Manager reflects on fantastic night of Leighton Town beating Luton Town in Beds Senior Cup

An unforgettable night for everyone in Leighton Town

PHOTOS BY GLENN ALCOCK PHOTOGRAPHY

It was a night Leighton Town will never forget – they beat Sky Bet Championship side Luton Town to reach the semi-finals of the Beds Senior Cup.

Playing in difficult wet conditions at Bell Close, in front of an exceptional crowd of 868, the score was 0-0 at halftime.

Goalkeeper Connor Coulson and team celebrate victory over Young Hatters in the Beds Senior Cup

Luton’s youthful side took the lead in the 81st minute and it looked like Leighton was going out of contention until Luke Pyman scored in the first minute of added time after an error by the Hatters keeper. Remaining at 1-1 at the final whistle, the tie went directly to penalties.

The visitors missed two penalty kicks, so with the success of James Towell, Ashton Campbell, Luke Pyman and Ross Adams, the underdogs progressed to the next round 4-2, setting off scenes of big partying in the home side.

“It was a fantastic evening – and all the credit goes to the pitch staff and volunteers for getting the game started after all the rain,” manager Paul Bonham said.

“It was a brilliant night for the fans and everyone involved.”

Leighton Town players celebrate their penalty shootout win over Luton Town Photos by Glenn Alcock

Luton were a very young team with a few academics, but three of their players had made first-team appearances.

“We defended very well as a team in the first half and looking back we had two or three good chances and we could have won the game,” he said.

“In the second half we totally leveled them and their goal came when we went off defensively.

“But rather than give away the game and let them in for another, we really pitched for the last ten minutes and pinned them, with Luke Pyman popping up to score the last-minute equaliser.

“Penalties are always a lottery, but ours were clinical. We inflicted good penalties and we fully deserved to win in the general classification.

“With just under 900 fans at the game, there was a great atmosphere and scenes after we scored. You could feel the tension and everyone enjoyed it.

“It’s great to give back to all the volunteers and everyone who works at the club and it was a great distraction from the league. There was no pressure on us to enjoy it. Moments like this are rewards for all the hard work you’ve put in.

“Whoever we face in the semi-finals, we’ll be underdogs again, so we’ll just go out and enjoy it.”

Leighton were due to be back in the league in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division on Saturday, hosting Leverstock Green, but the match was postponed due to weather.

Tonight (Tuesday) Town have a trip to tenth-placed Ardley United in the Dudley Latham Memorial (Premier Division) Cup.

“It’s going to be a really tough game,” Bonham said. “But we’re getting close to winning, with an eye on Harpenden on Saturday.”

Town are still third in the table with 55 points from 28 games, behind New Salamis, who drew 1-1 with Harpenden at the weekend, the leaders on 63 after 27 and Risborough Rangers on 61 after played 24.

Hadley, fourth, has 52 of 25 games.

Harpenden, fifth, next league hosts Leighton, has 48 points after 28 outings.

“They are doing quite well at the moment and we expect the game to be another very tough test. But we go there with a lot of confidence to come away with the three points.

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