Leighton Town need better game management, says manager Reynolds

Town boss Scott Reynolds
Town boss Scott Reynolds

Leighton Town boss Scott Reynolds says his side need to get over their shaky starts to games if they are to start climbing the table.

Reynolds felt poor first halves against Tring Town and Sun Sports resulted in both defeats.

But stringing together two solid halves against Oxhey Jets on Saturday saw the Reds come out 3-1 winners to climb to 18th in SSML Premier Division.

“The last two games, which we lost, we were really good for 45 minutes and not good enough for the other 45,” said Reynolds.

“And it has been the first half we haven’t been very good, but we’ve been able to get around the players at half time, give them some encouragement and had good second halves.

“Unfortunately, having poor first halves cost us in both games.”

“This week, we put the two 45 minute packages together. If we can do that regularly, teams won’t be able to deal with us. We’ve proved that and put in a proper performance.”

Ben Gallant opened the scoring after 14 minutes for Leighton on Saturday as they began to make amends against Oxhey, tapping in Lorrel Smith’s cross.

Smith was extremely unlucky not to make it 2-0 to Leighton with some fantastic movement to get himself into a shooting position, he did everything right but over hit his effort just over the bar.

Town doubled their lead on the 35th minute through Dom Marsala with a neat finish on the far side as he drilled one into the bottom corner and the keeper couldn’t get anywhere near it.

Reynolds was disappointed in the manner Town conceded just before half time, blaming poor game management as Oxhey gave themselves a lifeline just before the break.

The Leighton defence switched off allowing Simeon Armstrong rounded Jack Sillitoe and finished into an empty net.

Reynolds said: “It was a really soft goal to concede. Two minutes before half time we were telling them to manage the game and see it through to half time, but we conceded.

“We started the second half well though, so we dealt with conceding much better.

“We will concede goals, but it’s about our reaction to that which is most important, and we’ve really improved in that matter.”

Smith was at the heart of most of the Leighton attacks, and was unlucky not to have had a goal yet, he was bearing in on goal but keeper Will Barker got out quickly to deny him.

They had to wait for the third goal though, and it came from in-form striker Lorrel Smith. Marsala picked a brilliant pass for Lewis McBride, who in turn picked out Gallant with his cross, but while his shot was blocked, Smith was on hand to smash home the rebound to continue his fine goal-scoring form in a Leighton shirt.

“We scored three good goals, and scored at good times,” said the manager as his side climbed to 18th in the table.

“We took the lead fairly early, doubled our lead midway through the first half and got a third towards the end to kill the game off.

“Lorrel got another, and I think that’s eight in 10 since I signed him, while Ben is back from injury and Dom scored two in four from midfield.

“It’s really good to see different scorers, but also Lorrel’s form going.”

There is no time to dwell on their result though, with a visit from sixth-place Wembley to Bell Close on Tuesday night.

Reynolds added: “We need to perform for 90 minutes. If we can do what we did (against Oxhey) we’ll beat them, and if we can’t, we don’t - it’s as simple as that.

“We might even need to be better against Wembley, so it will be interesting to see how well they travel from London on a Tuesday night. We go into it with confidence.”

Kick off is at 7:45pm.