Archive for Leighton Town Football Club

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.

FAV5R; Assistant manager is Adamant Town are ready

Saturday 10th February 2018

Wolverhampton Sporting CFC v Leighton Town

FA Vase 5th Round

Pride Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Leighton Town try again this week-end to get their FA Vase fifth round match at Wolverhampton Sporting Community FC under way, after last week’s postponement due to the weather, and ahead of the game Town assistant manager Adam Kirkup gave us a review of the last week and the game ahead:

 

We have treated this week just like any other; that is to simply prepare ourselves physically and mentally for the next competitive game. As we didn’t have a game scheduled for this week we got the squad together to ensure that the players are ticking themselves over correctly, and are in the right condition and frame of mind. Although a fixture like this can always add a bit of something extra, I certainly cannot fault anyone’s attitude or commitment this week.

There will be no changes to the squad for this Saturday. We are in a very privileged position at the moment of having good numbers available to us with more players to come back into the squad soon. I would also like to compliment the players who will not be involved in the game, but who have shown great commitment & loyalty to us by choosing to travel with the team & supporters to show their support

Adam Kirkup

We asked if the cup game is evoking excitement or nerves amongst the players.

It depends on who you speak to at the club, I can guarantee you’d get a different answer every time you ask someone, I think a bit of both in all honesty. Personally I believe that we should look forward to the game, and embrace the occasion as I know how much time, effort & hard work it has taken to get us to this point. However, it is down to myself and the other members of the coaching staff to ensure that we manage the player’s excitement & channel their nerves in the correct manner. That way then, we are hopefully able to achieve the positive outcome we want, & continue to enjoy our FA Vase journey

Wolves & Leighton have the added incentive of knowing that the winners have a home draw in the quarter-final, does this change the thinking going into the game?

Definitely not! As much as it’s a fantastic incentive being rewarded with a home tie, we all know we have a last sixteen tie to get through first. None of us at the club are looking any further into the competition, nor are we under any illusions that Saturday’s fixture will be one of our toughest fixtures of the season to date

And finally, Wolves had a bizarre 10-5 home win on Tuesday night, are you expecting them to do anything different when they face Leighton?

Absolutely not, nothing different whatsoever, and with all due respect to them, why should they? The success they have already had & amount of goals that they have scored this season has been down to their way of playing, so why change it? With that said, with every strength comes a weakness and it is our job to ensure that our players continue to find a way to win games

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

FAV5R; Wolverhampton CFC v Leighton Town preview with Tappin & Smith

Saturday 3rd February 2018

Wolverhampton Sporting Community v Leighton Town

FA Vase 5th Round

Pride Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Leighton Town face their biggest game of their season to date with Saturday’s visit to unknown Wolverhampton Sporting CFC in the fifth round of the FA Vase, and a place in the quarter-finals beckoning for the winners. Although their hosts are technically a level below in the footballing pyramid, no one gets this far in this competition without having a very good squad. But Scott Reynolds men are fully expecting an onslaught at Pride Park and will need every inch of concentration if they are to reach the quarter-finals of an FA competition this season.

Wolverhampton currently sit in fourth place in their division, and have won sixteen of their nineteen league games to date, with just two defeats, and with their games in hand they have the potential to go streets ahead at the top of the division if they win the lot.

For a full list of their results click here: http://fulltime-league.thefa.com/DisplayTeam.do?selectednavpage1=All&navPageNumber1=1&selectednavpage2=1&navPageNumber2=1&teamID=7086413&divisionseason=792745330

Leighton go into the game on a run of nine straight wins, eight league games in a row plus the last round of the Vase, thirteen wins out of their last fifteen league games, nineteen wins out of their last twenty-three games overall, just two defeats in their last twenty-one league games, the stats go on and on. But with cup competitions recent form goes out the window, especially when two teams are playing each other from different leagues. A fascinating tie lies ahead, with a huge reward for one of these teams……

 

Ahead of the tie, Sports Shots caught up with Town midfielder Carl Tappin and striker Lorrell Smith, and asked Carl how much the squad are looking forward to the game:

The squad really are looking forward to this game, we have been focusing on the long run of league games we’ve had in January and taken those one at a time, but now they are out of the way we turn our attention to the FA Vase. It’s a great occasion for the club and for the players, and hopefully we can get one step closer to winning some silverware

Carl Tappin

Lorrell explained what Town have been looking at ahead of the game:

I know the staff at the club have been working very hard to get as much information about their squad and style of play over the past few weeks, and I think they have enough now to give us some idea. As much as that helps, I think our main focus is on us as a team, and how me must be at our best on Saturday. We collectively believe on our day we can beat anyone

The pacy front man also believes his side are not there to make up the numbers:

We’ve come this far so why not? I genuinely believe we can go all the way in this competition

We quizzed Carl on the difficulty of concentrating on league games with this cup game in the background:

It’s not been difficult at all, the gaffer, coaches and all the players all share the same ambition, which is to get promoted and that wouldn’t be possible if we weren’t focused during the league games. We had a target of six league wins in January and that’s exactly what we achieved

Lorrell also looked back at the current sequence of nine straight wins:

Hard work comes first, and the desire to win. I believe that’s what has got us in this position, nine straight wins and we’ll be going for the tenth on Saturday

Carl agreed:

We have now established a way of winning at any cost, and that all comes down to hard work, grit & determination from the lads. We all work for, and with each other, and we’ve now made a habit of scoring goals at crucial times during games. We all know how to play our formation & have a strong squad who all play their part, and we know that whoever is playing they can all do their job and that fills all the players with huge amounts of confidence

We asked Lorrell where he feels Leighton need to be on their game on Saturday:

I think overall as a team defensively we need to make as few mistakes as we possibly can and do the right things the best we can. But at the same time, we need to score more than we concede, so our strikers including myself need to do their jobs, with our creative players like Alex O’Brien and Carl Tappin being in form to give us our chances

Lorrell Smith

Carl compared life at Leighton to his previous clubs, having previously played Southern League with Banbury United and Hellenic Premier with Ardley United:

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been part of three professional set ups at Banbury, Ardley and now Leighton, however I feel here that there are a lot more experienced players in the side. Usually the teams I’ve played in have been quite young & inexperienced but that is definitely not the case here. The youngers players have all played their fair share of games as well at this sort of level and this heightened level of experience in the squad has been reflected in our positive results

Finally, we asked Carl how he felt his season has gone so far:

It started off quite slowly for me personally as I had an ankle problem which caused me a few concerns, but since that cleared up I seem to have picked up in form and have played most games and have been playing well. I’ve developed a good understanding of how to fulfil my role in the team and stick to doing simple things well, and it’s working for me

And Lorrell has one goal in mind:

Since coming back from injury my personal target is simply to continue scoring goals, and establish myself as a name in this league and the aim is to achieve promotion

Sports Shots would like to thank both Carl & Lorrell for their time this week.

SSMLP; Leighton Town 3-2 Crawley Green

Leighton Town – 3

Crawley Green – 2

Leighton Town continued their incredible recent run on Saturday with a dogged win over Crawley Green, in conditions only seen on BBC re-runs of match of the day from the 1970’s. A heavily worn and muddied pitch made it impossible for either side to play their natural game, but it was Town who grabbed a late winner to secure the points, when the irreplaceable pace of front man Lorrell Smith saw him shirk off his marker before rounding keeper Dean Bull and winning the game for his side.

The win saw Scott Reynolds men stretch their winning run to seven consecutive league games, eight in all competition, with twelve victories out of their last fourteen league games. In their last twenty-two games overall, Town have won eighteen with just three defeats, and in the league, they have lost just twice in their last twenty games. This amazing run see’s Leighton sit third in the table, and firmly involved in a promotion battle. When was the last time Leighton Town won eight games in a row? Answers on a postcard please! When was the last time Bedfordshire could boast of two teams at the top of their respective leagues both with the same hashtag #LTFC?

New signing Bruno Brito

Credit to Crawley Green who gave their hosts a game for the second time inside ten days, again losing by just the odd goal to again frustrate The Reds. Their position in the lower echelons of the division is surely just a glitch as they again showed they have the quality to be safe in this division. Better conditions and a little more luck would possibly have seen them gain something more from their two games against their Bedfordshire neighbours, but Leighton are flying at the moment and with that success comes wins, goals and players wanting to join a successful side.

Latest recruit Bruno Brito helped his new team after coming on as a second half substitute, two narrow misses were followed with the pass that saw Smith away on goal and clinching the winner. The former Aylesbury United man joined last week after his release from The Ducks, to join up with former team mate Lea Coulter who has enjoyed a goal-den start to his Town career, notching six goals in his eight games since coming in.

Coulter pounced early on when a superb cross from Tom Silford found the front man and his header was saved by Crawley keeper Bull, however quickest to react Coulter fired home the loose ball. From there the home side enjoyed some good possession, but could not find the all-important second goal, and were made to pay on the half hour when Crawley equalised from the spot through Aarron Browne after a foul. But Town found some inspiration through James Hatch who fed Smith on the edge of the area, he in turn created some space and drove into the bottom corner to restore his sides lead going into the break.

The second half saw Crawley come back into the game and working the Leighton back line who were certainly busier than in the first half. Dave Murphy and Tom Guiney again showed their excellent working partnership marshalling the Town defence, and the occasional show of defiance from the Town woodwork also repelled anything Crawley threw at them. However, their increasing pressure paid off when Browne bagged his second of the afternoon with a fine left footed finish to bring the tie level once more.

Lorrell Smith on the attack

As the game wore on both sides had chances, Brito flashed two chances wide of Dean Bull despite the mud bath in the goal mouth, before his pass sent Smith away; beating his marker & advancing into the area, he rounded Bull to slot home from an acute angle and secure the win.

Leighton are due to play again Tuesday although the weather may well intervene, before the biggest game of the club’s season when they travel to Wolverhampton for their last sixteen tie in the FA Vase and try to build upon the six thousand pounds already gained in prize funds on their run to this point. F/T: 3-2

Attendance: 105

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

After the game Sports Shots caught up with Town manager Scott Reynolds: 

For photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskshtvez

 

Midweek football catch up; Aston Clinton, Leighton Town & Aylesbury United

With the weather wiping out most of last week-ends and this mid-weeks football action, we’ve had a little look into three of our clubs websites and social media pages to see what’s been happening this week.

Aston Clinton FC

Aston were posting images of the new 3G surface recently installed, and announced:

The Club’s new small tractor has arrived and already is being put to good use with the weekly maintenance of the newly opened 3G Surface.

The tractor was purchased out of club funds and will also be used to help the maintenance of the main pitch.

The 3G facility at Aston Park can be hired out at very reasonable rates

To find out more click here: http://www.astonclintonfc.co.uk/

 

Leighton Town FC

Leighton left it late on Saturday to seal a 2-1 win down at Edgware, and were on the winning trail again on Tuesday evening defeating Cockfosters FC by the same scoreline. James Hatch bagged a brace to seal Town’s seventh consecutive win and are firmly in the promotion race sitting in third place of the South Midlands Premier. Just six points separate the top four now, with Leighton still to play top placed Berkhamsted at home, and second place Welwyn Garden City both home & away, and with the FA Vase run still ongoing, Scott Reynolds squad are certainly flying high going into February.

South Midlands Premier table here: http://fulltime-league.thefa.com/Index.do?divisionseason=720645845&league=522238936

 

Aylesbury United FC

A week on since handing the full time managers job to Ben Williams, and Aylesbury United are flying in the Southern League Division One East. A win at Ashford Town in Middlesex on Tuesday evening made it four matches unbeaten for the Ducks, and four wins out of their last six.

A match report from Ashford is available here: http://www.aylesburyunitedfc.co.uk/match/2018-01-23/ashford-town-(mx)/away/

Match photography courtesy of the brilliant Mike Snell is here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aylesburyunited/sets/72157692585651875

And Ben Williams spoke to the Aylesbury United website here: http://www.aylesburyunitedfc.co.uk/news/?e=3755

 

 

SSMLP; Crawley Green 1-2 Leighton Town

Crawley Green – 1

Leighton Town – 2

Leighton Town climbed up to fourth place in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division table on Wednesday night, with a hard-earned win at Crawley Green. Despite going behind in the first half, Scott Reynolds men scored moments before and after half-time to take all three points, and should have really put the game to bed long before the final whistle confirmed the victory. The promotion battle is now wide open as several teams will all feel they have a chance, Leighton can catch top side Berkhamsted if they win their games in hand, Welwyn Garden City go clear at the top if they win their games in hand, Berko & Welwyn have both only lost a single league game each, & just five points separate third place to seventh.

A tentative start from both sides prevented any goal scoring opportunities until the twelfth minute when a long ball upfield saw Lea Coulter chase down for Leighton, whilst he got to the ball first under pressure, it simply would not bounce kindly and he ended up having to hurry his shot and could only tamely fire straight at Crawley keeper & skipper Dean Bull.

The home side thought they were in shortly after when Charlie Clayton burst through on goal only to be denied by a raised flag, before a Town free kick out on the right was floated into the box by Matt Hall but Bull was happy to warn his defence it was his ball and collect.

At the other end Crawley threatened with a couple of shots that Leighton players threw themselves at to block on the eighteen-yard line, before Nat Gentle-King thumped wide of Leighton keeper Tom Wyants’ left hand post. Crawley striker Joe Hankins was next to test Wyant, shooting from six-yards out but the visiting keeper simply stood strong to block the effort, and eventually cleared.

The hosts took the lead on twenty-four minutes when a simple long ball downfield saw Town defender James Towell struggle with the bounce out on the right, Hankins burst through to steal and head for goal before lobbing Wyant from the edge of the box.

James Hatch tried his luck from twenty-yards but never connected and simply rolled the ball back to Bull, before a Leighton throw saw Dom Marsala fed inside the Crawley box, he hit it first time trying to loop over Bull but again the ball found the waiting keepers gloves. Three minutes from time Marsala did score however an offside flag ruled the goal out.

James Hatch equalises

Crawley had a couple of shots blocked inside the Town box where again the red & white shirts were throwing themselves in front of the ball, refusing to be breached again, then on the stroke of half time the away side equalised. Moving the ball efficiently from their own penalty area to the other, the Leighton attack seemed to have been repelled however Coulter retrieved the ball out on the left flank, looking up he crossed perfectly in to the back post where ghosting in unmarked Hatch headed down and in. H/T: 1-1

A second minute free kick to Crawley after the break saw Clayton fire straight at Wyant, and just ninety seconds later the visitors took the lead when a Matt Hall cross from the left saw Coulter get between two defenders and head home from six-yards out giving Bull no chance.

Once Town had their noses in front they were looking for more, and with an early injury to keeper Dean Bull it looked impossible for Crawley not to concede more. Coulter threatened again on the right-hand side of the area, driving at goal he smashed into the side netting with the keeper struggling to get across.

Lea Coulter heads winner

On the hour mark Town midfielder Alex O’Brien launched an effort from twenty-yards which Bull had to push away using both hands and a defender was on hand to clear, and with the introduction of Lorrell Smith Leighton added some pace to their attack. He had a low drive smothered at the near post by Bull just moments after coming on.

Dom Marsala squared a pass into O’Brien who let fly high over the Crawley crossbar, then a simple ball straight through the heart of the home defensive back line saw Smith & Bull competing for the ball, the keeper just won the race thumping as far away as he could.

A Crawley free kick was then charged down by Carl Tappin deep inside their own half, he shot on sight of goal but high over the top, before substitute Tom Silford saw a shot from the corner of the box two-fisted away by Bull. With a couple of minutes remaining another good run from Silford down the left saw him square across the box and Smith was inches away from connecting, throwing himself at the ball but unable to connect.

There was a very late scare when the home side were awarded a free kick high up the pitch, but as Clayton sent the ball across the Town goalmouth and wide, gone was the chance to steal a late point. F/T: 1-1

Attendance: 58

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 Leighton manager Scott Reynolds: 

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

FA Vase; Leighton Town 5-2 Norwich CBS

Leighton Town – 5

Norwich CBS – 2

(After extra time: 2-2 after ninety minutes)

Leighton Town were a couple of minutes from being on the end of a cup shock on Saturday at Bell Close, needing a late equaliser to take the match into extra time. They then played the thirty added minutes against a side who were deflated; no surprise as their hard work for eighty-eight minutes looked to have been enough to take them into the final sixteen of the FA Vase, and a three-gaol salvo in eleven minutes in the first half of extra time saw Town progress. Norwich certainly showed their cup shock pedigree which has seen them eliminate four higher level clubs so far this season, and rocked Leighton with an early opener, and again by retaking the lead after the home side had levelled. But three second half substitutions by manager Scott Reynolds proved inspirational and changed the dynamic of the game, with Lorrell Smith coming on and bagging a brace to take his tally in this season’s competition to four.

Norwich took the game to their hosts from the start, asserting themselves to ensure Town did not get any rhythm going, and a third minute run down the right saw a fierce drive from Paul Cook saw home keeper Tom Wyant having to push over for a corner. The corner sent in low saw Leighton skipper Dave Murphy and Cook both meet the ball some three yards out but Cook got his foot on it first to divert home and send the supporters from Norfolk into raptures.

Cook opens the scoring

The home side almost replied immediately when a ball up to Lea Coulter got stuck in the mud, as everyone seemed to lose sight of the ball James Hatch stepped in to take control driving at goal, his low curling shot inches wide of Norwich keeper John Howes left hand post. Norwich continued to impress and had the majority of the play for the opening twenty minutes, but slowly Leighton got their game going, and a series of corners were defended brilliantly by the visiting side.

A header from Hatch in the thirty-third minute saw a clearance off the line, and a follow up shot blocked by another Norwich body as they put their bodies on the line. At this stage it really didn’t look as though Leighton were going to test Howes, but from the resulting corner the ball found Coulter at the back post totally unmarked and he had time to launch himself at the cross and power his header home to equalise.

A long range effort from Carl Tappin that easily cleared the crossbar was the closest either side came before the interval, and during the break CBS were forced to reshuffle when goal scorer Cook was forced off injured. H/T: 1-1

The first chance of the second period fell to Norwich, where out on the right substitute Stephen Drake smashed at goal but well wide. Straight up the other end Lewis McBride was given some freedom to explore the eighteen yard line but his shot flew a yard wide, before a cross from Coulter found Hatch on the penalty spot but his header was straight at Howes who gathered under his own crossbar.

McBride took the game into extra time

Then on sixty-one minutes the Norfolk side stunned their hosts when they retook the lead, a ball down the right saw Matt Doyle in behind and despite heavy pressure from a covering defender and Wyant coming out to narrow the angle, Doyle brilliantly knocked the ball inbetween the two Town players and into the unguarded net.

Leighton piled on the pressure looking for another equaliser; Alex O’Brien thumped a free kick into Howes gloves from just outside the area, and a cross from McBride found substitute Dom Marsala at the back post who headed back across goal looking for Coulter but Howes was on it in a flash.

McBride had another mazy run down the left, beating two men he crossed to Hatch who could only head wide, and with five minutes left full back James Towell was sent away down the Town right to drive at goal, his stinging shot was brilliantly turned away for a corner by Howes. The corner swung in and was flicked on & Lorrell Smith headed over. It looked as though Leighton were exiting the competition!

With two minutes left McBride sent the Bedfordshire faithful into raptures with the goal to level the tie once more. A throw to Leighton saw a couple of flicks on and at the back post McBride leapt to stroke the ball home and leave the Norwich defence floored. The remaining few minutes saw the home side throw everything at their guests, but they stood resolute to force extra time. F/T: 2-2

Four minutes into added time saw Leighton take the lead for the first time in the game, when Lorrell Smith received the ball on the corner of the Norwich box, within a split second he’d turned a marker pushed the ball forward and then slotted past Howes and in. The celebration by the Leighton players said it all, as the striker was piled on by most of his team mates.

Norwich were now down to ten men when substitute Dean Mortimer was himself forced off with injury and with all three substitutes made CBS were down to ten men, which Leighton capitalised on. Two minutes after taking the lead Town sealed the game when Smith again received the ball out on the left and simply ran at goal, no serious challenge came in and he slotted home from ten yards out.

Leighton celebrate taking the lead

Moments later Marsala almost got on the scoresheet, a cross from the left found the Leighton man in the middle unmarked where he had time to take a touch before flashing a shot across Howes and the ball bounced off the base of the post and out for a goal kick.

On the stroke of the extra time half time whistle Tappin did get a fifth for the home side, Hatch crossed from the left and as the ball travelled across the box no one seemed to want to make contact until Tappin thumped home from twelve yards.

Leighton saw out the second half of extra time comfortably, Norwich were on their knees by this stage, rocked by the first fifteen minutes of extra time, and with a body less were never going to match the fitness of the Town side. A late free kick was blazed high & wide by CBS defender Lewis Johnson, the only notable chance of the second period for either side. F/T: 5-2

Attendance: 260

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 Leighton manager Scott Reynolds: 

For full match photography, click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskA2kA2p