Matt Blake the hero as late draw keeps Leiston’s play-off dream alive

Matt Blake was the Leiston hero in their 2-2 draw at Leatherhead. Picture: JOHN HEALD

Matt Blake was the Leiston hero in their 2-2 draw at Leatherhead. Picture: JOHN HEALD - Credit: Archant

Bostik Premier Leatherhead 2 Leiston 2 A pulsating ending saw Leiston level at the death in a 2-2 draw at Leatherhead, keeping their play-off dreams alive as striker Matt Blake returned from loan to bag a brace, writes Craig Cooper.

In truth, the game never really got going until the last few minutes.

Tom Richards’ cross-cum shot was clawed over by Marcus Garnham early on as both teams struggled on a bumpy pitch. Leiston’s first chance came when Chris Henderson picked up the ball outside the box and his run ended with a shot over Manny Agboola’s crossbar.

Byron Lawrence shot wide of Agboola’s left hand post, before Niall McManus appealed for a handball in the penalty area but the referee waved away any protests.

The home side took the lead as Garnham pushed out Nana Boakye-Yiadom’s shot and Tom Derry smashed home the loose ball to net in the last minute of the first half.

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The second period started with Lawrence getting harshly booked, and Leiston were struggling to get into the match still.

Boss Glen Driver decided to bring on Blake and it paid dividends. However, Leiston, playing in orange on the day, firstly had Marcus Garnham to thank for blocking Jack Midson’s effort and keeping them in the game.

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With six minutes of added on time remaining, Agboola pushed out Darren Mills’ strike but Blake turned in from an acute angle restore parity. Leatherhead went ahead again as a neat moved ended with Garnham turning away D’Sean Theobalds shot, only for Derry again to have the easy task of tapping home to put the ‘Head again in front.

Leiston had the last laugh though and from Garnham’s long kick which evaded the jump of Jerry Nnamani, Blake controlled and volleyed past Agboola, much to the delight of the away support.

The draw puts Leiston into fifth position, above Leatherhead and Margate on goal difference. They host Needham Market on Tuesday night in their penultimate game of the season, before entertaining Hendon at Victory Road on Saturday.

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