Leighton Town eagerly await FA Vase draw after dramatic win

Leighton vs Norwich CBS'Pic: Jane Russell
Leighton vs Norwich CBS'Pic: Jane Russell

Scott Reynolds doesn't mind who his Leighton Town side will face in the last 16 of the FA Vase after their dramatic 5-2 win over Norwich CBS on Saturday.

Town twice fell behind to Norwich at Bell Close, and looked to be heading out of the competition before Lewis McBride's sensational strike with three minutes remaining forcing the tie to extra time.

Leighton vs Norwich CBS'Pic: Jane Russell

Leighton vs Norwich CBS'Pic: Jane Russell

With the visitors tiring, Leighton ran riot, scoring three times in extra time to put their name into the hat for Monday's draw.

"I don't mind who we get," said Reynolds. "We fell behind twice to a team that have been in great form in this cup. We knew it would be tough, we kept coming back and sent it to extra time but we dominated extra time. We got the three goals to send us through. I'm delighted, it was first class from us.

"The fitness levels and never say die attitude from the boys is enough to give me belief we'd get an equaliser late on. Lewis McBride scored an absolute worldie, as he does week after week.

"Our substitutes made a huge difference. Dom Marsala hasn't been in the best of form of late, and he will be the first to admit that, but he is different class when he came on. Lorrell Smith likewise was ill last week and came on and scored twice, two great finishes.

Leighton vs Norwich CBS'Pic: Jane Russell

Leighton vs Norwich CBS'Pic: Jane Russell

"Norwich are a really decent side. We were quite happy to see Paul Cook come off, one of their better players, at half time, and another in Matt Doyle deep into the second half, but they worked hard, were tough to break down too. Full credit to them."

Both sides went into Saturday’s game in good form but it was the visitors who started strongly, taking the lead in the third minute, when Cook showed his power and strength to force home from close range following a Norwich CBS corner.

Leighton looked very shaky in the first period of the game and the visitor’s physicality appeared to be causing the home side some problems. In truth, the first half was a very scrappy affair with Leighton struggling to find their rhythm and their opponents looking dangerous at set pieces with their obvious height advantage.

As Leighton began to take control of the game in the later period of the first half they forced a series of corners and from Hall’s superb delivery, Coulter crashed a powerful header into the visitors net to bring Town level at half-time.

Leighton took control in the second half and enjoyed long periods of possession without really threatening Howes in the opposition goal. Leighton’s failure to score whilst on top was soon to prove costly as the prolific Doyle finished a Norwich counter attack with his customary poise, to leave Leighton with an uphill struggle.

The introduction of first Marsala and then later Smith provided Leighton with some much needed impetus. As Town’s dominance grew Marsala, Towell and Hatch all went close as Leighton piled on the pressure on the visitors goal.

With time running out and defeat looming it was left to the mercurial McBride to rescue Town, as his spectacular volley from just inside the box crashed into the Norwich CBS net to leave the visitors crest fallen.

Having lost arguably their two most influential players Cook and Doyle to injury, extra-time was to prove a hurdle too much for the gallant visitors. Leighton demonstrated a ruthlessness lacking in the previous 90 minutes as Smith finished two superb Leighton moves with great composure and then the industrious Tappin sealed the victory with a finish from close range, after excellent interplay between Smith and Hatch.

The draw for the next round takes place at midday on Monday.