Leighton Town – 2
Leverstock Green – 0
Leighton Town progressed to the first round proper of the FA Vase on Saturday at the expense of Leverstock Green, who had their keeper Caolan Doyle-Creamer to thank for several fine saves during the game to keep their hosts at bay. Town go into the hat on Monday for the first round proper draw; the game to take place on the twenty-first of October, and will again be hoping for a home draw at Bell Close where they have only lost one of their six games so far this season. With the FA Vase draws regionalised until the fourth round, a home draw could prove crucial with so many good local clubs still involved in the competition.
Leighton showed just one change from last Saturday with Lewis McBride returning to the side for the first time this season after injury, and Leverstock were almost forced into an early change when a fourth minute free kick to Town was met at the front post by a clatter of heads and Green skipper Shane Woods went down, with immediate help from the bench called for. Despite a stretcher being called, Woods had some lengthy treatment and eventually returned to the action.
Leverstock had the first chance on nine minutes when a cross from the left was just a little too high and in the middle Matt Bateman just couldn’t get enough on the ball and looped his header over Tom Wyant’s crossbar. Leighton then took the lead three minutes later when a corner swung in from their right was met with a thumping header from James Hatch ten yards out, giving keeper and defender on the goal line no chance whatsoever.
Another cross from the Town right saw Lorrell Smith try a clever back heel towards goal which was blocked on the line and cleared, the ball then swung back in and Hatch headed wide. Alex O’Brien forced Doyle-Creamer into a flying save tipping over when shooting from the edge of the box, before Jakk Pursey tried curling into the top corner from twenty yards out but a slight deflection took the ball out for a corner.
The visitors should have made more of a corner on twenty-two minutes, the ball fizzed across the six-yard box and with numerous red and green shirts trying to attack the ball no-one managed to get anything on it and somehow it rolled away to safety. The game then calmed down for a period, where crosses and attempted through balls were comfortable for both keepers to gather.
But just before the break Leighton had a flurry of attempts again & threatened when a McBride shot was saved by the keeper, and following up Dom Marsala thumped a shot at goal that came back off a defender and eventually cleared. A free kick then swung in was met by Pursey who couldn’t quite get over the ball and headed over. Town skipper Marsala then got in down the right, his cross was blocked by a defender and the loose ball pounced on by O’Brien whose saved was brilliantly saved by Doyle-Creamer. H/T: 1-0
Four minutes after the re-start Leighton doubled their lead when Matt Hall did well getting down the left and his cross was met in front of goal by Smith and Greens defender Curtis Bird and with Doyle-Creamer committed one way the ball rolled in the opposite corner. Smith then had two successive balls played through for him to run onto and both times the Leverstock keeper denied him brilliantly diving at the striker’s feet.
A Leverstock attack then saw a block in the Leighton box and following up Brima Johnson curled over the top from close range. Straight up the other end Smith fed in O’Brien and from just inside the box his shot was blocked by the outstretched boot of Bird. Town right back Dave Murphy then stretched his legs down the right wing, his cross met at the near post by Smith and his slight deflection rolled agonisingly across the goal face and wide.
A Dom Marsala cross after some good build up play then eluded everyone in the middle, where there were more red shirts than green, before Leverstock attacked through Mason Tunbridge who evaded a couple of challenges before flashing his shot across goal and wide. Leighton continued to move the ball well through midfield, and with just over fifteen minutes left were again denied by Doyle-Creamer when he advanced from his goal to throw himself in front of a Smith effort and block.
O’Brien fed in Smith behind the Greens backline, and his shot again saved by the determined Leverstock keeper, before Marsala and O’Brien combined down the right to set in substitute James Towell who from the corner of the eighteen yard box rifled a shot over the bar. The home side thought they had a third with minutes remaining when Hatch sent a long ball downfield for Smith to chase, with two defenders on him he got two shots away, the first saved and the second blocked and as the ball looked to be rolling towards the unguarded net Doyle-Creamer recovered to gather.
There was still time for an Alex O’Brien fierce drive to be diverted for a corner, before a superb crossfield pass from Tunbridge found his Green team mate Luke Preedy on the right touchline, he ran in on goal and Leighton keeper Tom Wyant came out to dive bravely at his feet to ensure his sides route to the next round was with a clean sheet. F/T: 2-0
After the game Leighton manager Scott Reynolds spoke to Sports Shots:
For match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm5Nme38