Leiston suffer first defeat in 15 games, at Folkestone Invicta

So close: Matt Blake is beaten to the ball by Folkestone Invicta keeper Tim Roberts during the Folke

So close: Matt Blake is beaten to the ball by Folkestone Invicta keeper Tim Roberts during the Folkestone v Leiston (Ryman Premier Leage) match at Cheriton Road, Folkestone, on 08 November 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Leiston lost their proud unbeaten league record on the Kent coast last night, well beaten by hosts Folkestone Invicta at Cheriton Road.

Below-par Leiston would have returned to the top of the table, if they had taken just a point from their 300-mile round trip, but instead they suffered their first defeat in 15 league games.

Glenn Driver’s men had won nine and drawn five of their first 14 league fixtures, but they could have no real complaints with last night’s result.

The Suffolk side were undone by two quick-fire goals just before half-time, and in truth they never really looked like plotting a way back into the game.

A close-range finish by Sam Hasler, on 42 minutes, and an 18-yard thunderbolt by right-back Jordan Wright just three minutes later settled the contest.

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Leiston huffed and puffed, but could not add to their 39 league goals for the season, in what was their eighth away game in the last nine fixtures – they are on their travels again on Saturday, away at Chippenham in the FA Trophy.

Folkestone were fresh from a resounding 6-0 win over Canvey Island on Saturday, so it was perhaps not surprising that they started brightly.

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In fact, they almost broke the deadlock on four minutes with leading scorer Ian Draycott ready to slot home, only to be denied by a last ditch tackle from Patrick Brothers.

At the other end, Leiston actually had the ball in the back of the net in the fifth minute, although the assistant referee had already raised his flag for offside, before Gareth Heath drilled home.

Joe Francis, back in the side after a hamstring injury, floated over a teasing cross on the quarter-hour mark, but Blake Saker’s header lacked power and accuracy as it drifted wide of target.

Midway through the first half and Invicta should have taken the lead. Joe Taylor had a clear of sight goal from eight yards out, side-footing his effort wide of the near post.

Only the woodwork denied Leiston an opening goal in the 39th minute, Matt Blake’s rising shot striking the post following a half-cleared corner.

But the visitors were trailing just three minutes later, Hasler volleying home at the far post from close range.

And Leiston leaked a second goal, on the stroke of half-time. Wright blasted home a cracking low drive, from the edge of the box, to leave Driver’s men staring down the barrel.

Patrick Brothers peppered the target with a long-range shot, early in the second half, but Leiston could not really get out of first gear.

Heath tried his luck with a couple of free-kicks, either side of the hour mark, but the first was well saved by keeper Tim Roberts, who caught the ball under his bar, and the second drifted well wide.

Substitute Leo Ottley-Gooch saw his close-range effort deflect over the bar on 87 minutes, and Blake then rammed in a ferocious shot in stoppage time that was smothered by Roberts.

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