Aitkens scores a cracker, but Leiston are held at home

Leiston's Noel Aitkens celebrates his goal in the 1-1 draw with Royston with his team mates. Picture

Leiston's Noel Aitkens celebrates his goal in the 1-1 draw with Royston with his team mates. Picture: PAUL VOLLER - Credit: Archant

Evo-Stik Central Premier Leiston 1 Royston Town 1 Apart from the Boxing Day win over neighbours Needham Market, Leiston continue to struggle to reproduce early season consistency and, in this lively clash, a draw was a fair result for both of these mid-table sides, writes John Campany.

Royston's Dan Brathwaite fouls Kyle Hammond to concede a penalty. Picture: PAUL VOLLER

Royston's Dan Brathwaite fouls Kyle Hammond to concede a penalty. Picture: PAUL VOLLER - Credit: Archant

However, it could be argued that they had the better chances to have taken the points.

Certainly they had the opportunity when awarded a penalty after the break, but visiting keeper Joe Welch was equal to Jake Reed’s spot kick.

However, the 250 spectators at Victory Road witnessed a stunning goal from man of the match Noel Aitkens that lifted proceedings late in the game, but they then surrendered a goal following a corner.

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Royston's Joe Welch saves Jake Reed's penalty for Leiston. Picture: PAUL VOLLER

Royston's Joe Welch saves Jake Reed's penalty for Leiston. Picture: PAUL VOLLER - Credit: Archant

The Crows went close when Adam Murray headed downwards following a corner, but Marcus Garnham saved low down. At the other end a Joe Jefford header struck the bar and Reed headed wide from Kyle Hammond’s cross.


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They fashioned further chances, but Patrick Brothers’ effort was blocked and Byron Lawrence following up saw his shot saved by Joe Welch.

Garnham did well to deny Josh Castiglione on two occasions with fine reflect saves, and then Dan Gallin bore down on the goal, but sliced wide. The Hertfordshire side were well served by their two central defenders Adam Murray and Dan Brathwaite, who were both dominant in the air.

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Leiston continued to press after the break and in the 57th minute had the chance to get ahead. The energetic Hammond was fouled by Brathwaite and whilst Jake Reed firmly struck the resultant penalty, Welch produced an excellent save.

Royston players are in the net as they equalise against Leiston. Picture: PAUL VOLLER

Royston players are in the net as they equalise against Leiston. Picture: PAUL VOLLER - Credit: Archant

Aitkens then moved down the right flank at pace before squaring to Hammond who shot first time, but was comfortably held by Welch.

Aitkens showed flashes of his skills, none more so than in the 76th minute when in response to the cries of shoot from supporters, he powered home a tremendous 25 yard shot beyond the helpless Welch.

Garnham was also in fine form throughout and made a good save to deny Tom Newman’s strike, but with the points in reach, the home side failed to defend a corner, and substitute Halold Joseph headed home in a crowded goalmouth.

Leiston almost snatched victory in injury time when Christy Finch drove fractionally wide of the far post.

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