Superb Harpenden Town head into break after character-driven win over Leighton Town

Sean McMonagle scored the only goal on his Harpenden Town return after returning to the club from Colney Heath. Picture...

Sean McMonagle scored the only goal on his Harpenden Town return after returning to the club from Colney Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

The huge disappointment felt by many that grassroots football has been suspended for four weeks was evident by the big crowd for Harpenden Town’s game at home to Leighton Town – but those in attendance will certainly carry the memories of a fantastic performance from the home side into the next four weeks and beyond.

Harpeden Town goalkeeper Alex Desmond saved a penalty on a good evening for him and the team against Leighton Town.

Harpeden Town goalkeeper Alex Desmond saved a penalty on a good evening for him and the team against Leighton Town. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

In total there were 223 fans inside Rothamsted Park and they witnessed 10-men Harpenden snatch an at times inconceivable 1-0 win, Sean McMonagle with the goal midway through the second period on his return to the club after a spell with Colney Heath.

Sam Ruff had been sent off for Harps on 32 minutes, picking up a silly second yellow card less than 120 seconds after the first.

But the character shown, especially after the break, was enough to plant a huge grin on manager Micky Nathan’s face.

He said: “We knew it was going to be a tough test against a good Leighton side who came here with the bit between their teeth, unbeaten in five.

Harpenden Town manager Micky Nathan. Picture: DANNY LOO

Harpenden Town manager Micky Nathan. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO


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“To go down to 10 men with 15 minutes of the first half to go and keep a clean sheet, it shows what a great bunch we’ve got. They work tirelessly for each other.

“We said at half-time that if we can frustrate them and close the gaps, then they’ll look to go long.

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“And if we can keep a high line then our keeper will come out and scoop everything up.

“We’ve got players too who can get on the ball and play and even down to 10 men, the work rate and attitude was on another level.

Harpenden Town celebrate their goal in the 1-0 Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division win over Leighton Town at...

Harpenden Town celebrate their goal in the 1-0 Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division win over Leighton Town at Rothamsted Park. - Credit: Archant

“Credit to them, they thoroughly deserve it.”

Based on their positive play in the second half, together with that solid base, had some saying it was a deserved three points.

But they rode their luck at times, Leighton hitting the post, having two goals disallowed for offside, two more cleared off the line and even seeing a late penalty saved by Alex Desmond.

And the boss had praise for both the scorer and the chairman, who along with the committee managed to get the game on in the first place.

Nathan said: “We brought Sean back from Colney Heath, he scored six in eight for us last year and we know what he is about, so for him to get the winner is great.

“A lot of credit has to go to Roman, the chairman, for getting the game on in the first place.

“He was up here from 8am with the committee. It is an unbelievable effort.”

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