Blues 3 Staines Town 1
Bullard brace helps the Blues to first win of 2016
Two goals from skipper Tom Bullard helped the Blues to their first win of 2016 against Staines Town in a match sponsored by HOLMES PLANT & CONSTRUCTION. Richard Wilkins' side had to come from behind and with ten men following a straight red card for defender Seb Dunbar before seeing off nineteenth placed Staines Town. Wilkins gave a first start to Lloyd Clarke who gave a solid performance on the right side of midfield. The hosts started lively and almost crafted a fourth minute goal attacking the Fairground End. Christy Finch raced clear, skipping around Turner in the Staines goal wide on the left hand side of the box and as he waited for options his pass to Gareth Heath saw the midfielder side foot his effort wide. A minute later Gareth Heath was involved again, collecting the ball wide on the left he cut inside Gough and his dipping cross drifted onto the bar and away to safety. Leiston were tearing into the visitors with Gareth Heath instrumental in the opening exchanges, his eighth minute cross finding Lloyd Clarke whose side footed effort was inches away from a dream debut goal. But for all their early enterprise the Blues were undone on 13 minutes totally against the run of play. There seemed little danger initially when Macdonald launched a long clearance up field but M'bengui twisted and turned wide on the right to hold off the challenge of Tom Bullard before firing an effort across Alex Rossis and into the net off the far post. Stunned by the goal Leiston resumed on the offensive and some tremendous defending kept Turner's goal in tact with Kelsey Trotter denied by a clearance off the line. Half way through the half Christy Finch joined Gareth Heath in striking the woodwork, his cross from the right eluding Turner but striking the top of the bar. The game had now opened up and on the half hour mark Wanadio was inches away from doubling Staines Town advantage, his shot agonisingly wide with Tom Bullard's challenge just putting Wanadio off at the vital time. As an entertaining half drew to a close Christy Finch was close to a leveller, his faint touch to a Billy Clark corner rolling across the face of goal and inches wide.
HT - Blues 0 Staines Town 1
What Leiston needed upon the resumption was to continue their pressure and force an early goal and seven minutes in they duly gained their reward. Billy Clark's left wing corner was partially cleared and the ball sat up nicely for Tom Bullard to smash a half volley high into the net from twelve yards. The home side now had their tails up but just after the hour mark they were reduced to ten men, Seb Dunbar receiving a straight red card for what the Referee deemed was a reckless challenge. Two minutes after the hosts went down to ten men Bennett sent a stinging drive just over Alex Rossis' bar. But with twenty minutes remaining Leiston turned the game on its head with two goals in 40 seconds. Danny Cunningham was fouled just inside the left touchline and Billy Clark delivered a free kick that skipper Tom Bullard met with the sweetest of a left foot volley to put the Blues ahead. Seconds later Christy Finch threaded a pass through to Gareth Heath who strode forward before angling a shot true into the bottom corner. The fight back was complete and the final quarter of an hour or so saw a handful of substitutions and yellow cards as a first win of the New Year was finally achieved by the Blues.
FT - Blues 3 Staines Town 1
Blues - Rossis, Saker, Dunbar, Trotter, Jefford, Bullard, Cunningham (Winter 80 mins), Heath, Clarke (Brothers 61 mins), Finch (Taylor 81 mins), Clark. Subs not used - Francis and Spurling.
Staines Town - Turner, Gough (Felix 66 mins), Bennett, Brewer, Macdonald, O'Cearuill, Wanadio, Boakye, Cox, M'bengui (Campbell 76 mins), Kalu (Vancooten 69 mins). Subs not used - Churchill and McAllister.
Match Sponsors Holmes Plant and Construction Man of the Match - Tom Bullard
Attendance - 134