Blues 2 Burgess Hill Town 0
Ainsley double keeps the Blues in the play off picture
A late double from leading scorer Jack Ainsley ensured the Blues remain in the hunt for the end of season play offs in a MATCH SPONSORED BY MILLS HEATING LIMITED. The Blues had to wait until the final quarter of the game before breaking down a resolute Burgess Hill Town side who slipped to the bottom of the table following this defeat.
The Blues started the match with an unchanged side and in the early exchanges the hosts forced some corners that unfortunately were over hit. Tom Cadman nearly put Patrick Brothers’ cross into his own net as chances were hard to come by for both sides. Chris Henderson, Jake Reed and Christy Finch combined well to set up Byron Lawrence but he fired over away goalkeeper’s James Shaw’s crossbar a similar outcome also for the visitors Hafeez Sanusi in their first real opening, blazing high and wide over Marcus Garnham's bar. Tom Cadman won the ball off Christy Finch and shot from distance with the ball just going wide of the target but it was Leiston who were controlling large parts of the first half. Kyle Hammond’s excellent cross from the right was headed over the bar by Patrick Brothers just past the half hour mark, while a couple of minutes later Jack Ainsley’s cross field ball found Seb Dunbar and he crossed to Jake Reed whose flicked header saw Shaw finger tip his deft header round a post. As half time approached, Christy Finch drove at the away defence and unleashed an effort that Shaw palmed over the bar with the hosts pressing.
Christy Finch had a shot well blocked at the start of the second period before the Suffolk side looked to have taken the lead in the 52nd minute. Kyle Hammond’s run down the right saw him centre it to Jake Reed whose shot found the net but after Referee Paul Burnham spoke to his assistant, the goal was disallowed for offside. A quick Byron Lawrence free kick saw the alert Jack Ainsley get away inside the area but his driven centre was inches away from Joe Jefford getting a telling touch less than six yards from goal. By now Leiston were dominant, the visitors defending with the majority of their side behind the ball but with twenty one minutes remaining the pressure finally took its toll. A patient build up ended with Patrick Brothers’ effort blocked by Shaw, however the ball spun loose allowing Jack Ainsley the simplest of tasks of tapping home the loose ball. Kyle Hammond’s free kick sailed over the crossbar with time running out and Leiston looking for that all important second goal to end the contest. But as the minutes closed Burgess Hill became a more attacking threat but without really testing Marcus Garnham. In the last minute of added on time substitute James Richmond headed an attempt inside the six yard box but Marcus Garnham was down well to his left. Moments later the match was put to bed when Jake Reed raced clear into the box only to be felled by Shaw. Jack Ainsley stroked home the resulting penalty to net his 17th goal of the season and ease the hosts nerves.
FT - Blues 2 Burgess Hill Town 0
Blues - Garnham, Hammond, Dunbar, Ainsley, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence, Henderson, Reed, Finch (Mills 88 mins), Brothers. Subs not used - Docherty, Marsden and Garrard.
Burgess Hill Town - Shaw, Richards, Fisk, Tuck (Richmond 55 mins), Elphick, Carman, Pat Harding, Brivio, Sanusi (Lee Harding 66 mins), Smith-Joseph (Tighe 81 mins), Bennett. Subs not used - Agyeman and Cook.
MATCH SPONSORS MILLS HEATING LIMITED Man of the Match - Seb Dunbar
Attendance - 292