Burgess Hill Town 2 Blues 1
Blues slip to defeat on their travels
Leiston made three changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday night’s epic encounter at Folkestone. Coming in were Robert Eagle, Dominic Docherty (returning from injury) and Declan Daniels on loan from Ipswich Town making his debut. Jack Ainsley was ruled out with an ankle injury and Kevin Inglis and Regan Pelling dropped to the bench where they were joined by Chris Henderson on his return from injury.
The opening half an hour was largely uneventful with Leiston unable to retain possession on numerous occasions thus allowing Burgess Hill to enjoy the greater pressure. Harry Knights, on only his second first team appearance and Joe Jefford dealt comfortably with any threat posed by the home team. After a slow start the game came to life in the 32nd minute when Joe Marsden was easily dispossessed on the edge of the area by Lucas Rodriguez and he fired low to Marcus Garnham’s right hand side to give the home team a deserved lead. In the 38th minute Dominic Docherty went over on his right ankle and appeared to aggravate the injury that kept him out of the last game and he was replaced by Chris Henderson. The half ended without Leiston making a serious attempt on the home goal with the hosts comfortably ahead.
In the 52nd minute Chris Henderson, who improved the tempo in midfield, found Matt Blake in the Burgess Hill penalty area 10 yards from goal but he shot tamely straight at Shaw who didn’t have to move to make the save. Having had a great opportunity to equalise Leiston then found themselves two goals behind within a minute. Lee Harding went slipped past Joe Marsden just outside the box and was able to fire low beyond Marcus Garnham. Manager Glenn Driver then made a further change in the 57th minute when Regan Pelling replaced Robert Eagle on the left hand side. With a quarter of an hour remaining it was Regan Pelling who tested Shaw in the home goal with a shot from the edge of the area but he saved comfortably as Leiston desperately searched for a way back into the game. With five minutes remaining Man of the Match for Leiston, Harry Knights, was harshly adjudged to have fouled home striker Smith-Joseph on the edge of the area and substitute O’Neill fired the free kick towards the top left hand corner of the net but Marcus Garnham was equal to the challenge and leapt high to his right hand side and tipped the ball over the bar for a tremendous save. Leiston were given some hope in the 86th minute when home captain Gary Elphick received a straight red card for a two footed tackle. Leiston now pressed with more vigour and with 90 minutes on the clock Byron Lawrence cut in from the right hand side and fired a left foot shot towards the bottom corner but Shaw somehow managed to get down and palm his effort wide for a corner. In the third of the four added minutes indicated by the referee, Joe Jefford scored his sixth goal of the season, thus becoming joint top scorer for the season, when he headed home a Seb Dunbar cross. Unfortunately this was too little too late and the final whistle was blown shortly afterwards. Leiston can have few complaints about the result in what was a lacklustre performance.
FT - Burgess Hill Town 2 Blues 1
Burgess Hill Town - Shaw, Diallo, Fisk, Favarel, Elphick, Richmond, P Harding (McKenzie 83 mins), Taylor (O'Neill 85 mins), L Harding, Smith-Joseph, Rodriquez (Gayler 90 mins). Subs not used - Merzouk and Cook.
Blues - Garnham, Marsden, Dunbar, Brothers, Jefford, Knights, Lawrence, Docherty (Henderson 37 mins), Blake, Daniels, Eagle (Pelling 57 mins). Subs not used - Inglis, Cheetham and Lay-Fulcher
Man of the Match - Harry Knights
Attendance - 312