Beckwith the hero as young ‘keeper saves late penalty to seal a draw for Leiston
- Credit: Archant
Leiston 0 Banbury 0
This was a poor match as both sides, with virtually identical records in the table, tried in vain to collect the points at a cold blustery Victory Road in front of a meagre attendance of 208, which possibly reflects the downward spiral of a team that has collected only six points from its last 10 matches, writes John Campany.
After the opening 15 games, Leiston occupied fourth position in the premier table, a team that looked capable of pushing for promotion or at least have play-off aspirations.
In contrast, the point gained Saturday took them from 16th place to 15th a far cry from those earlier dizzy heights.
The conclusion of this season cannot come soon enough given their current plight.
There is a need to review the past weeks and build upon a new strategy following the mid-season departure of ex-boss Glen Driver and the subsequent appointment of Stuart Broadley.
The manager preferred Charlie Beckwith in goal with Marcus Garnham on the bench, and was rewarded as the young keeper, back from a loan spell at Great Yarmouth, proved the saviour denying the visitors a winner late in the game, with a fine penalty save that won him the man of the match award – and rightly so.
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The wind was a factor throughout with the ball in the air for much of the time that played into the hands of defenders for which skipper Tom Bullard, Joe Jefford, Harry Knights and Seb Dunbar were excellent, restricting clear-cut opportunities for the Oxfordshire side.
Chances were at a premium, but following a good cross from Knights, Dominic Docherty made a good contact from close in, but the visiting custodian Jack Harding superbly saved low down, his only meaningful first half action.
The visitors generally had the bulk of possession playing with the elements, but failed to trouble Beckwith who, nevertheless oozed confidence with his handling and physical presence.
The second half saw Dunbar and Kyle Hammond provide crosses into the box, but all in vain as the towering visiting defenders easily nullified such threats.
Byron Lawrence tested Harding with a fine volley, that was well saved and a draw looked inevitable.
However, with 10 minutes remaining Knights pushed Ricky Robinson in the box, setting up the ‘Puritans’ with the chance of securing the points, but hero Beckwith ensured parity brilliantly saving Giuseppi Iaciofano’s spot kick.