Leighton Move back to Third
By Nick Marshall
A 4-3 victory over West Hampstead sees Leighton move back up the table.
After a heavy defeat the previous week to Tring, Leighton needed a strong performance to keep any chance of promotion this season alive. As the game started, Leighton looked to apply the pressure and a quick turnover in possession gave Leighton control of the game early. Several opportunities were created around the West Hampstead D but these were unable to be convert these into goals. As the half grew on, the visitors also grew in confidence and from deadball situations were able to find a free-man and utilise this space. Strong composed defending from Tony Puttock helped to minimalise this threat. Leighton soon took the upper hand when Matt Franklin deflected the ball high into the goal from a Tommi Lakins strike at a short corner. As the half came to a close it would be Lakins to give Leighton a two goal cushion heading into the break. His pressure on the West Hampstead backline payed off; when the ball was turned over and after releasing the ball to Jack Gorton
, was able to make his way to the penalty spot for the return pass and an open net to knock the ball into.
During the second half, Leighton showed the lapses in concentration that has plagued them this half of the season. A bobbing ball made its way into the Leighton D and unable to deal with this effectively resulted in West Hampstead gaining one goal back. Hampstead's second and equalising goal, came from a reverse strike from the top the D beating Leighton Keeper Dan Metcalfe, high at his right post. Needing to pick their heads up Leighton went back to work, keeping possession of the ball and exploiting the slow Hampstead backline. Josh Farnfield was the man to bring the lead back to Leighton when he was found unmarked by Lakins in the D, slotting the ball into the goal comfortably. Leighton soon went back to two goals up when Player of the Match Dave Fry was able to deflect the ball into the goal from a Gorton slap at the top of the D from a short corner. With the clock ticking down West Hampstead were able to claw a goal back. Loose marking enabled Hampstead to find their free man in the D and a first time slap clipped off the shin of a Leighton defender and sneaked into the bottom corner. With West Hampstead now pushing for an equaliser Leighton had to play smart and keep of the ball to run the clock down and this series of possession resulted in a short corner, which they were unable to convert, but more importantly brought the final whistle and three points.