Two late penalties end Leighton Town's Wembley dream
Another fantastic FA Vase run ends in last eight for third time in four years
PICTURES BY ANDREW PARKER
Leighton Town’s Wembley dream ended on Saturday when they were beaten 2-1 by Walsall Wood in the quarter-finals of the Buildbase FA Vase.
It was the third time in four years Town had reached the last eight in the competition and, although disappointed, joint manager Joe Sweeney can be proud of his squad for another fantastic run.
With the first half at Bell Close ending goalless, it wasn’t until the 66th minute that Leighton broke the deadlock with a strike by Archie McClelland.
It was the second time in as many weeks that McClelland was their only scorer, having hit the late winner in the last round, which put Leighton through against Cobham.
But Town just couldn’t capitalise on their advantage this time and agonisingly their Black Country visitors came back in the last ten minutes of the game with two penalties by sub Javia Roberts.
He equalised in the 77th minute and then secured Walsall Wood’s place in the semi-finals with an 88th-minute spot kick.
Leighton have had an excellent run since Covid restrictions were lifted and the competition resumed last month.
On April 17 they beat Walton & Hersham 2-1 in the fourth round and Cobham 1-0 in the fifth on April 24, to be just two games away from a place in the final at Wembley later this month.
It had been a long wait since their third round victory, a 4-2 result over Gorleston back on December 19 last year, just before the winter lockdown suspended all fixtures.
Last season, in March 2020, Leighton’s brilliant FA Vase run also ended in heartbreak at the quarter-final stage, when they were beaten 4-3 by a late goal at Corinthian, after progressing through seven rounds of the competition.