Unite MK – 1
Leighton Town – 2
Leighton Town super sub James Hatch came off the bench and made an immediate impact on this game, making his presence felt inside the Unite goal mouth on more than one occasion followed by an assist for the first goal, scoring the second and also picking up a yellow card all in the space of a few minutes. Unite did fight back and level however it was Hatch’s late winner that sent the visitors into the semi-final of the Buckingham Senior Charity Cup to face the winners of Buckingham Athletic v Old Bradwell United.
The home side started the better of the two and went close just two minutes into the match, a corner swung in from their left was headed inches over by Ridge Essilfie. Another corner to the hosts was then cleared long by Matt Hall and Tom Bryant was on it in a flash, outpacing a defender he headed for goal before shooting from the edge of the box however Unite keeper Aaron Halai made a good block with his feet, following up was debutant Josh Crawley who was about to fire into the unguarded net but a last ditch block from a defender saw the ball cleared to safety.
Just past the quarter hour mark a cross from the Town left saw Crawley outjump his marker and his looping header had Halai scrambling backwards and pushing the ball onto his own crossbar before gathering at the second attempt. A free kick then to the visitors right on the corner flag saw the ball fizzed across the goal face and at the near post Crawley stuck out a boot but could only deflect wide.
Unite had a let off when a left wing cross was met in the middle by Aaron McKee but his first touch was too heavy allowing Halai to collect before any real danger materialised, before a good shooting opportunity arose on the corner of the box for Jakk Pursey but the ball bobbled as he struck which lifted it high over the top. Unite then had their best chance of the half to break the deadlock when Jakub Tomsik got away down their right and centred but right in front of goal Luke Little headed over. H/T: 0-0
An early second half corner to Leighton saw goalkeeper Halai collide with a defender and get tangled up with Matt Hall trying to clear, the ball landed to Alex Condon whose initial shot was blocked, he chased back to collect the ball before turning and angling a drive narrowly over the crossbar. Straight up the opposite end Craig Daubney tried his luck from distance but could only drive wide of Brad Kirkwood in the Town goal.
Tomsik then cut in from the left and had a shot blocked by Kirkwood, and at the other end a great cross from Tom Silford invited Bryant to head at goal however he just couldn’t climb high enough to make contact. McKee slipped a great ball through the Unite defence for Crawley to run on to but he screwed his effort wide, and just as it seemed this game would need penalties on came Hatch to turn the game.
With eighteen minutes left, and within sixty seconds of coming on Hatch flicked a header on along the eighteen yard line, Crawley squared to Silford who slipped the ball past the advancing Halai to give Leighton the lead. Moments later a cross from Pursey found Hatch in the middle, he turned to fire over his shoulder but straight into Halais’ waiting gloves, and from there Unite mounted the attack that saw them equalise. A free kick floated into the Town box saw a couple of deflections and a block before the loose ball fell to Tomsik some ten yards out and he absolutely smashed the ball home to level the tie.
Unite sensed a winner and a good run from Tomsik saw him drive across the Leighton box before unleashing a dipping shot that grazed the net as it went over. Then with five minutes left came the decider, a long goal kick from Kirkwood was allowed to bounce & the Unite defence didn’t seem in any danger, however Hatch chased the ball down and got in ahead of the defender as Halai came out, Hatch took the shot on which the keeper blocked but the ball rebounded off Hatch as he fell to the floor and with the net unguarded the ball rolled home. F/T: 1-2
After the game Sports Shots caught up with Leighton manager Scott Reynolds: