Blues 5 Needham Market 1
Five star Blues kick off the New Year in style
Leiston began the new year in style with an impressive 5-1 home victory over local rivals Needham Market on Monday in a MATCH SPONSORED BY ALAN CRANE & TIM JACOBS. A brace from Byron Lawrence and goals for Niko Muir-Merchant, Patrick Brothers and Gareth Heath were more than enough to see off the challenge from Needham who’s second half goal from Luke Ingram was no more than a consolation writes Oliie Fairs . The most notable change to the Leiston team was without a doubt the return of captain Tom Bullard to the centre of defence after recovering from an injury picked up earlier in the season.
Leiston were on top from the very first minute of the game and dominated the entire first 45 minutes. They were playing some calm, patient football along the deck but were also able to switch it up and go long when needed. When they did lose the ball they worked back to put pressure on the man with the ball within a blink of an eye to win it back and get forward once again.
After all the good passing football being played no one could have guessed how the first goal would come. The Blues won a corner in the 20th minute which Gareth Heath swung in from the left and his cross missed everyone in the box and flew into the back of the net without anyone touching it to make it 1-0 to Leiston. Another good chance came Leiston’s way when Byron Lawrence made a run to the bi-line and cut the ball back to Ollie Brown in the box who’s shot seemed goal bound but came off a Needham defender and went out for a corner. Leiston went forward again in the 30th minute with Matt Blake making a great run in behind before he held the ball up and lay it into the path of Byron Lawrence who took a touch to get the ball out of his feet before hammering the ball hard and low into the back of the net to double Leiston’s lead. Leiston continued to create chances and stretch the Needham back four when Matt Blake had a shot of his own well saved before Needham keeper Danny Gay did superbly well again to stop a Tom Bullard header from point blank range to stop the Blues running away with the game. Things got even worse for the Marketmen when the Blues scored their third with just seconds of the first half remaining, Byron Lawrence picking up the scraps after a Niko Muir-Merhant shot was parried into his path allowing him to score his second of the game.
The Blues showed no sign of slowing down at the start of the second half and they thought that they had made the perfect start when Niko Muir-Merchant had the ball in the back of the net just seconds after play resumed, only for it to be ruled out by the linesman for offside. There was no debate however when 6 minutes into the second half Seb Dunbar picked up the ball on the left wing after having a cross deflected and rolled it back to Patrick Brothers who was sat on the edge of the box. He then took one touch and curled the ball brilliantly in off the post to score Leiston’s fourth and put them well out of sight. It wasn’t long before the Needham keeper was picking the ball out of his net once again, this time due to very unusual circumstances. Matt Blake made yet another dangerous run in behind but his shot was saved and the danger seemed to be gone when the ball fell to a Needham defender but his clearance rebounded straight off of Niko Muir-Merchant, who did well to close him down, and hit the back of the net to give Leiston a five goal lead with over half an hour of the game still to play. Leiston then decided to try to slow the game right down by keeping their passes short and always playing the simple pass that would see them retain possession and leave the Marketmen with no chance of getting back into the game. Needham did however score a consolation goal in the 64th minute when Luke Ingram made the most of the space he had 25 yards away from the goal by firing his shot beyond Jacob Marsden who had barely had to make a save all day.
Leiston then finished the game well and rarely gave Needham the chance to get forward whilst creating some good chances for themselves. Overall, a superb performance from the Blues to kick start the New Year and confidence will no doubt be sky high ahead of the trip the Burgess Hill on Saturday.
FT - Blues 5 Needham Market 1
Blues - Jacob Marsden, Brown (Joe Marsden 72 mins), Dunbar, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence (Cole 78 mins), Heath, Blake, Muir-Merchant (Pelling 79 mins), Brothers. Subs not ued - Hutchings and Beckwith.
Needham Market - Gay, Dye, Whight, Holland (Fenn 79 mins), Miller, Nunn, Simmons (Snaith 69 mins), Harrison (Morphew 61 mins), Dobson, Ingram, Coakley. Subs not used - Izzet and Knights.
Match Sponsors ALAN CRANE & TIM JACOBS Man of the Match - Gareth Heath
Attendance - 414