PICTURES BY ANDREW PARKER
After the ecstasy of scoring a 94th-minute equaliser in their Buildbase FA Vase game on Saturday, Leighton Town suffered the agony of defeat in the penalty shoot-out.
In their second round tie, hosts Newport Pagnell Town led with a 16th-minute strike.
But Ross Adams kept Leighton in the competition with a late leveller, taking the game to penalties, where the Willen Road side won in front of a big crowd, which had also seen the teams introduced to the mayors of both towns just before kick-off.
After the club’s excellent FA Vase runs in recent seasons reaching the quarter-final stages, hopes had been high for supporters to keep their Wembley hopes alive, but it wasn’t to be.
Manager Paul Bonham said: “Everyone is disappointed, especially for the travelling fans. It was a tough game, but we did expect that.
“We hadn’t played particularly well in the first half, struggling to get a hold of the game but going into the second half we created more chances.
“The late goal spurred us on, but penalties are always a bit of a lottery.
“Our travelling fans were amazing and we are disappointed that we couldn’t progress, but we wish Newport Pagnell all the best in the next round.
“The lads were disappointed on Saturday, but now our focus is on this week’s games.”
One positive was the return of Archie McClelland from long term injury off the bench, as he regains full match fitness.
And Connor Hunt, in goal, made some crucial first half saves, as well as two penalties.
Leighton had a chance to bounce back in the league tonight (Tuesday) when they hosted London Colney at Bell Close. Leon Lobjoit hit a brace on his Leighton debut. Luke Pyman also scored a wonderful goal on his Leighton return as well as one for Ashton Campbell. Going into the game Leighton were second in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division, just a point behind Risborough Rangers, while their visitors were 14th. The win lifted Leighton back into top spot, but they've now played five more games than Risborough.
It’s back on the silverware trail on Saturday with a trip to Division Two leaders Totternhoe in the Gladwish Challenge Trophy. The winners will visit Ampthill Town on Tuesday, December 14.
“It’s a local derby game away with Totternhoe so we are looking forward to that,” Bonham added.