Leiston stay in play-off frame after overcoming tough Harrow Borough side

Leiston's Blake Saker on the ball against Harrow Borough

Leiston's Blake Saker on the ball against Harrow Borough - Credit: Su Anderson

Leiston moved up to sixth in the Ryman Premier Division – outside the play-offs on goal difference – after a hard-fought victory against struggling Harrow Borough last night.

Goals from Christy Finch and substitute Jake Taylor sealed the points for the Blues, but it wasn’t all plain sailing for Richard Wilkins’ men, Harrow Borough being denied on several occasions by Leiston goalkeeper, and man-of-the match, Ashlee Jones.

Both goals came on the counter-attack, Leiston having to soak up a fair amount of pressure, and while the Blues were much-improved in the second half, the visitors will feel hard done by that they didn’t leave Suffolk with at least a point.

On a freezing cold evening at Victory Road, Leiston took a while to warm-up in the first half, against a side that were belying their lowly status.

Jones was by far the busier of the goalkeepers in the first half, pulling off three splendid saves to keep the Blues’ clean sheet intact and watching a Spencer McCall header hit the foot of the post as the game approached injury-time at the end of the first half.

The former Lowestoft stopper was called into action as early as the third minute when he had to stop James Dobson’s effort from 45 yards, the left-back playing the ball back into the penalty box with power – his strike almost bouncing over Jones.

The dangerous Fejiri Okenabihrie was next to test Jones two minutes later, the goalkeeper having to use every inch of his sizeable frame to narrow the striker’s angle and tip his resultant shot over the bar, after the forward had weaved in between two defenders.

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Lewis Driver then went close with a header, before Jones then denied Marc Charles-Smith after Leiston failed to clear a corner properly.

The hosts were second best and it wasn’t until Finch failed to connect with Gareth Heath’s cross, after a neat one-two on 22 minutes, that Leiston threatened.

The visitors continued to show more attacking threat, but Leiston defended well and were rewarded for their spirit on the half-hour when they scored against the run of play.

After clearing another Harrow Borough foray, Billy Clark lobbed the ball forward, Finch beat the offside trap and, from a narrow angle, rounded goalkeeper Joe McDowell before scoring from close range.

That came seconds after Finch had squandered a close range header, the Blues struggling to make an impact,

The visitors’ heads did not drop though after the goal and Jones made another good save from Okenbahirie early in the second period.

Dobson also flashed an early effort wide for the visitors in the second half, before the Blues began to get a little bit of a grip on the game.

Leiston substitute Taylor lobbed a half-chance over the bar, before at the other end, Michael Bryan’s goalbound shot was cleared by Joe Jefford.

Leiston sealed the game in the 88th minute, Finch breaking away down the left, running into the penalty box and crossing for Taylor who finished into an open goal six yards out.

There was still time for another Borough chance though, Okenabihrie turning sharply in the box, before seeing his shot hit the post and go out for a goal kick with Jones beaten.

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