A second half penalty was enough to keep Hale Leys United’s 100 per cent winning record intact as they edged to victory over The 61FC (Luton) in South Midlands League Division Two on Saturday.
Sitting a massive 18 points clear at the top of the table going into the game, Hale were without star man and professional boxer Nathan Graham, who had a fight the next day, but welcomed back Steven Garbutt while Sean Coles was named on the bench.
The home side began well and went close through Riccardo Whittle, who headed narrowly wide, before both Daniel Parsons and Alex Woodfine threatened.
The 61FC troubled Hale at times, however, as they frustrated the home side with a string of corners, but Hale’s defence, led by the towering Marcus Hussey, and goalkeeper Ashley Jenkins, who was impressive all afternoon, kept the visitors at bay.
Both teams were left to rue missed chances at half-time and United continued to look lethargic in the second half, but eventually they raised their game before making the crucial breakthrough on 68 minutes when Woodfine converted from the spot after Parsons had been hacked down in the penalty area.
That goal proved to be the winner as Hale extended their lead to 20 points.
Manager Paul Alleyne said afterwards: “We did not play our football today. The team dropped their levels and looked very flat. We only made two changes to the line-up and that shouldn’t have affected the performance.
“We did get the points though so credit where credit’s due and 15 wins out of 15 is good at any level of football.
“Today Man of the match has to go to goalkeeper Ashley Jenkins, who kept another clean sheet and was solid again. He has only let in eight goals in 15 games this season.
“We have a tough few fixtures ahead and these teams will raise their game when they play us. Coming up we have Aston, Grendon and this Saturday we play Clean Slate so we will work hard in training to prepare.”