Leighton Town relegated after Chalfont defeat

Leighton Town (Pic Andrew Parker)
Leighton Town (Pic Andrew Parker)

Leighton Town have been relegated after losing 4-2 to Chalfont St Peter on the final day of the season.

Stuart Murray’s side needed a victory over St Peter, while relying on Ware to beat Hanwell in order to beat the drop.

But Tom Inch’s goal on the hour mark for Hanwell meant Leighton’s result was irrelevant as they went on to win the game 1-0, sending Town down in 21st place.

Leighton had left themselves with a mountain to climb going in to the final day.

Earlier in the week, Town had two matches, both of which came against sides also at the wrong end of the Evo Stik Division 1 Central table but were only able to pick up one win.

Aylesbury United eased their relegation fears on Tuesday night when they left Bell Close with all three points after a 2-1 win.

But Leighton gave themselves a lifeline two days later when they beat already relegated North Greenford United 3-2 - only their fourth win at home all season - to set up the all or nothing tie at Chalfont St Peter on the final day.

The hosts started the better of the two sides as Anthony Mendy forced Brad Kirkwood into making an early save from close range which Kirkwood clawed out for a corner.

Mendy caused problems for the Town defence all game and nearly found himself in range to shoot again but James Hatch made a superb tackle to stop him in his tracks.

Whilst Leighton were being put under pressure in the first half from Chalfont the back five to a man were dealing with the pressure well and Kirkwood made a fantastic one on one save with Mendy when he looked certain to score.

After absorbing this spell of pressure Leighton were starting to push forward themselves and pressed the Chalfont back 5, Curtis Shaw was putting goalkeeper Garry Malone under pressure and nearly dispossessed him.

Chalfont should have gone ahead midway through the first half when Jack Mullan caught out Kirkwood, he squared it to Michael Murray, who hit the bar with the goal gaping.

Leighton finally made a breakthrough though when Dave Brown’s cross was met by Alkali Darboe who smashed it into the roof of the net.

The second half began with the hosts equalised on the 54th minute. A sublime ball was played into Lewis Ochoa by Remmel Clarke, it eventually reached Mullan who tucked it into the bottom corner from close range.

Leighton needed to get back in front to try and get out of the bottom two and were still creating chances as a Maxwell Ibeto cross to Darboe was punched away by Malone.

Substitute Kerran Birch also had a chance to get Town back in the lead but when he found himself in a decent shooting position, he scuffed his shot and it was cleared in the end.

Despite this it was Chalfont who took the lead in the 65th minute when a long ball unlocked the Leighton defence and Mendy latched on to it with a delightful chip over Kirkwood.

Chalfont went further ahead on the 78th minute when Ochoa found himself in space and unselfishly squared it to substitute Alex Paine who couldn’t miss and duly slotted past Kirkwood to ho 3-1 up.

Leighton didn’t give up and should have reduced their arrears to just one goal after a Lewis Mcbride free-kick; it reached James Hatch but his header was clawed away, it then reached Darboe but he was offside.

Leighton did get it back to 3-2 on the 89th minute as Ben Gallant crossed it into the net on the near side, whether he meant it or not; only he will know but it was a smart finish nonetheless.

Any chance of a late Leighton comeback was extinguished on the 90th minute as the Southern League Division One Central top-scorer Mendy chipped Kirkwood again for his second of the match and Chalfont’s fourth, consigning Leighton to defeat on the day and relegation overall.