Blues 2 Harrow Borough 2
Blues slip to fourth as late Harrow goal denies hosts three important points
Leiston had to settle for a point from a highly competitive encounter with Harrow Borough in a MATCH SPONSORED BY SYCAMORE PARK. Leiston came from behind to earn themselves a 2-1 lead thanks to goals from Niko Muir and Gareth Heath but had the three points snatched from beneath them by a late Harrow equaliser courtesy of Andrew Lomas writes Ollie Fairs.
The Blues got off to a nightmare start as they gifted the away side the lead after just 7 minutes. The ball was being passed throughout the Leiston defence when Jake Hutchings hesitated slightly and allowed Marc Charles-Smith to get on top of him, taking the ball off him and running into the box before coolly slotting the ball past Ashlee Jones and into the back of the net. The remainder of the first 45 minutes was very scrappy with neither team managing to get the ball on the deck and retain possession for a sustained period of time, both instead often looking for long balls in behind the opposition defence. Leiston did have some success with this tactic and created some half chances, one being when Joe Francis was free in behind the defence and worked his way into the area but he side footed his shot just wide of the far post. Matt Blake also managed to run in behind as he cut the ball back to Niko Muir-Merchant but his shot was blocked superbly by a Harrow defender. However, Leiston did not create that clear-cut chance they needed to get them level and the Referee’s whistle ended what was a very frustrating first half for the Blues.
Both teams came out for the second half and with three minutes Leiston drew themselves level again thanks to some nice passing play that the Leiston fans had become accustom too. Some quick passing down the right wing saw Joe Francis cut the ball into the box from the bi-line where Niko Muir-Merchant was waiting to chest it down and hit his volley into the bottom left hand corner on the turn, levelling the scores after 48 minutes. Less than 10 minutes later Leiston were ahead thanks to a goal from Gareth Heath. Niko Muir-Merchant was heavily involved once again after he did superbly to hold off his defender in Harrow’s final third before off loading the ball onto Joe Francis. Francis then threaded through a pass to Gareth Heath who was making a run into the box and Gareth Heath kept his composure and calmly slotted to ball under the onrushing keeper to put Leiston ahead after 57 minutes. The Blues had dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half but Harrow were still in the game and almost levelled the scores from a corner but were denied thanks to a quick reaction save from Ashlee Jones. Leiston also did have the chance to put themselves out of sight when a cross into the box with headed on by Conor Hubble to Matt Blake who took it on his chest and volleyed the ball towards goal, but it was a comfortable catch for the Harrow keeper. However, the next goal went to Harrow when a cross was floated towards the back post and Harrow left back Andrew Lomas made the darting run into the box and got to the ball first, placing it into the bottom corner, leaving Ashlee Jones with no chance. The 79th minute goal was an extremely frustrating one for the Blues to concede but the final 2-2 score line was probably a fair reflection of the game as neither team really did enough to walk away with all three points.
FT - Blues 2 Harrow Borough 2
Blues - Jones, Brown (Jefford 90 mins), Dunbar, Ainsley, Hutchings, Bullard, Hubble (Marsden 79 mins), Heath, Blake, Muir-Merchant, Francis (Pelling 87 mins). Subs not used - Cole and Schaar.
Harrow Borough - Hazlett, Josh Webb, Lomas, Preddie, Peacock, Ochoa, Bryan, Nicholas, Charles-Smith (Cumberbatch 87 mins), Turl, Lafleur. Subs not sued - Menga, Joshua Webb, Newman and Lanzizi.
Match Sponsors SYCAMORE PARK Man of the Match - Niko Muir-Merchant
Attendance - 267