Berkhamsted. 3. - 0. Leighton Town
By Andrew Parker
Berkhamsted. 3. - 0. Leighton Town
After a difficult fixture at home to leaders London Colney last week, it didn’t get any easier for Leighton with a trip to 3rd place local rivals Berkhamsted. They lined up with former Red Matt Bateman while James Towell and Matt Hewitt had played for the Comrades in the past.
Berkhamsted started brightly and were on the attack from the off, an Ashton Campbell corner cross had to be cleared away for a corner which was eventually cleared.
His namesake Marcus Campbell had Leighton’s first opportunity of the afternoon soon after with a long ranged effort, although it never looked like flying into the top corner; it wasn’t far over.
Both sides struggled to create chances in the early exchanges of the game, the next effort was from Craig Maisiri, like M.Campbell he tried to finish from a long way out and harmlessly sailed wide.
However, Leighton’s next chance was the best of the game so far. It started with Maisiri making a cross-field ball to Martin Griggs who’s shot was palmed away for a corner. Lewis McBride took the resulting corner it was a lovely ball to skipper Mark Smith his header was cleared off the line.
Then it was the host’s turn to create a good chance; Alex Campana squared it to Bateman but from close range blazed it over the bar.
Leighton looked really up for it in the first half with some nice build up play between M.Campbell and McBride, McBride played it to Griggs his shot was blocked, it then came to Maisiri his finish was also blocked.
At times Leighton looked a bit nervy at the back and this was shown when the ball was given away, it came to Campana but he skewed his shot wide of the mark.
Despite this warning shot Leighton were still making inroads at the other end of the pitch, M.Campbell made a lovely run, put the ball across for McBride who laid off Griggs but Carl Tasker in the hosts goal made himself big to save Griggs shot.
After a late challenge by Alex Condon Dan Jones had a free kick that wasn’t far over the bar. However it was the hosts next chance that was the decisive one as they took the lead. Bateman got the ball and squared it to Jones to put the hosts ahead in the 40th minute.
It was perhaps harsh on Leighton who just about edged the game in the first half but things went from bad to worse for the visitors as the hosts went 2-0 up very early in the second half from Bateman. The former red got the ball inside the area and had time and space to turn and slot it past Jack Sillitoe.
Leighton despite being further behind were doing everything they could to get back into the game as Griggs played in M.Campbell but he blazed his shot over much like Bateman in the first half.
That being said, the hosts were trying to get further ahead and it was Bateman again at the heart of it. He found himself running at the Leighton goal but Sillitoe got out very well to claim the ball.
Leighton would’ve made it 2-1 were it not for the woodwork. Griggs renowned for his confidence to shoot anywhere on the pitch, was on the edge of the 18 yard box turned and struck and his effort hit the bar. Tasker got a touch for Leighton to have a corner that was headed over by Smith.
Later on the second half Griggs received the ball and tried the exact same manoeuvre turning and hitting it on the volley and again hit the crossbar and was yet again denied a spectacular goal.
With Leighton pushing bodies up the pitch to reduce the deficit, Berkhamsted could attack on the counter and A.Campbell made a great run up the other end but he could only hit the side netting. A.Campbell tried the same thing again with another counter attack but his touch was heavy this time and Sillitoe cleared well.
At the other end, Leighton had yet another chance cleared off the line, Maisiri took the corner it reached Condon who headed downwards but his chance was cleared off the line.
A.Campbell was still causing problems for Leighton’s back line though, when he was through on goal again he did everything right but score as he skewed his shot well over. He was presented with the same chance a few moments later and this time he didn’t miss slotting past Sillitoe to make it 3-0.
That proved to be the last effort and 3-0 it finished. Leighton played a lot better today than they did last week against London Colney and were extremely unlucky not to be rewarded for their efforts; hitting the bar twice and having 2 headers cleared off the line. However Leighton struggled defensively today, partly due to injuries in the squad. Going on today’s performance Leighton look on the verges of being a competitive squad in this division, if players coming back from injury can fulfil their potential. Leighton are away to Oxhey Jets in the League next Saturday before returning to Bell Close on the 15th of November at home to Hoddesdon Town in the League as well.
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