Leighton Town 2 - Welwyn Garden City 2
By Andrew Parker
Leighton Town 2 - Welwyn Garden City 2
After losing their opening games Leighton started very brightly against Welwyn Garden City. From the off they were pressing the opposition and had a chance early on from a corner; Craig Maisiri swung it in it was cleared off the line and then Aaron McKee grabbed the seconds but his shot was over.
There were new faces in the squad no less than 6 changes from Tuesday’s defeat and one of them Victor Osubu made a silky run on the left wing and got to the by-line but the Welwyn defence did well to shield it out of play. Leighton were looking very lively in the first half and creating more chances than they had been previously Matt Bateman found himself 1-on-1 with the goalkeeper but his touch was a tad heavy and Jack Metcalfe claimed it just as Bateman was about to shoot.
Leighton looked the most likely team to score in the first half but the visitors from Hertfordshire also had chances, Jay Welsh took the corner for the visitors but Martin Standen’s header was off target.
Town then took the lead in the 22nd minute through some lovely play; the ball was played to Bateman at the edge of the box he turned and lobbed the ball over Metcalfe to play in an oncoming Ben Gallant who coolly slotted into the bottom corner.
It was a deserved lead from the hosts and there were perhaps calls for a Leighton penalty not long after as Bateman went down in the box and it was a 50/50 call but the ref said no. At the other end Ash Kersey went close for Welwyn from a free kick his header just glancing wide of the near post.
Kersey then scored with a powerful header after an inviting cross from Dave Parkinson but the referee blew for offside.
Leighton then went 2-0 on the 40th minute with a lovely free kick from Osubu. Gallant had been pushed just outside the box and Standen was booked for it, Osubu stepped up to take and lashed it into the top corner with a lovely strike, Metcalfe couldn’t get anywhere near it; not many keepers would’ve done.
The hosts were looking good from set-pieces and another good delivery from a free-kick reached James Hatch who headed it to Bateman his shot was over but Leighton’s movement in the box was positive.
By half time Leighton were the dominant side and looked good value for their 2-0 but in the second half Welwyn put more pressure on the Leighton defence. They nearly reduced their arrears when Josh Bronti found himself in on goal everyone in the Leighton defence were calling for offside and switched off his shot was well saved by Kirkwood he could only parry it to Danny Payne but he missed the empty net just.
Leighton were coping with the renewed Welwyn pressure but they got it back to 2-1 when they got a penalty. Parkinson was tripped in the box and Bronti sent Kirkwood the wrong way putting his shot in the bottom left corner. Welwyn nearly got it back to 2-2 when James Ewington played in Bronti and his shot was hit wayward from a good position.
The complexity of the game had changed completely Welywn Garden City were now the more dominant side and Joe Foley had the next chance but his strike was well wide and didn’t trouble Kirkwood.
However, Leighton looked dangerous on the counter attack; Craig Maisiri cleared it, it reached Osubu he ran and played in Gallant and his effort on goal was not far wide. Immediately at the other end though Welwyn Garden City attacked Ewington got into space in the Leighton box and squared it to Foley for a tap in on the 85th minute to get back on level terms.
Not content to settle for a point, Leighton tried to get back on the front foot straight away, Osubu drove at the Welwyn back line passed it to substitute Albie Hall then got the ball back and Osubu hit a shot that was inches wide of the post. Welwyn were also not content with a point and themselves wanted a winner and were very close to getting one a low cross came in neither Ewington nor Bronti could get anything on it otherwise it was a tap in to an empty net.
Both sides were pushing to the end and after Osubu got another free kick his low drive was well saved by Metcalfe and 2-2 it finished.
The match was a classic game of 2 halves and Leighton will be disappointed to get one point where they could’ve had 3 but the performance was much improved and collectively as an attacking unit a lot more chances were created.
Leighton are now off the mark in their league campaign with that point and are home on Tuesday to Hertford Town before their first away game next Saturday where they take on neighbours Tring Athletic.
Match Report by