Town keep chances of survival alive

Leighton celebrate scoring against Beaconsfield. Pic: Philip Duffy
Leighton celebrate scoring against Beaconsfield. Pic: Philip Duffy

Leighton Town kept their survival chances alive with an unlikely 2-0 win over Beaconsfield on Saturday to move within a point of safety again.

Survival instincts have had to kick in fast after Stuart Murray’s side lost to fellow strugglers Aylesbury United on Wednesday, going down 2-1 in a battle to avoid the Evo Stik Division 1 Central drop.

But first half goals from Ben Gallant and Aaron McKee made sure Town would remain in the fight, moving back to within a point of Aylesbury with 10 games to go, including a vital clash with bottom club North Greenford United this week.

Following their defeat at Aylesbury United in midweek not many Leighton fans would have given their team much hope of taking anything from this game but Town showed a lot of determination and character in the fight to avoid relegation.

Town were missing Jordan Jenkins who was unavailable for this game but Craig Maisiri and Ibrahim Kallon were chosen together in central defence and Town fielded probably their youngest ever back four at this level. Bradley Kirkwood returned in goal after a 3 match absence

On a cold day and with a dry pitch making things difficult for both sides, the game started slowly as both teams tried to find some tempo to their game .

The hosts were having most of the possession as Town often gave the ball away and they had a couple of chances but neither was taken and in truth Kirkwood was relatively untroubled in the Town goal.

But somewhat against the run of play, Leighton finally broke the deadlock nine minutes before the half time interval.

The recalled David Brown beat two opponents inside the box and fired in a diagonal shot which keeper Sam Bunting could only parry and the alert Ben Gallant was on hand to slide a low left footed shot into the net.

Town would have been happy to take the single goal lead in at half time but in the first minute of added time a cross from the right was headed out by the home defence as far as Gallant who laid it to Aaron McKee who fired a fierce 20 yarder high into the net despite the best efforts of Bunting.

This was only the second time this season that Town have held a two goal lead but their fans were more than happy with the score at this stage.

Beaconsfield started the second half at a higher tempo and Town were forced to defend as the host also continued to have the greater share of possession again.

Although they looked the better side at this stage the home side still never posed much threat to the Town goal and it was not until the 80th minute that Kirkwood had to make his first serious save.

Just after this he was troubled when a shot bounced just in front of him but he recovered quickly before anyone could get to the loose ball.

In the 85th minute Town went close to increasing their lead when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, Kerran Birch curled a great dead ball shot towards the top corner but Bunting made a magnificent save when he dived across his goal and turned the ball round the post for a corner.

It made up for the disappointing defeat to Aylesbury United in midweek.

Town trailed after 17 minutes to a lively United side, with Bruno Brita firing them ahead.

Town thought they’d done enough for a point when Jordan Jenkins levelled with eight minutes to go, only for Sam Wyer to score even later to ensure the Ducks took all three points.