’s been good, we are in a good position in the league table, and obviously this huge game this week-end. We are only really in that position due to the incredible run we find ourselves on at this time, eleven wins in a row and a momentum we need to keep going on Saturday. Personally, I have managed to keep injury free and had a good run of games which is always nice, but it really has all been about the effort the squad is putting in. But it all comes down to Saturday, and then some huge league games over the next few weeks, that’s when we can really then look at what an incredible season it has been for Leighton Town FC

And what will James do to relax on Friday evening:

I usually get to my local gym for a yoga class on Friday evenings, I go to two classes a week, one on Monday and the other on the Friday. It’s only a beginner’s class on the Friday so it’s nice & light but I find it just gets me in a clear frame of mind ready for the game the next day. However, this Friday a couple of the squad and I are having a get together at Lewis McBride’s, so it’ll be nice to just get a few of us together and have some food, play the Nintendo Wii and just chill ahead of the match

Sports Shots would like to thank both James & Dave for their time this week.

FAV5R; Leighton send Wolves packing to reach ¼ final

Wolverhampton Sporting Community – 3

Leighton Town – 4

The Leighton Town FA Vase run of 2017/18 is certainly going to go down in supporter’s memories for a very long time to come. After the first couple of rounds were negotiated, they went on to record to narrow single goal victories, one at home, the other in Essex, and single goal leads are never comfortable. From there they went to Norfolk and surrendered a two goal lead before winning through; they then hosted a Norfolk side and were going out of the competition with two minutes of the ninety left. A late equaliser sent the game into extra time, and they won in the extra thirty minutes, this sent them to Staffordshire to face Wolverhampton Sporting CFC. Surely the Town supporters couldn’t have their nerves shredded any further?

Upon arrival at the home of ‘Wolves’, you are welcomed to Pride Park. Healthy numbers of Leighton support had travelled up from Bedfordshire, despite the 10.00am pitch inspection leaving most in limbo not knowing where they were heading for a 3.00pm football feast. As the crowd swelled the talk was of the condition of the pitch. The home committee had been working all day Friday and Saturday morning desperately trying to get it pitch perfect. Some heavy forking, buckets of sands, and some plastic sheets resulted in game on.

Centre spot

The first half will live in memory for a long time. Poor defending or great attacking, pace, mud, set pieces, strange decisions for both sides, this was a proper cup tie. Leighton scored from a corner to settle the nerves, that didn’t last long! Their hosts equalised and looked extremely dangerous every time they came forward. Leighton then went and scored two more, the first again from a corner, the second from a sublime free kick routine. 1-3, game over? No chance!

Sporting were level by the break, one a dubious penalty even ridiculed by the home supporters as a corner all day long. Full credit must be given to the home side, technically a level below their guests, it never really showed for long periods, an all-out attacking flare side that fully demonstrated why they have scored over one hundred goals this season, and are surely destined for higher level football. The second half could never match the first, Leighton got their noses in front again with yet another awkward penalty decision, Alex O’Brien despatched the spot kick into the bottom corner and Leighton then managed the remainder to set up a mouth-watering home quarter-final tie with 1874 Northwich in two weeks’ time.

Manager Scott Reynolds was again forced to reshuffle his pack from their last game, with Lewis McBride still missing with an ongoing arm injury, Dom Marsala serving the last of his three match suspension, & Bruno Brito on holiday, back came Lorrell Smith and Matt Hall, with Smith & James Hatch up front, Hall slotting into his familiar left back role alongside Tom Guiney, Dave Murphy & James Towell at right back. A strong combative midfield showed Alex O’Brien and Carl Tappin in the middle with Tom Silford patrolling the left and Lea Coulter in his now familiar right sided position.

An early shot from the hosts was comfortable for Tom Wyant in the Leighton goal, before at the opposite end a Smith cross was inches away from Coulter in the middle. Hatch then had an effort which was deflected away for a corner on nine minutes.

From the corner Leighton took the lead, swung into the near post Hatch out jumped his marker and headed the ball at goal, Wolves keeper Dale Reaney & centre half Jak Barnes fell over each other trying to clear, the ball fell to the floor and a melee ensued which resulted in Reaney falling on the ball, but the assistant on the far side waved his flag furiously to indicate the ball had crossed the line.

The lead lasted just ninety seconds when a corner saw a header from close range stopped by Hall inside the six-yard box, but quickest to react was Wolves skipper Mitch Clarke who stabbed home. Moments after their equaliser the hosts had another chance when another cross from the left found Wes Grey in front of goal but he could only lift over the top.

Despite the home side pressing after their goal, it was the away side that scored again on seventeen minutes when Hatch got on the end of another corner at the near post and headed over everyone and in. Seven minutes later saw Leighton in dream land, a two-footed challenge on Smith saw a free kick awarded just outside the Wolves box. Alex O’Brien planted into the bottom corner after a clever routine involving Coulter and Hall.

Alex O’Brien scores from free kick

Before Leighton had any time to calm down, Wolves pulled a goal back through Jon Letford, a cross into the box & effort at goal saw Wyant save, but the rebound was pounced on by the Wolves midfielder who knocked past the stranded Town keeper giving him no chance. Game on again!

The red and white shirts were now defending wave after wave of attacks, Tom Hill headed over after a superb cross found the striker on the corner of the six-yard box, then nine minutes before the break the scores were level again. A long ball knocked for a Wolves player to chase down saw Silford give chase, on the edge of the eighteen yard area the challenge was made and the ball rolled out of play. As the assistant waved for a corner, the referee pointed to the penalty spot.

Alex Moore absolutely rifled home the penalty into the top corner, and the sides went into half-time all square, with spectators barely able to comprehend what they had witnessed in the first forty-five minutes. H/T: 3-3

Of course the second half couldn’t mirror the first, but it started as if it would with the home side taking the game to their guests. A full five minutes of pressure without little end product saw the Town back line under pressure but deal with everything thrown at them. A brief respite saw Smith released away on goal from one clearance and he ran thirty yards before blazing over the crossbar from distance.

Back came Wolves, a cross into the area saw Barnes first to the ball but he could only hook wide, then on fifty-six minutes came another suspicious penalty decision, this time in Leightons favour. Coulter threaded a ball through for Smith to chase, Wolves left back Kyle Delaney gave chase and slid in to challenge winning the ball but again the official pointed to the spot.

Alex O’Brien scores winning penalty

O’Brien despatched into the bottom corner to once again give his side the lead in the tie. The goal seemed to calm the game down from that point, Wolves attacked but Leighton were comfortable and managed the game brilliantly. A series of niggly tackles, substitutions and weary legs meant the game never really threatened like it had for the first hour or so. On sixty-nine minutes the home side got down their left wing, and fizzed the ball across the goal face but no orange shirts were anywhere near forward enough to get a touch, and the ball rolled harmlessly out for a throw in.

As the tempo slowed it took until the last five minutes for Wolves to realise they only needed a goal for extra time. A ball played up to Letford saw him back to goal work some space before turning and shooting, but he dragged his effort wide of Wyant’s right hand post. Smith had a late chance for Leighton but he cleared the clubhouse as well as the crossbar, and Wolves knew it was over when in the dying seconds a ball into the Town box saw defender Phil McKerdy twist his entire body in mid-air to get his head to it, but his effort was two yards wide of the post and moments later the whistle sounded to end a truly remarkable cup tie. F/T: 3-4

Attendance: 188

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

After the game Sports Shots spoke with Town manager Scott Reynolds: 
And also with Saturday’s skipper Tom Guiney: 

For match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmaNfv2U

FAV5R; Mr Duffy ensures the kit is never ‘late on’

Saturday 10th February 2018

Wolverhampton Sporting CFC v Leighton Town

FA Vase 5th Round

Pride Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Ahead of Leighton’s re-arranged trip to Wolverhampton Sporting CFC, Sports Shots has this week caught up with one of the vital members of the staff behind the scenes. Anyone who has ever been involved in the running of a non-league football club knows that without volunteers the club doesn’t function; managers, players & supporters come and go but there is always someone who has to stay whether times are good or bad and is always willing to do anything to help. Leighton Town are fortunate that they have Philip Duffy, a man that has helped with many things over the years at Bell Close, and this year became kit man to help Scott Reynolds & Adam Kirkup in their pre-match preparations.

Phil Duffy

We asked Phil how it all started:

I have always been in & around non-league football wherever I have lived and worked, particularly in the East Midlands with Burton Albion, so when we moved to Leighton Buzzard some fifteen years ago it was natural that I started to come and watch the Town. Over the years the games I attended increased, and over recent seasons I began to take photographs home & away. Through this I became closer to the management and players at the club, which resulted in being asked by Scott & Adam last summer to come onboard with the management team as kit man

What responsibilities come with the kit man title:

It’s a great role to have, you get involved in so many aspects of the club. Obviously, I am responsible for the first team kit to be ready for the next match, sometimes to very tight deadlines but I have an excellent lady who lives locally who cleans the kit, taking it on a Saturday night or early Wednesday morning after a midweek game, and her quality is of the highest order which means I can concentrate on everything else. That can range from manager or player phone calls or texts requesting anything from collecting pasta meals at 5am for an away trip to Norfolk, resistance bands, requests for certain types of boot studs, training kit, favourite Haribo’s to be in the dressing room before a game, even a red and white scarf for a dog to wear at a game. I really enjoy being the conduit / Mr Fixer for the players and the staff on match day, training nights as well as during the week so they can focus on their football and we can create an as professional environment around the club as possible. I take great pride in arriving early, home or away, and having the dressing room all ready with the kit hung and laid out, refreshments ready and having the all-important sock tape to hand long before the players begin to arrive

What can the FA Vase run do for the club?

I had people coming up to me after the 5-2 extra time win against Norwich CBS saying how much they enjoyed the game, and for some it was even their first football match at 70 years of age despite having lived in Leighton Buzzard for many years. So, this is a chance for the club to increase the fan base and awareness of the football team in and around the town and the surrounding area

Crazy scenes in the last round v Norwich CBS

What previous cup runs stick in the mind?

Getting through to the 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup in in 2007/08 where Leighton had a great crowd in for the 3-1 victory over the now Conference side Boreham Wood in the 3rd qualifying round, before eventually losing out away at Havant & Waterlooville in the 4th qualifier denying Leighton Town the great opportunity to reach the first-round proper. Also, the run to the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Cup in 2011/12

How highly do you rate the current squad?

These lads are a great bunch to be in and around, it’s been a pleasure to see the hard work and team ethic grow from pre-season and into the full season. It’s not always possible to sweep sides away like Moses parting the red sea, but these guys never give up and that shows in the results this season in both the league and FA Vase run

Leighton Town strong squad

How do you see Leighton finishing this season?

I see the team getting stronger and stronger, with the return of key players such as Dom Marsala and Lewis McBride as well as the excellent additions to the squad recently in Lea Coulter, Bruno Brito, Ryan Coyle and Lee Boland. Also with Carl Resch nearing full fitness it is a very exciting time to be at Leighton Town FC, the core of the team is the best I have seen with some greatly experienced players providing the springboard for the development and emergence of the younger players such as Tom Wyant, James Towell, Kai Ashley, Carl Tappin and Lorrell Smith as key members of the team, playing alongside the likes of Tom Guiney, Dave Murphy, Matt Hall, Alex O’Brien and James Hatch every week is a perfect place to propel these young players playing careers. Well done to Scott, Adam and the club for assembling this talented and hard-working group of players together

What would it mean to see LTFC at Wembley?

It would really put the club and the town on the map in a footballing sense and could lead to an enduring legacy that Leighton Town FC would benefit from for years to come, in terms of local youth development and new associations being formed with local and national businesses and for the local community to see what a talented football team that they have right on their doorstep

Sports Shots would like to thank Phil for his time out this week.