Manager Paul Bonham reminds his players ‘if you can’t win games, don’t lose them’ and Leighton Town heeded his advice on Saturday, earning a point against Harpenden Town.
Leighton drew 1-1 with a goal just after the hour by Luke Pyman, taking advantage of a goalkeeping error after a cross by Ross Adams
Their fifth-placed hosts had taken the lead in the 27th-minute.
“It was a case of ‘if you can’t win it, don’t lose it,’” Bonham explained. “The first half wasn’t a bad half for us, but we struggled with their shape a bit.
“The second half we did really well. A couple of changes made an immediate impact and we fully deserved the equaliser. I thought we created the better chances in the second half.
“We are approaching every game to win, even away from home, so the players were slightly disappointed afterwards that we didn’t come away with the three points.
“But on reflection I don’t think we played well enough to win, but fully deserved the point.”
Bonham praised their 19-year-old scorer Pyman.
“He was outstanding in midfield,” said the manager.
“He scored one and probably should have had two but couldn’t quite finish. His workrate was fantastic in the game and he played really well.”
Leighton stay third in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division on 56 points from 29 games, with leaders Risborough Rangers, who beat London Colney 5-0 on Tuesday evening, back at the top on 67 points from 26 games. New Salamis are second on 66 points from their 28 outings.
Hadley, with 55 points from 26 games, are fourth.
“The teams around us who played all won at the weekend, so all we can do is concentrate on us and trying to win every game,” said Bonham.
“We know other teams have games in hand so that’s why it’s so important we don’t lose games and try and pick up a point to keep us in the chasing pack.
“The players are still working tremendously hard as a group, putting in a shift in training and games so we can finish as high as possible.”
Leighton are at Bell Close this weekend, hosting 16th-placed Tring Athletic, who beat Aylesbury Vale Dynamos 4-1 last Tuesday.
“Tring are coming in with a lot of form,” said Bonham.
“They also drew 2-2 with New Salamis in earlier in February and beat Hadley 2-1.
“Ryan Sturges is doing a great job there and they are going to come to us looking to go away with three points.
“It’ll be one of those games whoever thinks they deserve the three points is going to win. That’s why it’s so important we don’t switch off. If we don’t turn up against teams like Tring who are desperately fighting for points then we are going to lose.”
Leighton did, however lose their midweek Dudley Latham Premier Division Cup game to Ardley United, going down 3-2 and finishing the game with eight players after red cards for Ethan Flanagan and for Tom Bryant, after a second yellow, and a late sin binning for Sonny Newbury-Barr.
“Tuesday was a disappointing night,” reflected Bonham.
“It gave us an opportunity to rotate the squad, as did Ardley who rested four or five players from when we played them before, but both teams were very strong.
“We set out a game plan to soak up the pressure and catch them on the break, which we did and were 2-0 up in 40 minutes.”
Brian Foulger and Jervon Campbell were the scorers.
“Then we had a mad 60 seconds and switched off, they scored a wonderful goal and then equalised, so instead of going in 2-0 up, it was 2-2, which completely changes how we go out for the second half.
“I was really disappointed, the squad showed some indiscipline, which is not acceptable at any level,” he added.
“The players know themselves they should have dealt with certain situations better.
“Ultimately it ended up costing us the game, which is very frustrating.”
Ardley went through to the next round with a 67th-minute winner.