Blues 1 Leatherhead 0
Blues leave it late to get back to winning ways
Leiston took all three points from what was a very even encounter against Leatherhead on Saturday thanks to a second half goal from Matt Blake in a MATCH SPONSORED BY CPR GROUNDWORKS. Leiston had the majority of the chances in the game and it looked as though it was going to end goalless until top scorer Matt Blake scored the goal to win the Blues the three points that look to be crucial for their play-off push writes Ollie Fairs.
The two teams looked to be very evenly matched throughout the first half. It was not a game filled with chances and was at times very scrappy with a large number of niggly fouls slowing down the pace of the game. However, the chances that did come along were more than often very good ones. Leiston looked very dangerous from corners for the duration of the game, both attacking them and countering after Leatherhead corners. Tom Bullard had an early opportunity to convert from one of these set pieces but he could not direct his header towards goal. The best chance of the first 45 minutes fell to the feet of top goal scorer Matt Blake after he was played in by Joe Francis thanks to a loose pass out from the Leatherhead defence. Matt Blake found himself unchallenged in the 18-yard box and it was a chance that you would usually expect to see sail into the back of the net, but Matt Blake could not get the ball out of his feet and Leatherhead keeper Louis Wells did well to block the shot. The Blues captain Tom Bullard had another good chance to put his side ahead when he leaped well to win his header in the area but it was an easy catch for the keeper. The pitch was very compact in the middle and the Blues struggled to find a way through the centre of the pitch, so they had most of their joy in the wide areas of the pitch. Full backs Ollie Brown and Seb Dunbar played a key role in supplying this width and getting crosses into the box. Just before the end of the first half Ollie Brown picked up the ball and the right-hand side of the pitch and floated a ball into Niko Muir-Merchant who did well to dive to reach the ball but his header was just wide of the mark.
The second half was very similar to the first in that chances came in a premium and when they did they mainly went to the home side. Leiston continued to get the ball in wide areas and looked very dangerous when doing so. Joe Francis reached the bi-line on the right wing and drilled a dangerous ball across the face of goal towards Conor Hubble but he was not able to direct it towards goal under pressure from a Leatherhead defender. Joe Francis again caused the away side problems when he made his way into the box, cutting inside onto his left foot but his shot was well blocked as Leatherhead filled the box with defenders. Leatherhead did have some chances of their own one of them leading to a corner. From that corner, Blues keeper Ashlee Jones came out strongly to catch the ball before sending a pin point accurate pass to Niko Muir-Merchant. He controlled the ball and turned his man to play a pass into Joe Francis waiting in the middle. Joe Francis carried the ball forward before sliding in Matt Blake who squared up his man, shifted the ball onto his left foot and fired into the bottom right hand corner of the net to give the Blues the lead after 73 minutes. Leatherhead pushed forward for the remaining 20 minutes of the match but they were not able to create the chances they needed to get level as the Leiston defence stood firm to guarantee the Blues took the full three points from a hard fought match.
FT - Blues 1 Leatherhead 0
Blues - Jones, Brown, Dunbar, Ainsley, Hutchings, Bullard, Hubble (Pelling 70 mins), Heath, Blake, Muir-Merchant (Schaar 90 mins), Francis (Marsden 87 mins). Subs not used - Cole and Jefford.
Leatherhead - Wells, Ambroisine, Murphy (Nassor 81 mins), Semakula (Sagaf 87 mins), Howe, Nnamni, Moore, Theobalds, Boakye-Yiadom, Moone (Davies 70 mins), Daniel. Subs not used - Homans and Parr.
Match Sponsors CPR GROUNDWORKS Man of the Match - Jack Ainsley
Attendance - 308