In the return fixture, Crawley Green ran out 2-0 winners, back in August.
Leighton made 2 changes to the team that lost to Potton on Tuesday. Kyle Faulkner came in for Ben Gallant and Paolo Baggati was recalled, for Brian Foulger.
The game got underway on a lovely, artificial surface, as both teams went in search of 3 points.
The Dirty Clarets had the early opportunities, with Jake Alderson hitting a low drive towards the Town’s goal, however Charlie Jones denied him with an outstretched leg.
20 minutes into the tie, the Town could’ve been awarded a penalty. A header back across goal struck the arm of a Crawley Green defender, however the referee waved play on.
Despite the penalty claim, the Town were struggling to muster up any real chances, Matt Hall fired wide of the mark on one occasion and Aaron McKee also tried his luck from distance.
Then, just before the half-an-hour mark, Crawley Green opened the scoring. Great work by Alderson on the right hand side, allowed him to deliver an inviting low cross into the ‘corridor of uncertainty’ and there was Joshua Williams to turn home, to give the Dirty Clarets a 1-0 lead.
The Town looked to get on the front foot straight away, Carl Resch driving out of defence on one occasion and firing from range, only to be denied by goalkeeper Joshua Mollison, with a fantastic save.
Leighton were then dealt a second blow. Matt Brady had to come off, injured, so on came George Dentice.
With only 5 minutes to go until half time, it looked like the Town would go in just the one goal down.
That would not be the case, when the ball fell kindly for Captain, Aaron Morgan, and he fired across goal from the edge of the area into the bottom right corner. 2-0.
Leighton wouldn’t even go in at just 2 down, it would be 3.
Aaron Morgan hit another effort from distance, however this time Jones got hands to it, but couldn’t prevent it from entering his goal.
At Half Time, the Town now had a mountain to climb and a comeback didn’t seem likely, with hardly a chance being created in the opening half.
The Second Half got underway in similar fashion to the first, with Crawley Green having the early chances. Joshua Williams cut inside Paolo Baggati, but couldn’t find the far corner, only Jones’ arms.
Jones then made 2 good saves in a matter of minutes, to deny Crawley Green the chance to extend their score line.
The second half proved to be a very physical encounter and despite the brilliant playing surface, the Town couldn’t seem to play any football on it.
Leighton’s only real opportunities of the second half, were a couple of headers that were wide of the mark from Kyle Faulkner.
Paolo Baggati was then replaced by Michael Donkor.
With just under 15 minutes on the clock, there was still no sign of a clear cut chance let alone a goal. However, that changed when George Dentice curled in a strike past the goalkeeper at his near post, from just inside the area. A brilliant strike by the first half substitute.
Alfie Osborne then came on for Aaron McKee.
The game continued to play out in a physical fashion and the Town lose for the second time this season against Crawley Green.
A lacklustre performance from the Reds, who showed little quality in front of goal for the majority of the game.
Next up for the Town, is a trip to Arlesey, however, we will be playing Baldock at the New Lamb Meadow, not Arlesey, Baldock ground share with them. This is on Saturday the 29th of December.
We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy spending some time with family and friends.
Thank you for your support once again and we hope to see you after the festivities, on the 29th.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
Match report by Kieran Carvell