Reds get the rub of the Green in FA Vase

James Hatch celebrates his opener. Pic: Jane Russell
James Hatch celebrates his opener. Pic: Jane Russell

Leighton Town will take on Burnham Ramblers in the first round of the FA Vase after a 2-0 win over Leverstock Green on Saturday.

Goals in each half, courtesy of James Hatch and Lorrell Smith, set Town up with a clash against Ramblers on October 21 as they seek to go on a run in search of silverware this season.

Town had lost just once in six games at Bell Close going into Saturday’s encounter, and and they never really looked in trouble against Leverstock Green on Saturday.

And it took them just 12 minutes to get their noses in front as Hatch rose highest to meet Leis McBride’s corner, powerfully heading past Caolan Doyle-Creamer.

It could have been 2-0 just minutes later, but Smith saw his clever backheel cleared off the line, before Hatch headed another effort wide.

It was proving to be one-way traffic, and Leighton really should have high and dry after 20 minutes when Alex O’Brien forced Doyle-Creamer into another fastastic save, before before Jakk Pursey tried curling into the top corner from 20 yards but a deflection took the ball out for a corner.

Green did have a half chance midway through the first period when a corner fizzed through the six-yard box but no-one managed to get on the end of it to trouble Leighton keeper Tom Wyant, who had been fairly quiet until then.

Town had another flurry of chances to extend their lead shortly before the interval, with both Dom Marsala and McBride causing the Leverstock defence troubles, but neither were able to find the net as the home side went in just a goal ahead.

But they needed just four second half minutes to ease their nerves as they doubled their advantage. Matt Hall did well down the left flank and whipped the ball across for Smith in the centre. With keeper Doyle-Creamer committed, Smith’s header sent him the wrong way to put Town 2-0 ahead.

Smith could have wrapped it up nicely shortly afterwards, but some brave keeping at the striker’s feet denied him the chance of bagging a brace.

He could have had a hat-trick on another afternoon, but for Doyle-Creamer, with chances coming his way thanks to the inventive Marsala, O’Brien and McBride.

While the visitors barely threatened during the course of the second half, there was cause for concern when McBride was involved in a nasty collision, but was able to limp off under his own strength - the popular wideman has missed much of the season already through injury and Town will be keen to have him back as soon as possible.

As the game went into the closing minutes O’Brien was released by an excellent pass from Luke Marsh but his ferocious strike took a deflection and screwed to safety just past the Leverstock post.

There was still time however, for Town keeper Wyant to show his speed out of his box to counter a dangerous through ball and to pull off a fine save from a Matt Bateman header in the last minute to ensure Leighton would progress with a clean sheet.

Town return to SSML Premier Division action this Saturday when they take on Edgware Town at Bell Close, kicking off at 3pm.