Vital point helps Leighton’s fight for survival

Leighton Town vs Hanwell. Pic: Phil Duffy
Leighton Town vs Hanwell. Pic: Phil Duffy

Leighton Town put their midweek humiliation behind them to take a point against Hanwell to pull themselves back into the battle for survival.

Town were thrashed 6-0 on Tuesday night by Royston, but the vital 1-1 draw on Saturday means they draw level with Aylesbury United above them, but trail by a single goal on goal difference.

Leighton Town vs Hanwell. Pic: Phil Duffy

Leighton Town vs Hanwell. Pic: Phil Duffy

Hanwell are by no means safe in Evo Stick Division 1 Central, and with Town fighting for their lives too, it was an understandably nervous start to the game at Bell Close.

The first real chance of the game fell to Hanwell in the fifth minute and they scored from it.

Bradley Simmonds found himself in space on the right wing and just outside the box curled one into the net.

Leighton responded well to this set back and should’ve equalised minutes later after a Jordan Jenkins free kick reached James Hatch in the six-yard box, he tried to square it to Ben Gallant but he couldn’t quite reach it.

Neither team was clinical in the final third and lacked the killer pass as Curtis Shaw tried to play in Gallant but Hanwell cleared their lines well.

Fortunately for Leighton when Hanwell tried to break through Simeon Armstrong he was just offside as he was in space.

It was Armstrong who was involved again for Hanwell but he couldn’t reach Ryan Egan’s cross.

Hanwell defended deeply at times, and when Alkali Darboe played in Lewis McBride, his shot was blocked by a defender.

Hanwell were putting good crosses into the box and after Egan couldn’t get to Callum Duffy’s cross, it reached Oliver Duffy and his shot was deflected wide.

By half-time Hanwell were good value for their lead but Leighton were by no means out of it. They had had the better of the possession but struggled to make chances.

The second half began and Leighton were shooting more first from Hatch and then from Shaw but neither really troubled Martin Herdman in the Hanwell goal. Despite this Hanwell should’ve gone ahead just moments later as Simmonds, Danilson Vicente and Armstrong all broke free; however Simmonds’ touch was too heavy and Kirkwood done really well to claim it.

This woke Leighton up who equalised in the 49th minute through skipper Gallant. A half chance was cleared and Gallant tried to reach it he just about got there ahead of the defender and turned and shot into the bottom corner and Herdman had no chance as he saw it late and it was a good finish from the captain.

Leighton were pressing a lot more after the goal and were constantly in the Hanwell half but Hanwell were still creating chances of themselves as substitute Tom Hunt’s pot shot went well wide.

The hosts themselves were still creating chances themselves with Joe Nyama and Gallant both shooting from range but not troubling Herdman.

Hanwell had thought they had scored when Simmonds broke free and slotted past Kirkwood but the ref had already blown his whistle for a foul and Leighton got a free-kick.

It felt like one goal would be enough to settle the tie and Josh Murray the Leighton substitute was in space but he slipped as he shot and didn’t trouble the keeper. The draw was stark contrast to Town’s midweek humiliation at the hands of Royston.

Although flying high in the table, Royston were given an easy ride on Tuesday night as they stuck six past the hapless Leighton side.

Tommy Hull fired the home side into the lead after 12 minutes, and things got harder for Town as Maxwell Ibeto was sent off 15 minutes later, giving away a penalty in the process.

Bradley Kirkwood saved the spot kick as Town held on until half time, but the second half was one way traffic.

Simon Thomas made up for his penalty miss two minutes after half time, but didn’t take Royston’s second penalty, which was converted by Scott Bridges.

Town gave away a third penalty after 65 minutes, which Gus Scott-Morris converted before Thomas netted his second to make it 5-0.

The icing was put on the cake when Erkan Okay netted Royston’s sixth, compounding the misery on Leighton.