Development Team Back To Winning Ways At Bell Close
By Andrew Parker
Leighton were glad to be back at Bell Close, last weeks humbling away defeat had been put to one side and an important fixture awaited players and staff.
The attitude of the home team had been positive throughout the week and especially in their determined pre match warm up and preparation.
Leighton were keen to start the game well, especially since they had started so poorly in the reverse fixture only a few weeks ago.
This they achieved by immediately playing on the front foot and by pushing the visitors back, it was not exactly free flowing football but the opening exchanges were seeing the home team coming out on top.
As opposed to recent games Leighton were able to build pressure on the opposition by being defensively solid with Paolo Bagatti outstanding and his partner Nick Walton equally determined to do well.
Despite being on top, Leighton were not carving out too many scoring opportunities, this was reflective of a team still trying to find its best rhythm and struggling to finish moves with a flourish.
This being said, there was no lack of attacking intent, Leighton were glad to welcome back Kuda Butawo and Dominic Owen was his usual waspish self, fed by the classy prompting of Joe Korge in midfield.
Half time arrived with both teams reasonably happy, Leighton to have put last week behind them and Harpenden with a hardworking display of defiance.
The second half began in a similar vein to the first but the first goal was imminent and it was claimed by the visitors in astonishing fashion with a ferocious long range shot that beat the excellent George Zammit in goal.
Now the game was being played at pace and in an open, expressive style by both teams, the visitors sensed that a second goal could clinch it for them whilst Leighton had introduced Charlie Green who sparked great belief in their ability to fight back.
A combination of Stuart Till, Nathan Beck and Christian Mander kept the visitors at bay and this enabled Leighton to grab the equaliser their efforts deserved, George Oliver soared through the air to launch himself across stranded defenders to plant the ball in the opposition net.
The game was now in the balance but the momentum was with the home team and Sonny Devine showed his versatility by successfully providing the link between midfield and attack.
Desperate defending led to a free kick being conceded on the edge of the Harpenden area, a beautiful free kick was delightfully flicked into the top corner by the impressive Andy McGlinchey.
Leighton finally had their noses in front, the prize of a home victory was within their grasp but only if they maintained concentration and discipline, Harpenden had no intention of giving up so the fight was going to be fought till the end.
The visitors pushed for parity but Leighton defended well and kept them at bay, there was some territorial pressure but the home team proved equal to it and were pleased to hear the final whistle signal their success and the reward of 3 points.
Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.