LEIGHTON TOWN 2 BEACONSFIELD SYCOB 3
The proverbial game of two halves saw SYCOB return home from Beds with three points that at half time hardly seemed possible. Two inspired substitutions and a determined last 20 minutes saw The Rams turn probable defeat into sweet victory and left their hosts totally deflated.
SYCOB started brightly enough, with Tom O' Regan hitting the woodwork in the very first minute but that was about as good as it got in the first 45 for The Rams as they struggled to cope with a poor pitch, high winds and a determined if limited Leighton side.
The home team took a deserved lead on 24 minutes when a one-two from a throw in caught The Rams defence napping and Bilal Hassan nipped in to plant the ball past James Reading. SYCOB almost levelled immediately when Ryan Phillips went close but in truth The Rams failed to muster an effort worthy of the name to trouble Reds keeper Matt Griggs.
The first fifteen minutes of the second half seemed to follow a similar pattern to the initial 45 as SYCOB struggled to get a foothold in the game though striker Kofi Lockhart-Adams did have an effort disallowed for offside on the 60 minutes mark. Shaun Owens was then introduced for Jon-Jo Bates and - after a good save form James Reading to keep The Rams in the game - manager Gary Meakins then replaced Lee Grant with Tom McGarry and hey presto the match swung SYCOB's way.
First they won a penalty in the 73rd minute (awarded by excellent referee Chris Williams) when Kofi was tripped in the box and up stepped Tom O' Regan to send Griggs the wrong way. Five minutes later the lively Owens nipped in between keeper and defence but his chip went just wide. He wasn't to be denied in the 86th minute, however, as he got on the end of a good move involving Reegs and Kofi to put The Rams ahead. A minute later it was 3-1 as Reegs played a one-two with Tom McCluskey and slotted the ball home.
Kofi did have a chance to score in the 88th minute but it was Leighton who finished the days scoring when they were awarded an injury time penalty - not quite sure what for - that was dispatched by Dom Marsala.
No-one at half time would have predicted the game would end up as it did. Credit to Meeks for the tactical changes and to the team for not letting a frustrating first half get them down. They are a very good footballing side when they want to be!
Come On You Rams!
1. James Reading
2. Lee Grant (Sub: Tom McGarry)
3. Craig Carby
4. Brad Hewitt (Captain)
5. Reece Yorke
6. Jordan Ajanlekoko
7. Tom O'Regan
8. Jon-Jo Bates (Sub: Shaun Owens)
9. Kofi Lockhart-Adams
10. James McCluskey
11. Ryan Phillips