Town miss out on promotion after Wembley draw
Leighton Town have missed out on promotion after a defeat and a draw this week ended their chances of a top two spot in SSML Premier Division.
Town were still in with a chance of snatching second spot from Berkhamsted, but a shock 1-0 defeat to bottom club Stotfold in their final home game of the season last Tuesday left them toiling, while a last-gasp effort from Tom Bryant rescued a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Wembley on Saturday.
The results leave Town seven points adrift of Berko, who nearly threw away a 3-0 lead against Edgware on Saturday, winning 3-2, with a game remaining.
Town could still finish as low as fifth in the division, but that would need Harpenden Town and Biggleswade FC to win their remaining fixtures, while Scott Reynolds’ side would need to lose away from home against champions Welwyn Garden City in their final game next Saturday.
Town’s focus though now switches to the Buckingham Senior Charity Cup, with the long-awaited first leg of the semi-final taking place tonight, Tuesday, against Buckingham Athletic.
At the beginning of the season, Reynolds earmarked silverware as a mark of a successful season, and his side will now look to secure the Cup, while holding on to third spot.
Town travelled to Wembley on Saturday knowing they would need to win and hope other results to go their way if they were to stay in the promotion hunt, irrespective of their result against the London side. And though Berkhamsted raced into a 3-0 first half lead against Edgware Town, the Reds did their bit too.
Tom Silford made a great run down the left for Town and Lorrell Smith headed cleverly home to open the scoring.
The lively Alex Witham for Wembley had two good efforts well saved by Town keeper Tom Wyant before Town doubled their lead just before the break.
Great work by Lorrell Smith set up Carl Tappin to strike sweetly home from just inside the box.
Wembley were a different , more positive side in the second half but Town could have and perhaps should have scored and wrapped up the game when Smith was put clean through by the industrious Alex O’Brien , but he failed to beat keeper Przemyslaw Mierzwa.
Wembley then had a golden period and got one back , but again Town failed to score when Lewis McBride set up O’Brien only to be denied by Mierzwa.
Buoyed by their own keeper’s sting of saves to keep them in it, Wembley fought back and peppered Wyant’s goal.
The Town stopper made several good saves as Town were under great pressure, but eventually that pressure told.
Disappointingly for Town though, Wembley not only equalised but then took the lead to set up a result which appeared unlikely at the half time interval.
However, with time almost up Town earned a corner on the right and the ball into the box was cracked home by sub Tom Bryant with his first touch.
The draw was fair result, but along with Berko’s 3-2 win, it meant Town’s hopes of a promotion spot were gone.