A David Brown hat-trick helped Leighton Town keep their survival chances alive with a remarkable 4-2 win over Northwood on Saturday, but remain a point adrift of safety.
While Aylesbury United appear to have turned a corner recently, winning four of their last five to drag themselves further from danger, Hanwell have replaced them on the brink on the drop zone.
And Town, having picked up eight points from a possible 15, are just a point behind the Geordies.
Saturday’s win over Northwood will give Leighton huge confidence in the remaining three games of the season, especially given their start.
It took just eight minutes for Town to take the lead. Skipper Ben Gallant and James Hatch combined to play a ball through for David Brown who ran on to the pass and coolly slotted the ball past the advancing keeper to give Town an early lead and boost their confidence.
And it was 2-0 four minutes later when the Northwood keeper tried to play the ball to one of his defenders but misplaced his pass and Brown was quickly onto the loose ball and calmly passed into the net.
Things got even better for the visitors on the half hour mark when Brown completed his hat-trick, flicking the ball past the keeper to make it 3-0.
Northwood were not giving the game up and in the 33rd minute Bradley Kirkwood produced a top quality save to deny the hosts a first goal.
Leighton returned to the attack in the 41st minute when Ben Gallant fed the ball through for Lewis McBride but the midfielder who had a great chance to score a fourth for Leighton was denied by a good save by Laurencin in the Northwood goal.
Leighton’s habit of conceding goals soon after the half time break continued in this game when Stephenson took advantage after Leighton made a mess of clearing their lines.
Northwood looked a much better side in the second half and whatever their Manager said at half time certainly produced a response from his team.
Leighton had to defend in depth at times but still looked dangerous on the break and in the 70th minute Hatch ran onto a through pass with the hosts appealing for offside but the Town striker sent his left footed effort wide of the far post.
A few minutes later Northwood gained a free kick in a dangerous position but eventually shot over the bar to relieve the pressure.
The hosts were not to be denied however and two minutes later after two long balls which were poorly defended by Leighton, substitute Hastings ran onto the loose ball and cleverly lifted it over Kirkwood to reduce the arrears to a single goal.
While it could have resulted a nervous finale for Town, they used that energy to restore their two-goal lead and wrap up the game.
With four minutes to go, Lewis McBride raced into the penalty area, but was cut down by the Northwood defence.
Gallant stepped up to take the penalty but it was brilliantly saved by Laurencin. Fortunately for Town though, Alkali Darboe was on hand to play it back across to Gallant who converted at the second opportunity to wrap up the three points.
It rounded out a solid week for Stuart Murray’s side after they picked up another point at home to Uxbridge on Tuesday night.
Both sides were playing some decent football, with chances going begging at either end.
It looked as though things were heading towards a goal-less half time interval, but Darboe had other ideas, sweeping in Gallant’s low cross two minutes before the break to give Town the lead.
Their advantage was wiped out almost immediately after the game restarted though. Uxbridge started the second half fast, and Reece Grant made no mistakes in slotting the ball past Bradley Kirkwood in the Leighton net to equalise after 46 minutes.
Uxbridge had only the post to stop them going ahead after a low cross reached Luke Heneghan but he was always stretching and he couldn’t convert.
While Leighton held on in the second period, it turned out to be a vital point.
Town play bottom club North Greenford on Saturday at Bell Close.