Gorleston – 2
Leighton Town – 4
Leighton Town’s adventure in this seasons FA Vase continues after this pulsating cup tie saw them progress, although they were forced to dig deep after being pulled back level despite being two goals to the good at half time. The home side came out for the second period a different side to that of the first, and rocked Scott Reynolds’ side with two quick fire goals to level the tie and at that stage looked likely to go on and win the tie however the visitor’s showed they have some character by withstanding the pressure and regrouping before going on to score two more and secure their place in the competition going into 2018.
Leighton were dominant from the early stages, an eighth minute free kick from Alex O’Brien took a deflection off the Gorleston defensive wall and for a moment looked to have wrong footed keeper Taurean Molloy but the spin on the ball took it wide, and a corner shortly after saw a flick on from O’Brien almost tee up Tom Guiney at the back post however a defender got a flick which changed the direction of the ball and the chance was gone.
A half clearance allowed Dom Marsala to shoot from the edge of the box but he screwed wide, before Lewis McBride took a chance from distance but again off target. Whilst Town had the possession neither keeper had too much to do until the twenty-eight minute when a cross found the head of Tom Silford which forced Molloy into a save away to his right.
Drew Mitten got away down the left and squared to Marsala inside the six-yard box but Molloy was quick to come out and dive at the feet of the Leighton captain, and there was a great chance for the home side when a simple ball over the top saw Joel Watts in behind and with plenty of grass to advance at goal, approaching the eighteen-yard line the wide man opted to shoot and got it all wrong and fired wide.
A long clearance from Leighton then saw Mitten set in and his shot brushed the side netting as it flew wide, and it seemed a goal was a long way from coming. But three minutes from the break the deadlock was broken when a Molloy goal kick was sent back into his own half for Silford to chase down, and before any challenge could come in he smashed the ball home giving the keeper no chance.
Two minutes later it got even better for the boys from Bedfordshire and again Silford was heavily involved, released down the left wing he got the better of his marker to square the ball across the box, initially it looked to have been behind all the red shirts but lurking at the back McBride had time to take a touch before firing through a crowded area and into the bottom corner. H/T: 0-2
Gorleston emerged for the second half and made it clear that they were not going to roll over and allow their guests the time they’d enjoyed in the opening forty-five, and looked a changed team as their drive and determination showed from the off.
Ten minutes into the half they pulled a goal back somewhat fortuitously when Watts received the ball out on the left, the Leighton defence pushed him out wide and it looked a standard cross but it eluded everyone including the Town number one Tom Wyant and nestled inside the far post. The home support now had something to cheer and the Green Army were urging their team on.
Within four minutes the scores were level, Watts sent a diagonal cross into the path of Peter Lambert who made no mistake firing into the bottom corner. Now the home side had their tails well and truly up and piled on the pressure but credit to Leighton who didn’t buckle.
A corner was half cleared by Guiney but a follow up header was looped up over everyone and was going in until some superb defending from Matt Hall saw him hook the ball off the goal line and away to safety. As the home side looked to make the most of their pressure, they were rocked when Leighton fought back and retook the lead on sixty-eight minutes.
A corner was swung in and blocked by a defender however Silford was on hand to toe poke in the loose ball and restore his sides lead. Now it was Leightons turn to put the pressure on and a three prong attack saw Mitten, Marsala and Silford all have shots blocked or saved inside the Gorleston box.
With eleven minutes left came the goal of the game to kill off the home side, a ball knocked through for James Hatch to chase saw Molloy come to the edge of his area to block, as he knocked it away the ball invitingly rolled out to McBride who chipped the ball over the stranded keeper and inside the back post from twenty-five yards out.
There was a late chance for Jackson Ramm to pull a goal back for Gorleston when he was sent clear down their right but he opted to power his shot at Bryant’s near post giving Bryant a regulatory save, and Town substitute Tegana James had the final chance of the game when fed in by McBride but he fired straight at Molloy. Leighton now look forward to the fourth round draw on Monday.
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