Wingate & Finchley 1 Blues 0
Defeat ends the New Year winning streak
Leiston slipped to their first defeat of the New Year at a freezing Harry Abrahams Stadium ending their five game winning streak. In a game of few clear cut chances on a pitch that hardened due to the freezing temperatures, it took a deflected free kick to separate the sides in the final quarter. It was the first time the Blues had failed to score in a match since early November and only the third time all season while Wingate & Finchley extended their unbeaten run to 10 games in all competitions. The visitors were forced into two changes from the side that recorded a fine victory at Worthing the previous Saturday, Joe Marsden replaced the injured Ollie Brown at right back with Adeyinka Cole in for the injured Patrick Brothers.
The hosts began attacking with the slope to their advantage and were soon pressing the visitors back into their half. The first scare of the night came after only five minutes on the clock, Beckles-Richards raced onto an under hit back pass wide on the right but after skipping round Jacob Marsden his shot from a very tight angle cannoned off the outside of the post. The Blues struggled to get a foot hold in the game but from the first corner of the night they almost took the lead. Matt Blake’s near post flick header from Gareth Heath’s 17th minute delivery was headed off the line by Young underneath the bar. Escaping from his defensive duties Young was proving to be a threat down the right flank and on 29 minutes he almost got his name on the scoresheet but his cross-cum-shot was tipped over by Jacob Marsden and from the resulting corner the unmarked Laney somehow headed wide Wales corner kick. It was Wingate asking all the questions but the Blues defence held a strong line, reducing the hosts to long range efforts that were well adrift of Jacob’s Marsden’s goal. Offensively the Blues struggled to force any impact on well marshalled home rear-guard as a fairly flat first half ended with the majority of play spent in midfield.
As the night drew on the surface became even trickier but play continued in the same vein as the opening half. The Blues goal had an almighty let off on 59 minutes when the tricky Beckles-Richards fired a loose ball inside the box goalwards only to see his effort rebound to safety not off one but both posts as the ball rolled along the goal-line! The visitors then had a great chance to opening the scoring on 66 minutes but a stretching Matt Blake could not direct his header from a Joe Marsden cross down enough, his effort landing on the roof of the net. It looked from this point that a cagey game would end all square but on 77 minutes the hosts went ahead. A harshly awarded free kick 20 or so yards from goal gave Steve Wales an opportunity and his low effort deflected off the wall wrong footing Jacob Marsden who was unable to keep the ball out of his right hand corner. Leiston pressed for a valuable point that would lift them above Havant & Waterlooville up into third but the closest they came was a Gareth Heath effort that was touched over by Gore in the home goal as the Blues slipped to successive 1-0 defeats to Wingate & Finchley at the Harry Abrahams Stadium.
FT - Wingate & Finchley 1 Blues 0
Wingate & Finchley – Gore, Young, Abrahams, Vilcu, Cronin, Rifat, Wales, McCall, Laney, Beckles-Richards, Tejan-Sie. Subs not used – Pattie, Ifil, Gibbons, Sellers and Obafemi.
Blues – Jacob Marsden, Joe Marsden (Francis 82 mins), Dunbar, Ainsley, Hutchings, Bullard, Lawrence, Heath, Blake, Muir-Merchant, Cole (Pelling 84 mins). Subs not used – Brothers, Jefford and Lay-Fulcher.
Man of the Match – Tom Bullard
Attendance - 129