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1st Team - Match centre

Burgess Hill Town
Full time
N Muir-Merchant (22'), M Blake (24', 39', 44', 47'), G Heath (70')
Sat 7 Jan 15:00 - The Ryman Football League - Premier Division Attendance 303

Burgess Hill Town 0 Blues 6

Four-midable Blake helps the Blues to fine win on their travels

Leiston looked to continue their excellent start to 2017 by building on their 5-1 win over local rivals Needham Market earlier in the week writes Ollie Fairs. They would have gone into the game looking to match that performance but they took it one step further and bettered it, coming out 6-0 victors on the day. Of the six goals, four were scored by Matt Blake who was unstoppable in front of goal. Unsurprisingly, Glen Driver kept the same starting eleven that won on Monday afternoon and the only change was Joe Francis returning to the bench.

The first 20 minutes of the game were very even and, at times, very scrappy as both sides struggled to get the ball down and play. However, the run of play soon started to swing towards Leiston when Joe Jefford headed just over the bar from a corner. Just minutes later and the Blues had taken the lead when Gareth Heath played a ball into Niko Muir-Merchant who shrugged off his marker in the box before turning and firing his shot past the keeper and into the bottom right hand corner of the net, scoring the first goal of the game in the 22nd minute. From that moment on it was Leiston doing all the attacking as the home side struggled to get the ball out of their own half. Patrick Brothers will count himself lucky not to have scored when he had a free kick tipped over the bar before heading the ball in to the net from the resulting corner, only for the Referee to disallow it for a foul in the box. The home side won themselves a rare corner which was drilled in low but was cleared out and Leiston were soon on the counter, Ollie Brown making a great run down the right before cutting it back to Matt Blake who brought it down nicely before striking the ball on the half volley to score his first and Leiston's second of the game after 25 minutes. Leiston's wing backs of Ollie Brown and Seb Dunbar were constantly causing major problems for the home side who could just not find a way to stop them. It was Seb Dunbar who once again made a great run in behind the defence on the left wing and was superbly played through by Byron Lawrence. Dunbar kept his cool and got his head up only to see Matt Blake free in the box who hit his shot high into the back of the net, increasing Leiston’s lead to three. When the Referee signalling for just one minute of added on time many would have thought that the first half would end with the Blues three goals to the good, but that was not the case. Ollie Brown played a long ball over the top for Matt Blake to chase which seemed it would be easily cleared until the Burgess Hill keeper ran head first into his own defender leaving them both on the floor, allowing Blake to simply walk the ball into the goal to claim his hat trick in the first half.

There is always a worry that a team with a big lead at half time would decide to sit back and try to protect their lead instead of looking to add to it. This was certainly not the case for Leiston. Just two minutes of the second half had passed before Matt Blake took his tally for the day to four. Byron Lawrence did well to lose his man in the middle of the park before threading an exquisite ball through to Blake who applied the finish the pass deserved, hitting it low into the side of the goal to the keepers right, giving the Blues a 5-0 lead with just over half the game still to play. Things could have got even worse for the home side (hard to believe I know) when their captain, Jack Brivio was clearly unhappy with a challenge from Byron Lawrence and appeared to push the Leiston midfielder but Referee ignored the appeals for him to be sent off however and only gave him a yellow which he was more than happy to take. It was clear that confidence was flowing through the Leiston team from the front to the back and this was clear to see in the 70th minute when Gareth Heath scored the final goal of the game in magnificent fashion. The ball cam bouncing towards him on the edge of the box before he flicked it over the head of the defender with his first touch and volleyed the ball home with his second. A magnificent goal to top off a magnificent performance.

FT - Burgess Hill Town 0 Blues 6

Burgess Hill Town - James, Pointing, Fisk, Pearse (Richardson-Brown 45 mins), Toure, Miles, Bolton, Brivio (Richmond 58 mins), Ayunga (Smith-Johnson 53 mins), Medlock, Harding. Subs not used - Nzala and Thompson.

Blues - Jacob Marsden, Brown, Dunbar, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard (Hutchings 69 mins), Lawrence (Cole 57 mins), Heath, Blake (Francis 66 mins), Muir-Merchant, Brothers. Subs not used - Pelling and Joe Marsden.

Man of the Match - Matt Blake

Attendance - 303

Matt Blake

Player of the Match

Matt Blake

Key moments

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


View 0 new events
90:00 Player of the Match
Matt Blake is awarded player of the match for Leiston
70:00 Goal 0 - 6
Gareth Heath scores for Leiston
69:00 Sub On
Jake Hutchings is substituted on for Leiston
69:00 Sub Off
Tom Bullard is substituted off for Leiston
66:00 Sub On
Joe Francis is substituted on for Leiston
66:00 Sub Off
Matt Blake is substituted off for Leiston
57:00 Sub On
Adeyinka Cole is substituted on for Leiston
57:00 Sub Off
Byron Lawrence is substituted off for Leiston
47:00 Goal 0 - 5
Matt Blake scores for Leiston
47:00 Assist
Byron Lawrence makes an assist for Leiston
End of period 1
44:00 Assist
Oliver Brown makes an assist for Leiston
44:00 Goal 0 - 4
Matt Blake scores for Leiston
39:00 Assist
Sebastian Dunbar makes an assist for Leiston
39:00 Goal 0 - 3
Matt Blake scores for Leiston
24:00 Goal 0 - 2
Matt Blake scores for Leiston
24:00 Assist
Oliver Brown makes an assist for Leiston
22:00 Goal 0 - 1
Niko Muir-Merchant scores for Leiston
22:00 Assist
Gareth Heath makes an assist for Leiston
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Burgess Hill Town
  • Leiston
  • 0
  • Niko Muir-Merchant Goal 22:00'
  • Gareth Heath Assist 22:00'
  • Matt Blake Goal 24:00'
  • Oliver Brown Assist 24:00'
  • Matt Blake Goal 39:00'
  • Sebastian Dunbar Assist 39:00'
  • Matt Blake Goal 44:00'
  • Oliver Brown Assist 44:00'
  • Matt Blake Goal 47:00'
  • Byron Lawrence Assist 47:00'
  • Adeyinka Cole Sub On 57:00'
  • Byron Lawrence Sub Off 57:00'
  • Joe Francis Sub On 66:00'
  • Matt Blake Sub Off 66:00'
  • Jake Hutchings Sub On 69:00'
  • Tom Bullard Sub Off 69:00'
  • Gareth Heath Goal 70:00'

Team selection

Marsden, Jacob Marsden, Jacob
Brown, Oliver Brown, Oliver
Dunbar, Sebastian Dunbar, Sebastian
Lawrence, Byron Lawrence, Byron
Jefford, Joe Jefford, Joe
Bullard, Tom Bullard, Tom
Ainsley, Jack Ainsley, Jack
Heath, Gareth Heath, Gareth
Blake, Matt Blake, Matt
Brothers, Patrick Brothers, Patrick
Muir-Merchant, Niko Muir-Merchant, Niko

League round up

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

Team sponsors


Club sponsors