Leiston slip up and slip out of play-offs after Leatherhead defeat
- Credit: Archant
Leiston slipped to a fifth home League defeat on Saturday and with it slipped out of the play-off places for the first time since September as the ten men of Leatherhead held on for this Ryman Premier victory.
Richard Wilkins’ side controlled proceedings from the outset but were undone by two raids in either half by the lively front pairing from the visitors.
Looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat to rivals Hendon, the home side began strongly and were rewarded on 13 minutes.
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From their third corner of the game, Leon Ottley-Gooch saw his header cleared off the line by Richard Avery.
The ball was cleared only as far as Conor Hubble whose effort struck the post – the rebound swept home by Josh Mayhew, who celebrated his first start of an injury-riddled season with his first Leiston goal.
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Two minutes later, Leatherhead had their first sight of goal as Tom Bullard pulled back Kieran Hughes-Mason for his eighth booking of the season, but Adam Green’s free-kick was straight at Danny Gay.
Leiston looked in control, so it was against the run of play when the visitors levelled on 28 minutes when a long-range effort from Vasilieios Karagiannis dipped and deceived Gay as it soared into the right-hand corner.
While Leiston’s build-up play was patient, Leatherhead’s approach was more direct and certainly effective for them on the heavy surface.
As the spectators returned from their half-time drink, Leatherhead took the lead.
Avery’s long clearance set Hughes-Mason clear and after outpacing Bullard, slid his shot beyond the advancing Gay from the right-hand side of the box for his 11th goal of the season just 34 seconds in.
Leiston responded well, camping themselves in the visitors half.
Gareth Heath flashed an effort wide from a clever Mayhew lay off before the Leiston striker, who had a fine game, forced Louis Wells into a low save on the hour.
But the Leatherhead custodian did better two minutes later with a stunning flying save to keep out Stuart Boardley’s 30-yard stinging half-volley.
Leiston then created the best move of the match on 66 minutes with Heath bursting through midfield, and after a clever exchange with Mayhew, the Blues leading scorer saw his effort from the edge of the box drift inches wide with Wells rooted to the spot.
The impetus looked to be firmly with the home side when Adam Green received a straight red card for a rash challenge on Danny Cunningham after 75 minutes, but despite continued pressure, Leatherhead stood firm to frustrate the home side.