Blues 1 Merstham 2
Blues slump to a fourth successive defeat
Leiston were beaten for the fourth consecutive game on Tuesday night following a 2-1 home defeat to Merstham in a MATCH SPONSORED BY JEWSON BUILDERS MERCHANTS. The Blues took the lead in the first half thanks to a Anton Douglas own goal but goals from Dean McDonald and Simon Cooper sealed the win for Merstham writes Ollie Fairs.
Leiston knew that if they were going to end their win-less run they would have to start the game well and get a fast start out of the blocks. They did just that as the game started off at a very high tempo with both teams looking to get forward from the first whistle. Leiston got the better start of the two sides and created some early chances, including an attempted volley from Matt Blake. The Blues got the breakthrough they wanted after 18 minutes, but it came thanks to some unusual circumstances. Joe Francis made a powerful run down the right wing before cutting the ball back to a waiting Byron Lawrence who’s shot was then blocked. The chance was not over however, as the ball fell back to the feet of Joe Francis who steered it back towards goal. Initially it appeared the keeper had made the save but after a mix up in the six yard box the ball ended up trickling over the line, the goal being given as an Anton Douglas own goal. Leiston continued to press after going ahead and had a several opportunities to increase their lead. Joe Francis headed the ball onto the post before the rebound fell to Byron Lawrence once again, but his shot was well blocked. Niko Muir-Merchant then came close to emulating Joe Francis’ earlier effort when he headed the ball onto the crossbar. However, it was the away side who would draw themselves level again on 31 minutes thanks to a wonder strike from Dean McDonald. McDonald picked the ball up in midfield and looked to carry it towards the box. Once on the edge of the box he used a magnificent bit of skill to get past the backtracking Jack Ainsley before curling his shot into the top left hand corner of the goal, seeing the two sides enter half time level.
Unlike the first half, the second half saw Merstham get off to the much better start. Just minutes into the half and Tom Kavanagh was free in the box but his shot was well stopped by Leiston keeper Jacob Marsden. No one could have predicted what would happen next. Referee Daniel Cook awarded Merstham what appeared to be a harmless free kick just over the half way line and before anyone could react Simon Cooper had spotted Jacob Marsden off his line so decided to lob the ball perfectly over the keeper’s head, seeing it creep in just under the crossbar. Suddenly, the Blues found themselves behind once again and it soon became clear that the missed chances earlier in the first half would soon come back to haunt them. For the remaining 30 minutes of the game Leiston looked to push forward to score an equaliser while Merstham began to sit back and defend their lead. Leiston created several half chances but every time they were able to get a shot away it was swiftly closed down or blocked by either a defender or goalkeeper. While luck was certainly not on the side of the Blues with every bounce seemingly going the way of the away side, the Blues lacked a real sense of urgency in the final third, allowing Merstham to sit back and get as many men behind the ball as possible before Leiston could really trouble them. Leiston did create a few chances to score but they never looked like getting the goal that they needed as Merstham held on to the one goal lead for the remainder of the game.
FT - Blues 1 Merstham 2
Blues - Marsden, Hutchings, Dunbar, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence (Cole 71 mins), Heath (Brothers 45 mins), Blake, Muir-Merchant, Francis (Hubble 66 mins). Subs not used - Brown and Lay-Fulcher.
Merstham - Smith, Cooper, Campbell (Vidal 39 mins), Douglas, Okoye, Henriques, Bennett, Kavanagh, Addai (Samuels 39 mins), McDonald (Abnett 77 mins), Bailey-Allen. Subs not used - Howard and Hall.
Match Sponsors JEWSON BUILDERS MERCHANTS Man of the Match - Niko Muir-Merchant
Attendance - 192