Leiston 1-2 HitchinTown - Match Report
By Craig Cooper
Blues defeated at Victory road against 'The Canaries'
Leiston welcomed Hitchin Town to Victory Road at the weekend, in a match sponsored by BSP International Foundations Ltd. Harrison Bacon was given his first start in the league for the Blues, while Tom Bullard came back into the starting eleven. George Keys dropped to the bench as Kyle Hammond moved to right back and Stuart Boardley dropped himself out of the sixteen.
Seb Dunbar tested away keeper Michael Johnson with an early cross while Scott Belgrove fired over in the early action. A long kick by Marcus Garnham was flicked on by Christy Finch and this enabled Matt Blake to venture forward but his strike was saved by Johnson in the Hitchin goal. Byron Lawrence and Patrick Brothers linked up well, with the impressive Brothers firing just over the crossbar. Shortly later, Brothers delivered another good ball that Johnson palmed away. However, even though the Hertfordshire side had started the better team, they took the lead in the 11th minute. A free kick into the box was headed down to Scott Belgrove and he made no mistake to score into Marcus Garnham's bottom right hand corner. Christy Finch was then off target with an effort, before Matt Blake's volley was pushed round the post by Johnson. Belgrove and Seb Dunbar were booked as the half came to an end for a little schuffle, but there was still time for Patrick Brothers to cross a great ball from the left, however Matt Blake and Christy Finch could not get on the end of it.
Jay Dowie tried his luck just two minutes into the second period as Garnham was off his line, but his pot shot didn't trouble the keeper. Harrison Bacon had a shot outside the box blocked and Harry Draper wasn't too far away with a shot from distance for Hitchin. Johnson showed good handling to gather a Christy Finch attempt and the lively Draper was in again but again wasted the chance. Isaac Galliford capitalised on a defence error to have a clean run through on goal and he slipped the ball past Garnham to finish well. Draper had another shot, this time inside the box, but Garnham was down to his right to push the ball away. In the 67th minute, the Blues pulled a goal back. Good persistence by Brothers and Byron Lawrence ended with Lawrence hooking a cross over the middle of the goal and Will Davies nodded in for his first Leiston goal. Both teams had opportunities as the match wore on, but Leiston were now dictating play. Finch had a headed easily saved and Patrick Brothers got on the end of a delivery into the box but could only find the keeper. In the second minute of added on time, Matt Blake swivelled to curl a shot on the edge of the area but the ball agonizingly went just wide of Johnson's right hand post.
Even though Leiston lost this match, there was a lot of positives to come out of it. The Blues travel to Alvechurch on Tuesday night as the teams meet for the first time ever.
Leiston: - Garnham, Hammond, Dunbar, Aitkens, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence, Bacon (Davies 65 mins), Blake, Finch (Eagle 74 mins), Brothers. Subs not used: - Cheetham, Keys, Lay-Fulcher.
Hitchin Town: - Johnson, Ryan, Chesmain, Dowie, Webb, Ferrell, Bickerstaff, Draper, Belgrove (Byron 74 mins), Galliford, Cue (Green 65 mins).
Subs not used: - Mensah, Packham.
Match Sponsor and Match Ball Sponsor BSP International Foundations Ltd Man Of The Match: - Patrick Brothers.
Attendance: - 246.