Leiston slump to fourth straight Ryman Premier defeat, against Merstham

Leiston's Niko Muir gets crowded out against Merstham

Leiston's Niko Muir gets crowded out against Merstham - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

When it rains, it pours.

Seb Dunbar wins this aerial battle for Leiston against Merstham

Seb Dunbar wins this aerial battle for Leiston against Merstham - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Leiston fell to their fourth Ryman Premier Division defeat in a row last night, at a very wet Victory Road, with visitors Merstham taking the points courtesy of two super strikes.

Dean McDonald and Simon Cooper scored two stunning goals to sink the Blues, who had enough chances to win this game, but lacked a bit of luck and confidence.

Leiston opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Terrific work from Niko Muir and Joe Francis saw the pair assist Byron Lawrence, and after his shot was blocked, Francis’ stabbed follow-up finally went in off the unfortunate Anton Douglas for an own goal.

Merstham celebrate Dean McDonald's goal

Merstham celebrate Dean McDonald's goal - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

The Blues then hit the woodwork twice in quick succession.


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A flowing team move involving Lawrence and Blake saw Francis head onto the post, with a superb block from Cooper denying Lawrence on the rebound.

Less than two minutes later, the frame of the goal was rattling again. Gareth Heath sent Francis scampering, and after he cut in on his left foot to deliver to Muir, the striker saw his powerful header crash against the crossbar.

Jake Hutchings attempts an overhead kick

Jake Hutchings attempts an overhead kick - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

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Merstham punished Leiston for these missed chances immediately. Ex-Ipswich Town winger McDonald was allowed too much time on the edge of the box, and his weaving run was finished with aplomb into the roof of the net after 31 minutes.

The front-runner then miscued, from Alex Addai’s cross, five minutes later, as the sides went into the break level.

After Jacob Marsden goalkeeper saved brilliantly from Tom Kavanagh, Merstham took the lead through Cooper’s 52nd-minute wonderstrike. The full-back quickly spotted Marsden off his goal line after the referee had awarded a free-kick, and sent his soaring effort over the helpless ‘keeper from 45 yards.

Leiston's Jake Hutchings and Tom Bullard, both go for the ball as the home side pile on the pressure

Leiston's Jake Hutchings and Tom Bullard, both go for the ball as the home side pile on the pressure against Merstham - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Leiston then saw numerous efforts blocked, with Josh Smith saving well from Francis, and an almighty goalmouth scramble somehow being hacked clear.

Smith nearly palmed Blake’s weak effort in, but it just wasn’t to be for Leiston, on a very damp and frustrating night.

For visitors Merstham, this was their fourth win in five league games as they continue to pull away from the drop zone.

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