Brace for Jack Ainsley as Leiston keep play-off surge going

Jack Ainsley taps home to give Leiston the lead against Burgess Hill Town. Picture: JOHN HEALD

Jack Ainsley taps home to give Leiston the lead against Burgess Hill Town. Picture: JOHN HEALD - Credit: Archant

Bostik Premier Leiston 2 Burgess Hill Town 0 The Blues started the match with an unchanged starting 11 after the win against Harrow Borough on Tuesday night.

Jack Ainsley taps home to give Leiston the lead against Burgess Hill Town. Picture: JOHN HEALD

Jack Ainsley taps home to give Leiston the lead against Burgess Hill Town. Picture: JOHN HEALD - Credit: Archant

In the first couple of minutes, Leiston forced a couple of corners but Burgess Hill dealt with these and the danger was cleared. 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.

Hafeez Sanusi had Burgess Hill’s first chance but he blazed high and wide. Tom Cadman won the ball off Christy Finch and shot from distance with the ball just going wide of the target, but Leiston were controlling large parts of the first half.

Kyle Hammond’s excellent cross from the right was headed over the bar by Brothers just past the half hour mark, while a couple of minutes later Jack Ainsley’s crossfield ball found Seb Dunbar and he crossed to Reed but Shaw finger tipped his deft header round a post.

Jack Ainsley taps home to give Leiston the lead against Burgess Hill Town. Picture: JOHN HEALD

Jack Ainsley taps home to give Leiston the lead against Burgess Hill Town. Picture: JOHN HEALD - Credit: Archant

As half-time approached, Finch drove at the away defence and unleashed an effort that Shaw palmed over the bar.

Finch also 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.

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Hammond’s run down the right saw him centre it to Reed, whose shot found the net – but after referee Paul Burnham spoke to his assistant, the goal was disallowed.

A quick Lawrence free kick saw the alert Ainsley get away inside the area, but he was thwarted by Shaw.

Leiston's Jake Reed runs at the defence. Picture: JOHN HEALD

Leiston's Jake Reed runs at the defence. Picture: JOHN HEALD - Credit: Archant

By now, Leiston were dominant in possession and the pressure finally took its toll. Brothers’ shot was blocked by Shaw, however Ainsley had the simplest of tasks of tapping home the loose ball.

Hammond’s free kick went well over the crossbar as time was running out, and Burgess Hill became a more attacking threat without testing Marcus Garnham.

The match was put to bed when Reed was brought down by Shaw, and Ainsley stroked home the penalty to net his 17th goal of the season.

The win keeps Leiston in sixth place, one point off the play-offs with three league games left to play.

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