Leiston held to a draw by Harrow Borough

Leiston's Gareth Heath beats Harrow Borough keeper Brendan Hazlett to give the home side a 2-1 lead,

Leiston's Gareth Heath beats Harrow Borough keeper Brendan Hazlett to give the home side a 2-1 lead, but Leiston conceded an equaliser in a 2-2 draw. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Leiston 2 Harrow Borough 2

Leiston dropped two points in their quest for a Ryman Premier play-off place, after being held to an entertaining draw by mid-table Harrow Borough at Victory Road tonight.

The Blues appeared to be on their way to back-to-back home wins, after their 1-0 win over Leatherhead on Saturday, when Niko Muir and Gareth Heath both scored within the first 10 minutes of the second period to put them 2-1 up.

But Glenn Driver’s men leaked a 78th minute equaliser from Harrow left-back Andy Lomas, and so had to be content with a point.

Leiston have dropped a place to fourth in the table – Dulwich Hamlet leapfrogged them with a 4-1 win at Merstham – but they remain in a strong position to finish in the top five.

They have three fixtures left, two on the road at Kingstonian (this Saturday) and Enfield (final day), sandwiching a home game against Lowestoft on Easter Monday.

Leiston struggled to get out of their own half during the opening few minutes, so it was no real surprise when Marc Charles-Smith fired Harrow into the lead.

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Skipper Charles-Smith beat Leiston centre-half Jake Hutchings in a 50-50 challenge, proving the stronger in the tackle before running through to slot a low shot beyond the reach of keeper Ashlee Jones.

The Blues finally threatened on 10 minutes. Leading scorer Matt Blake controlled the ball on the left flank and advanced a few yards before screwing his shot high and wide.

The home side’s first effort on target came five minutes later, although Gareth Heath’s 20-yarder was straight at keeper Brendan Hazlett, who saved with ease.

Hazlett was relieved to see Joe Francis’ angled shot roll across goal and wide of the far post in the 26th minute, as Leiston began to step up a gear.

But they were indebted to keeper Jones for denying Borough a second goal, just after the half-hour mark. Jones dived to his right to parry a goal-bound free-kick from Lewis Ochoa, after Tom Bullard had been booked for a foul on Will Turl.

Blake had a shot on the turn blocked by defender Josh Webb, following Niko Muir’s knock-down, but Harrow were good value for their half-time lead – Charles-Smith had a second goal ruled out for offside on 40 minutes.

However, it was all change at the start of the second half.

Muir grabbed the equaliser within three minutes of the restart, turning to tuck home a shot from close range, and Heath then burst onto Francis’ good through ball to crash home the second on 55 minutes.

Blake had a close-range volley parried by keeper Hazlett on the hour mark, but Leiston rather lost their way during the final half-hour with Lomas eventually squeezing home the equaliser.

LEISTON: Jones, Brown (sub Jefford, 90), Dunbar, Ainsley, Hutchings, Bullard, Hubble (sub Marsden, 78), Heath, Blake, Muir, Francis (sub Pelling, 87). Unused subs: Schaar, Cole.

HARROW: Hazlett, Webb, Lomas, Preddie, Peacock, Ochoa, Bryan, Nicholas, Charles-Smith (sub Cumberbatch, 87), Turl, Lafleur. Unused subs: Menga, Webb, Newman, Laazizi.

Attendance: 267

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