Newbury Come Out on Top in an End to End Game
By Nick Marshall
Leighton lose out in a frantic and thrilling battle at Vandyke.
This Saturday Leighton took on Newbury and Thatcham in what was a must win game for both teams. Coming off the back of three straight wins and sitting in second place, Leighton knew that three points would keep both Newbury and Aylesbury at bay heading into the Christmas break. The traveling Newbury side, were looking to jump back up the table after slipping to fourth from second due to back to back loses.
From the first whistle the tone was set for the game. Each team looked to move the ball and put pressure on their opponents, however it was Leighton who had the first opportunity to draw blood. A well worked piece of attacking play was upgraded to a short corner, unfortunately this couldn't be further upgraded to a goal. Not to be outdone, Newbury pushed Leighton hard and created several chances that were mopped up by the Leighton back line. Creative play from the home-side's Player of the Match, Josh Farnfield, was made difficult by the away-teams midfield, often placing three players on the midfielder, a tactic they would employ throughout the game. However, Farnfield still managed to find space and lay the ball off to Leighton forward and Captain, Jack Gorton
. As the half-time whistle was blew, the back and forth play of the game ceased and both sides headed for a well earned rest.
The second half started as the first ended. Leighton were able to keep hold of the ball well, but unable to make any real chances. Tom Billington
and Gorton came closest with their efforts, but not close enough to break the deadlock. Newbury on the other hand were able to attack with pace on each turn-over of play and a series of short corners were kept out by the Leighton defence and a 'do or die' sliding save by Buzzard keeper Dan Metcalfe, all contributed to keeping the score level. With ten minutes remaining neither side was ready to give their opponents any quarter, however a well worked short corner routine was deflected in at the back post and for the first time this season Leighton were not first team on the scoresheet. From here Leighton showed how they have matured. In previous games this would have knocked Leighton sideways, but this time they came out fighting. A panicking Newbury struggled to keep up with the passing and moving play of Leighton, but the killer goal instincts that had been so deadly the previous week were missing. As the clock ticked down another lightning quick attack by Newbury was converted into a short corner and a well worked routine cemented their lead and gifted them the three points.
Newbury now sit back in third place leaving Leighton to fall back to fourth and Aylesbury to jump up to second after their win against Henley. A win next week against local side Tring would push Leighton into third ahead of Newbury on goal difference and one point behind Aylesbury, but still nine from current league leaders Amersham and Chalfont.