Kezie Ibe scores late winner as Hendon beat Leiston
Ryman League Premier Leiston 0 Hendon 1 Kezie Ibe’s scrambled winner moved fourth-placed Hendon eight points clear of fifth-placed Leiston in the Ryman Premier Division last night.
In a game of thin margins, the encounter looked certain for a draw from the off, but Ibe decisively struck in the 77th-minute to steal the points for the visitors.
The result was perhaps harsh on the hosts, and they in fact started the brighter in this battle between two sides who will hope to maintain their play-off positions come the end of the season.
Scott Mitchell nearly opened the scoring after just two minutes, but saw his effort blocked.
Gareth Heath then wriggled his way along the byline but scuffed his effort into the arms of Ben McNamara, while Joe Jefford had the clearest sight of goal for the Blues in the 17th minute but saw his effort supremely blocked in a crowded penalty area.
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Hendon grew into the half though and Stuart Boardley, the match-winner between these two in this fixture last season, cleared the danger well after Ibe looked to pounce on Leon Smith’s cut-back.
Adam Tann then importantly blocked from Ibe as the striker fired in a powerful effort as the sides deservedly went into the break level-pegging.
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The two sides continued to cancel each other out for the majority of the second half with Heath nodding over for Leiston at one end, and Smith forcing Danny Gay into a reaction save at the other.
The defining moment came 13 minutes from time when Ibe bundled home from inside the six-yard box after Gay had prevented Elliott Brathwaite.
Heath then looked to have pulled Leiston level three minutes later, but he fired into the side-netting from Boardley’s throw, and it was Hendon, who also saw a late goal through Adam Wallace ruled out for offside, who took the points.
LEISTON: Gay, Saker, Boardley, Jefford, Tann, Mitchell (Mayhew 83), Cunningham (Bullard 72), Winter (Parker 25), Hubble, Heath, Ottley-Gooch.
Unused subs: Francis, Rossis.
Referee: Thomas Hancock.