Jubilation and joy for Leiston as they at last win a league game this season
- Credit: Archant
Leiston 3 Hitchin 1
There was both jubilation and relief at Victory Road as Leiston gained their first league victory of the season against their fellow strugglers from Hertfordshire, writes John Campany.
It was a game of two halves in which the home side largely dominated the first, and resolutely defended the second, and showed the necessary spirit that gives hope in the months ahead.
All the goals came in a scintillating first 45 minutes that saw new manager Ian Cornforth's side playing with a confidence belying their basement league position. The quality of the goals was such that they earned a rendition of Sweet Caroline from a section of the 201 spectators as they cheered their side to a rare success on a lovely afternoon, where George Keys was named 'man of the match'.
They started strongly and should have been ahead in the opening minutes when Robert Eagle set up Louie Bloom who contrived to miss an open goal from two yards. However, they did take the lead on 14 minutes when William Davies rounded the last defender and crisply fired beyond keeper Charles Horlock.
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Keeper Jake Jessup restored to the Leiston side, made an important block denying Alex Marsh, but the home side kept up the momentum forcing a number of corners and from one of these they emphatically made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute.
This was well crafted as Joshua Hitter sent his kick deep beyond the far post and the impressive Siju Odelusi perfected his late run to meet the ball and powerfully head into the roof of the net
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Cornforth's young side were playing with a maturity that augers well, defending and attacking with purpose through their well organised midfield. Indeed the only blemish came in the 38th minute when the Canaries won a corner and a failure to react enabled Stephen Crawley to head home to reduce the deficit.
On the stroke of half time the scoring was completed with a stunning 25 yard strike from Joshua Hitter that would have graced any game anywhere.
The second half was rather scrappy in contrast, as the Canaries tried to redeem themselves, but Leiston defended with authority whilst substitute Rhys Henry had a great chance to make it four, but elected to unselfishly pass on the opportunity.
The side travel to Kings Langley on Tuesday night looking to use this performance as a foundation to consolidate.