Hitchin Town 2 Blues 2
By LFC Media
Late, late goal denies the Blues again
Leiston were missing Kyle Hammond (suspended), Patrick Brothers, Jake Reed and Dominic Docherty (all injured) for this midweek trip. The Blues forced an early corner, and Tom Bullard put over on the edge of the area. Isaac Galliford and Matt Lench had the hosts first chance on goal, but they were off target with their efforts. Some good build up play from Byron Lawrence and Robert Eagle ended with Christy Finch taking aim outside the box but Michael Johnson in the away goal made a comfortable save. Hitchin took the lead on 12 minutes. A mix up between Byron Lawrence and Robert Eagle let in Isaac Galliford who smashed home his strike. Harry Knights put in a cross from the right and Lawrence controlled well but he miscued his shot wide of Johnson's right hand upright. Christy Finch did well to get inside the area only to see his header blocked and he skied the rebound over Johnson's crossbar. Marcus Garnham in the Leiston goal did well to prevent 'The Canaries' taking the lead as he palmed away a Matt Lench shot. The same player spurned a good opportunity a little later in the half as he dribbled into the box but he could only steer the ball wide. Byron Lawrence was alert to catch on to a poor back pass and he cut inside the defender but hit the post as the opening period came to a close.
Lewis Ferrell shot high and wide from a free kick after the restart, while Johnson in the home goal claimed a Byron Lawrence corner and then brilliantly kept out a Harry Knights' cross after Seb Dunbar delivered in from the left. Leiston were now playing better and started to gain more confidence. On 67 minutes, the equaliser came. A Byron Lawrence free kick was flicked on by Harry Knights and Joe Jefford placed the ball into Johnson's bottom left hand corner. Jefford's centre-back partner Tom Bullard then got on the scoresheet just four minutes later. This time Leiston wasted a free kick, but they won the ball back and Robert Eagle's cross was touched in by Bullard after Matt Blake had got across the keeper. Sub Matt Spring nearly levelled almost immediately as Hitchin made changes to get back in the match. Matt Blake could have sealed the points, but he could only lift over Johnson. As time was running out, Blake, this time put through by Finch, went round the keeper but Hitchin got back in numbers and cleared the danger. In the 93rd minute, Seb Dunbar fouled on the byline and from a good set piece, Hitchin netted from close range via sub Ezra Forde to clinch a point. The point lifted the Blues move up to fourth spot. On Saturday, they travel to Beaconsfield Town in the Buildbase FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round (Last 104).
FT - Hitchin Town 2 Blues 2
Hitchin Town: - Johnson, Mensah, Chesmain, Dowie, Webb, Ferrell, Green (Burns 78 mins), Lench, Belgrove (Forde 78 mins), Galliford (Spring 61 mins), Bickerstaff. Subs not used - Cain and Charles.
Leiston - Garnham, Knights, Dunbar, Aitkens, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence (Moore 88 mins), Rutterford, Blake, Finch (Davies 85 mins), Eagle. Subs not used - Bacon, Gaffer and Beckwith.
Man of the match - Harry Knights
Attendance - 229