Late penalty earns Town a point

Leighton Town vs Barton Rovers
Leighton Town vs Barton Rovers

A last minute Danny Watson rescued a point for a threadbare Leighton Town side against Barton Rovers on Saturday.

Rovers led for most of the game, after Ben Sawyer fired them into a 26th minute lead, before Watson netted his 14th goal of the season in stoppage time to move Town up to 18th in Division 1 Central.

Town have enjoyed a decent run of form of late, with just one defeat in their last five league games.

And it remains tight in the middle of the table, with just six points separating Leighton in 18th and a place in the top 10.

With six regular first teamers missing for the visit of Barton, Craig Bicknell’s threadbare side was thrown another blow when Claude Senla hobbled off after just 13 minutes, replaced with Ash Farmer.

And the substitute was in the thick of the action straight away when he was picked out by Watson in the area, but his sliding effort went the wrong side of the upright.

Former Town player Bilal Hassan looked keen to get on the score sheet against his old club, but took the ball too far wide to get a decent shot away.

Mahmut Caglar also came close for the visitors with a 20th minute strike just wide, but it wasn’t long before they took the lead.

Leighton gave the ball away in midfield, and with the defence caught static, Sawyer was able to fire through Dan Green’s hands, putting Barton into the lead.

It looked like Leighton had equalised on the half hour mark when Farmer’s cross found Watson, who put home, but the referee blew his whistle, pulling play back after the assistant adjudged the ball to have gone out of play.

Bicknell’s injury woes continued when Paul Lyon had to leave the field after just 36 minutes, forcing the manager into a second unforced change of the half, replacing him with Aaron Morgan.

Green kept Leighton in the match five minutes before the break, denying the visitors a second with a fine stop, before Chris Crook bravely blocked a follow-up effort to keep the score 1-0 at the break.

Barton almost did the hard work for Leighton early in the second half, when Morgan’s cross picked out Michael Lyon, only for Barton head to reach it first and head it goalwards, only for it to go just wide.

Leighton upped the pressure as they sought out an equaliser, forcing Barton keeper Kyle Forster into a succession of saves to keep the home side at bay.

Phil Draycott’s frustrations got the better of him when he received a yellow card in the 66th minute for kicking the ball away.

Only moments later Dave Murphy headed the ball against the cross bar and then headed it straight into Forster’s hands as Leighton grew ever-more desperate for the equaliser.

A poor clearance by Murphy saw Sawyer come close to scoring again but his shot hit the side netting.

Draycott hit a super strike in the 82nd minute but it fell wide.

With five minutes remaining, the game swung from one end to the other. Sawyer hit the post and then received a yellow card for a bad tackle on Murphy.

Watson saw a shot skim the top of the crossbar in the dying moments, but he would be afforded one more chance, deep into stoppage time.

Alex Condon was shown his second yellow when he brought down Alvin Rajaram in the area, and Watson made no mistakes in smashing home the equaliser to ensure a share of the points would remain at Bell Close.

Town are in action again on Tuesday night as they host Biggleswade United in the Bedfordshire FA Senior Challenge Cup on Tuesday.