Scott Reynolds praised Lorrell Smith after the striker scored the only goal of the game against Burnham Ramblers on Saturday as Leighton Town booked their spot in the second round of the FA Vase.
Smith’s second half effort, which saw him round keeper Josh Strizovic, was enough to book Town a second round tie against London Lions next month.
Smith now has 10 goals in 15 appearances for the Reds this season, drawing praise from his manager.
“It was a great goal, and a matter of time of when he was going to score, rather than if,” said Reynolds afterwards.
“Lorrell stayed on the shoulder of the last man, showed great composure to take it around the keeper and finish it to see us win.
“It was another great performance from him after last week, and he carried that into this week.”
Blustery conditions made life difficult for Town at Leslie Field, Essex, especially in the first half as the wind blew into their faces. James Hatch and Dom Marsala both had decent chances to put Leighton ahead, as did Smith but his chance would come later in the day.
At the other end, Town keeper Tom Wyant wasn’t especially troubled by the home side, who should have done better with opportunities which fell their way.
Town eventually made the breakthrough midway through the second half though as Smith latched on to Carl Tappin’s pin-point ball through, rounding Strizovic to tap home a well-deserved opener.
The home side had chances to get back on level terms, but it was Leighton who should have gone on to score again, with Smith inches away from reaching Alex O’Brien’s cross, while Marsala squandered another good chance for the visitors.
Despite the missed chances though, Reynolds was pleased with his side’s performance.
“The conditions made it tough but in the second half we used the ball better,” he said. “We created numerous chances, and could have won it far more convincingly.
“But it was a really professional job defensively and we deserve our place in the next round.”
It was a long round-trip for Town, but they were joined on the coach journey to Essex by fans, who helped cheer them on against the Ramblers, and Reynolds said it helped them no end.
He said: “We’re trying, as a staff and players, to put the club back on the map. It only comes from hard work, commitment and time.
“I took over at a difficult time, steadied the ship and we stayed in the league.
“This season, our ambition was to push on and try and win something.
“With the support of the fans and the committee, I feel we can achieve something really good this year.
“So to have the extra bodies on the coach and in the ground cheering us on was great, and it was good to enjoy a day like this together.
“It is genuinely really appreciated by everyone.”