Harlow Town 1 Blues 2
Blake brace earns Blues the points in smash and grab victory
Leiston came into this game off the back of a disappointing result against Needham Market in the Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final during the week writes Craig Cooper. Byron Lawrence had signed for Billericay Town on Friday but welcomed back Ashlee Jones who started in place of Jacob Marsden who was on the bench.
Leiston had the first chance of this game after just three minutes. Conor Hubble was fouled on the by-line, and Gareth Heath’s ball in was met by Tom Bullard who’s shot was well saved by David Hughes in the home goal and Matt Blake’s follow up was also kept out. The game was being spoilt at times by a strong wind early doors and it was the hosts who were adapting better to it. A long ball wasn’t dealt with by Leiston and Alex Read’s effort was smartly palmed round the post by Ashlee Jones. From the resulting corner Leiston cleared off the line after a goal mouth scramble. Harlow were having good possession but were not making use of it. Ashlee Jones claimed well from a couple of corners and after a good move by Leiston down their right, Matt Blake failed to make a strong connection with the ball and it came to nothing. The deadlock was finally broken in the 42nd minute with the visitors grabing the all important goal. Adeyinka Cole’s effort was blocked and fell invitingly to Matt Blake who made no mistake and shot right footed into the keeper’s left hand corner.
The second half again saw Leiston start on the back foot, with Harlow keeping the ball well. Read again had an effort but again, it was well blocked. Although Harlow were having more of the ball, Leiston were getting men behind the ball and defended well all afternoon, keeping their shape well. Gordon for the hosts saw his effort blocked well by Ainsley and then in a rare Leiston attack Conor Hubble pulled his shot wide. Moments after Matt Blake half-volleyed over the bar from the edge of the box as Leiston looked for the all important second goal. But Harlow continued to look threatenng adn after Ashlee Jones saved well to deny his namesake, substitute Billy Jones, the equaliser arrived in the 71st minute when Alex Read drilled in from the edge of the box. The impetus was now with Harlow and Noto’s corner was somehow kept out acrobatically by Ashlee Jones. The clock was now ticking towards the ninety minutes but still Harlow pressed, efforts from Eadie and Read both failed to trouble Ashlee Jones. Then, in the second minute of stoppage time, the visitors took the lead for a second time. After Read was caught offside, Ashlee Jones’ long free kick forward was well brought down by Matt Blake, who turned his defender and wrong footed keeper Hughes to find the net and send the away fans into raptures with Blues striker Matt Blake booked for taking his shirt off in the celebrations. Leiston saw out the remaining ninety seconds and although this wasn’t a game for the purist, the win leaves Leiston just a single point outside the play-offs. Leiston now look forward to entertain Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday evening at Victory Road.
FT - Harlow Town 1 Blues 2
Harlow Town - Hughes, Small, Eadie, Dickens, Sonko, Noto, Dadson, Simms, Read, Gordon, Benjamin (Billy Jones 59 mins). Subs not used - William Jones, Ngamb, Kimpala-Mayasi and Lee.
Blues - Ashlee Jones, Brown, Hutchings, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard, Cole, Heath, Blake, Muir (Pelling 87 mins), Hubble (Francis 85 mins). Subs not used - Dunbar, Brothers and Marsden.
Man of the Match - Matt Blake
Attendance - 234