Leighton Town 0 - Hertford Town 3
By Andrew Parker
Leighton Town 0 - Hertford Town 3
Leighton Town earned a good point on Saturday but tonight’s game against Hertford Town was a completely different ball game. Tipped by many to go up this year the visitors from Hertfordshire showed why they had earned that tag with a strong start to the season as they faced a young Leighton Town side.
The visitors started brightly and had earned a corner within the first minute when Anthony Leslie tackled Tyler Hatherly. It was a good delivery from Hertford and headed out for a second corner but Town cleared their lines well in the end. The wind was in Hertford’s sails and when they won a dangerous free kick on the edge of Leighton’s box Ollie Sharman’s header was narrowly glanced wide.
Hertford were dangerous through crosses into the box this time Hatherly crossed to Ben Andreos but again his header was just wide and the danger signs were perhaps there for the hosts. To counter act this then Leighton then started attacking themselves and were it not for a heavy touch Lolu Onabolu would’ve found himself one on one with the Hertford keeper Jayden Purdue.
Both sides were trying to make the most of crosses into the box but when Aaron McKee swung one in for Victor Osubu Purdue came off his line like a shot to claim it.
Hertford took the lead in the 9th minute Hatherly crossed in but it was only miscleared as far as Ricky Light who smashed into an empty net and it was a good strike midway through the box. Leighton were then pushing for the equaliser and weren’t too far away when McKee put in a peach of a cross meant for Onabolu but the ‘keeper was more than equal to it.
Light; not content with just the one goal attacked the Leighton box again in space but Craig Maisiri was there to pressure him into scuffing his shot. The striker was trying but his next shot was well wide. Hatherly then crossed it in to Andreos his toe poke came off the post.
Leighton started to improve; McKee played in a lovely cross to Olly Cole but he’s just off balance to really challenge the ‘keeper with his header. Leighton had just started to put on some pressure towards the end of the first half and were aggrieved not to get a penalty after Onabolu went down in the box. It was a tough call but the ref didn’t give it, however you’ve seen them given rightly or wrongly this one wasn’t.
By the time the second half started Hertford were in the lead deservedly and picked up where they left off. Adam Murad this time with a hard low cross into the box that hit the side netting.
Hertford then doubled their lead in the 63rd minute from a Craig Maisiri own goal. Hertford had a throw in on the far side and launched it into the box, the Leighton defence couldn’t quite adapt to it Andreos crossed it in and it came off Maisiri and into the back of the net. Leighton then made two quick substitutions to then counter this- firstly Mitch Hamilton came on for Jack Copson and then Albie Hall came on for Dom Morgillo.
Despite being up against a much more experienced side Leighton never gave up and Victor Osubu was unlucky not to find himself through on goal after making a brilliant run into the box skilling 2 defenders on the way past. There were some good movement from Leighton at times as well; Onabolu played in Cole who crossed to Osubu but the ball was cleared from his feet just as he was readying to turn and shoot.
However Hertford were lurking to show more intent again and Hatherly made another significant run on the far side and then hit a venomous shot low and hard but it just skimmed past the post.
Hertford finished up things in stoppage time in the second half, Substitute Bartlett was tussling with Maisiri there was some contact and hands over each other in the box and the ref gave Hertford the chance to wrap things up with a penalty. Hatherly stepped up to take it and made no mistake sending Kirkwood the wrong way and slotting home into the bottom right corner.
3-0 was the final score and it will be disappointing from a Leighton Town perspective but it was an extremely strong and professional performance from the visitors Hertford against a young side that needs time to gel, the chemistry is not quite there yet but it'll get there with time. Leighton travel to neighbours Tring on Saturday before returning to Bell Close a week later for the visit of Hadley.