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1st Team - Match centre

Folkestone Invicta
N Muir-Merchant (31'), M Blake (43')
Full time
Tue 21 Mar 19:45 - The Ryman Football League - Premier Division Attendance 244

Blues 2 Folkestone Invicta 1

Blues back into the play off places as Matt Blake hits goal number 40

The Blues recorded a 2-1 victory on Tuesday Night against Folkestone Invicta to move them back into a playoff spot in a MATCH SPONSORED BY GODBOLD PROPERTIES. Strike Partners Matt Blake and Niko Muir-Merchant both scored a goal each to cancel out Joseph Taylor’s second half effort writes Ollie Fairs.

During the early stages of the first half Folkestone looked the better side as the Blues struggled to get the ball down and play their usual attacking style of football. Early warning signs came when Joseph Taylor found himself unchallenged in the Leiston penalty area, but he put his shot wide of the post. There was then a heart in mouth moment for Leiston fans as Ian Draycott was brought down in the box by Blues keeper Ashlee Jones in the box, but rather than pointing to the penalty spot Referee Oliver Morris-Sanders made the controversial decision to award Leiston the free kick and book the Folkestone player for diving. As the half went on Leiston began to grow into the game and started to create more chances. The Blues were doing well to keep the ball and pass it between them, then the Folkestone defenders tried to play an offside trap and pushed all the way up to the half way line. This allowed Matt Blake to make a simple run in behind and once the ball was floated in behind he latched onto it before his shot was well saved. Leiston got the breakthrough on 30 minutes after Niko Muir-Merchant played a ball out wide to Seb Dunbar who then put in a brilliant first time cross back to Niko Muir-Merchant who glanced his header into the back of the net. The away side were then gifted an opportunity to get back in the game when Ashlee Jones picked up what was deemed to be a Joe Jefford back pass, resulting in Folkestone being awarded an indirect free kick from 6 yards out. Leiston then put all eleven men on the goal line, poised to rush towards the shot taker and this tactic worked as the resulting shot was blocked by a blue shirt on the line. Leiston then went on to double their lead with 3 minutes of the first 45 to go when Matt Blake capitalised on a poor back pass from a Folkestone defender as he ran one on one with the Folkestone keeper before opening up his body and placing it past the keeper and into the net for his 40th goal of a fabulous season.

If Folkestone were to get back into the game they needed to score a goal early in the second half and this was exactly what they did. Samuel Hasler fizzed a shot towards goal from the edge of the box and this shot was fumbled by keeper Ashlee Jones and straight into the path of Joseph Taylor who tapped home to make it 2-1 after 51 minutes. The rest of the game was very scrappy and saw Leiston spend most of their time on the edge of their own box trying to defend wave after wave of attack from Folkestone. The Leiston defenders did very well to stop Folkestone from creating any clear-cut chances as some of the best opportunities they had came from long range shots, particularly Hasler’s effort which cannoned off the post. Leiston did still carry some attacking threat, especially on the counter attack, and for a split second they thought they had put the game out of reach for Folkestone. After a good bit of work from Matt Blake on the right wing he put in a good cross to the back post were Armani Schaar was waiting. Schaar shot was blocked by a visiting defender and fell into the path of Niko Muir-Merchant who slid in to tap it into the net only to see the linesman had raised his flag and disallowed the goal. Leiston then held out for the remaining minutes to secure a crucial home win and take themselves back into the play off places once again.

FT - Blues 2 Folkestone Invicta 1

Blues - Jones, Brown, Dunbar, Hutchings (Pelling 74 mins), Jefford, Bullard, Cole (Schaar 74 mins), Heath, Blake, Muir-Merchant, Ainsley. Subs not used - Hubble, Francis and Lay-Fulcher.

Folkestone Invicta - Roberts, Vincent, Blanks, Davies, Chappell, Wright (Miller 80 mins), Hasler, Cornwell, Draycott, Taylor, Starkey. Subs not used - Sahadow, Madden and Brabham.

Match Sponsors GODBOLD PROPERTIES Man of the Match - Tom Bullard

Attendance - 244

Tom Bullard

Player of the Match

Tom Bullard

Key moments

Goal Niko Muir-Merchant scores for Leiston
Goal Matt Blake scores for Leiston


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90:00 Player of the Match
Tom Bullard is awarded player of the match for Leiston
74:00 Sub On
Regan Pelling is substituted on for Leiston
74:00 Sub On
Armani Schaar is substituted on for Leiston
74:00 Sub Off
Jake Hutchings is substituted off for Leiston
74:00 Sub Off
Adeyinka Cole is substituted off for Leiston
54:00 Yellow Card
Adeyinka Cole is yellow carded for Leiston
54:00 Yellow Card
Niko Muir-Merchant is yellow carded for Leiston
End of period 1
43:00 Goal 2 - 0
Matt Blake scores for Leiston
31:00 Goal 1 - 0
Niko Muir-Merchant scores for Leiston
31:00 Assist
Sebastian Dunbar makes an assist for Leiston
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Leiston
  • Folkestone Invicta
  • 0
  • Sebastian Dunbar Assist 31:00'
  • Niko Muir-Merchant Goal 31:00'
  • Matt Blake Goal 43:00'
  • Adeyinka Cole Yellow Card 54:00'
  • Niko Muir-Merchant Yellow Card 54:00'
  • Regan Pelling Sub On 74:00'
  • Armani Schaar Sub On 74:00'
  • Jake Hutchings Sub Off 74:00'
  • Adeyinka Cole Sub Off 74:00'

Team selection

Jones, Ashlee Jones, Ashlee
Hutchings, Jake Hutchings, Jake
Jefford, Joe Jefford, Joe
Bullard, Tom Bullard, Tom
Brown, Oliver Brown, Oliver
Dunbar, Sebastian Dunbar, Sebastian
Cole, Adeyinka Cole, Adeyinka
Ainsley, Jack Ainsley, Jack
Heath, Gareth Heath, Gareth
Blake, Matt Blake, Matt
Muir-Merchant, Niko Muir-Merchant, Niko

League round up

Other Premier Division results

Staines Town

League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Havant & Waterlooville 46 94
2. Bognor Regis Town 46 92
3. Dulwich Hamlet 46 80
4. Enfield Town 46 76
5. Wingate & Finchley 46 75
6. Tonbridge Angels 46 74
7. Leiston 46 73

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