Leiston back up to second spot in Ryman Premier

Billy Clark scored in Leiston's win against Merstham

Billy Clark scored in Leiston's win against Merstham - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A round-up of our region’s sides’ performances and results in the Ryman League.

Premier Division Leiston 3 Merstham 1

Leiston are back into second spot after a solid display at Victory Road.

The Suffolk side took full advantage of the three clubs above them pre-match all dropping points, to move within three points of the leaders Dulwich Hamlet with two games in hand.

The hosts played the better football and drew first blood on 20 minutes.

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Billy Clark fired home inside the box after Seb Dunbar had held off the challenge of Antone Douglas.

Leiston doubled their lead on 42 minutes with a similar goal to the opener. This time it was Patrick Brothers holding off Merrick James-Lewis on the left, before crossing for Leon Ottley-Gooch to dive and head home from 10 yards. The visitors started well after the break with Dean Gunner planting a header from a Fabio Saraiva free-kick on the roof of the net, before Fabio Saraiva sliced his shot horribly wide from close-range.

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On 76 minutes, Leiston added a third, substitute Christy Finch collecting a Gareth Heath pass on the edge of the box, creating space and then drilling home an effort.

A minute later, the visitors deservedly got on the scoresheet, Simon Cooper finding the bottom right-hand corner after his initial shot had come back to him off the post.

Elsewhere in the Premier Division on Saturday, Michael Brothers’ brace enabled Needham Market to complete a welcome 2-1 victory over a Tonbridge Angels team that had not lost on the road this season.

North Division Bury Town 4 Barkingside 1

A dominant performance from Bury Town saw them complete the League double over Barkingside

Bury were ahead after just six minutes when Bradley Barber whipped in a corner for Phil Weavers to head home.

The Blues soon went two goals up on 25 minutes with another headed goal, this time from Ollie Canfer.

Luke With twice headed wide, but Bury’s dominance continued after the break and when Remi Garrett drove down the wing and crossed the ball into Daniel Hammett who was brought down in the box, Justin Miller stepped up to put away the penalty.

Weavers grabbed his second on 57 minutes with another header from a corner which was a carbon copy of his first.

The visitors did pull a goal back on 65 minutes, Kemarr Salmon taking advantage of some poor defending from the Blues’ backline.

Barkingside’s Paul Wright saw red on 77 minutes as did Tevan Allen for Bury on 86 minutes when he slid in on the keeper in a 50/50 collision.

This win sees Bury record another vital three points in their bid to remain near the top of the table.

AFC Sudbury 0 Cheshunt 0

Form side Cheshunt, unbeaten in their previous eight games during which they had scored freely, were held to a goalless draw by a resolute home side which was just about a fair result from a game of few clear cut chances.

Cheshunt shaded the first half with their best chance coming midway through when former Sudbury player Ayrton Coley set up Jason Hallett, who forced a fingertip save from ‘keeper Marcus Garnham for a corner, which came to nothing.

The home side finished the half strongly and Luke Callander, who had seen several efforts go close, had a goal-bound effort blocked and George Clarke had his follow up header cleared off the line.

Sudbury had the better of the second half with Jordan Blackwell firing wide on several occasions and Callander firing straight at the visiting keeper.

But, generally, defences dominated and neither ‘keeper was seriously tested, leaving the game goalless from a very competitive encounter.

Phoenix Sports 1 Witham Town 2

A good second-half performance won the points for Witham after some bad results.

Phoenix dominated the first half but scored just one goal because of some stout defending by the Witham defence and a little luck, with Ricky Freeman the goalscorer.

The second half was different as Witham scored twice with Hassan Nalbant scoring in the 57th minute and Mitch Hunter the second goalscorer.

Elsewhere in Essex, a double from Darren McQueen gave in-form Maldon & Tiptree three more Ryman North points as the Jammers defeated Great Wakering Rovers 2-1 away from home.

Heybridge Swifts meanwhile, lost 3-1 at home to Soham Town Rangers, while Brightlingsea’s game was postponed.

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