PICTURES FROM LEIGHTON TOWN v HADLEY GAME BY ANDREW PARKER
Leighton Town’s big game with fellow promotion hopefuls Hadley on Saturday ended in a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Bell Close.
“It was a bad day at the office for us,” said manager Paul Bonham.
“Credit to Hadley, they were a good side and on reflection fully deserved their win. We didn’t play as well as we could and should have done.
“And with a large crowd of just under 400 it’s disappointing to lose, but when you don’t put in a good performance it hurts more.”
There were plenty of positives from the game though, with Ethan Flanagan outstanding in defence.
“Mention too to Joe Fitzgerald and George Kerr, who’s just turned 17 and we’ve thrown him in at the deep end, but he did very well in centre midfield, competing in what was a top of the table clash,” Bonham added.
Hadley scored early in both halves and the result keeps them in third place in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division, on 50 points, with two games in hand over Leighton in fourth on 45.
Risborough Rangers are still top on 54 points with games in hand over all those in the chasing group, with New Salamis second on 52 points.
Tonight (Tuesday) Leighton make the short trip to Milton Keynes Irish, who are 12th in the table, with Saturday’s hosts Baldock Town down in 18th.
“The derby game is going to be extremely tough,” added the Town manager. “MK Irish are on a good run but it’s a game we have to win.
“Although Baldock are at the other end of the table they have a new management team which always gives teams an energy surge, so that will be another tough fixture.”
But there was plenty for supporters to smile about last Tuesday, as Town’s Bedfordshire Senior Cup penalty shoot-out win over Kempston Rovers has earned them a home tie against Luton Town in the next round, on February 15.
It was 0-0 at half time at Hillgrounds Road, before the Southern League Division One Central side went ahead in the 58th minute.
But Leighton levelled within five minutes thanks to a Dave Parkinson penalty after Ashton Campbell was brought down.
The visitors soon went 2-1 up after James Towell calmly finished from Parkinson’s cross into the box.
Rovers equalised in the 75th minute so at 2-2 after 90 minutes the cup tie went straight to being decided on penalties, which Town edged.
“It was fantastic for the players, competing against a team from the league above and we’re looking forward to the home tie with Luton Town,” added Bonham.