Ten men of Royston run riot at Bell Close as Leighton collapse

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Leighton Town bid farewell to Bell Close for another season on Saturday, but it wasn’t the send off they’d hope to give their fans.

Having already secured safety in Division 1 Central, it’s not just a matter of pride at stake for Town, as they aim to finish as high as possible.

But a 4-1 defeat to second place Royston Town, who incidentally had 10 men, was hardly the way Craig Bicknell’s side would have wanted to say goodbye to Bell Close for another season.

Town keeper Zaki Oualah picked up a calf injury as a goal-mouth scramble almost saw Royston poke their way ahead, but he battled through.

There was little he could do to prevent the visitors eventually taking the lead after 22 minutes though as Liam McDevitt headed home Steve Bridge’s free kick.

Royston were reduced to 10 men 12 minutes later though as Leighton were handed a lifeline back into the game. Danny Watson was put through on goal, but was brought down by Chris Watters, earning the defender a red card. Watson slotted home the penalty to equalise.

Despite playing against 10 men, Oualah remained the busier of the two keepers, doing well to keep Bridges at bay just before the break.

The two sides went in level at the interval.

But it was another set piece that undid Leighton as Royston retook the lead five minutes after the restart. Bridges again was on the set piece, this time picking out Gary Hart to head Royston 2-1 up.

Their third came barely two minutes later as Hart added his second of the game, rifling home an unstoppable shot past the shell-shocked Oualah.

And the icing was put on the cake when Town went 4-1 down courtesy of yet another set piece from Bridges, as he found Ryan Ingrey unmarked. Despite Oualah getting a hand to it, he could do nothing but pick it out of the net.

With the game dead and buried early on in the half, Town continued to push for pride if nothing else. Aaron Morgan had a chance to salvage something 10 minutes from the end but tried too much and eventually lost out.

Although disappointed to lose at home, Town must keep focussed on securing 18th in the league with two games remaining.