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Southern League review: Leiston heartache. Trawlerboys go goal crazy! Needham point

PUBLISHED: 15:20 12 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:23 12 January 2020

Leiston players celebrate Noel Aitkens goal to put the Blues ahead against Rushden & Diamonds. But it was the visitors who netted twice late on to take the points. Photo: HANNAH PARNELL

Leiston players celebrate Noel Aitkens goal to put the Blues ahead against Rushden & Diamonds. But it was the visitors who netted twice late on to take the points. Photo: HANNAH PARNELL

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Leiston 2 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 3

Rob Eagle strokes home a penalty for Leiston on Saturday Photo: HANNAH PARNELLRob Eagle strokes home a penalty for Leiston on Saturday Photo: HANNAH PARNELL

Leiston suffered late heartache as AFC Rushden & Diamonds clinched a 90th-minute winner to break the hosts' hearts with minutes left, w.rites Craig Cooper

Leiston saw Kyle Hammond and Zak Brown fire wide early on but it was the away side who took the lead in the 28th minute when Jake Hutchings put a cross from the left into his own net. The Blues though started to get a foothold in the match and good persistence by Hammond set Brown away in the box and he was fouled to win a penalty, with Rob Eagle sending Ben Heath the wrong way from the spot kick.

In the 43rd minute, Ollie Saunders' free kick was headed on by Hutchings and Noel Aitkens headed home to put Leiston ahead at the break.

The home side's resistance was broken though on 83 minutes when Gregory Kaziboni shot home into Sam Donkin's top left hand corner.

Rushden then wasted a couple of set-pieces but in the last minute of normal time, a long throw in to the area was smashed home by captain Liam Dolman to win the game at the death.

Hitchin 0 Needham 0

After Tuesday's exciting and emphatic victory in the League Challenge Cup Needham returned to league action hoping to produce a similar performance at Hitchin's Top Field, writes Paul Munn.

However, the old saying 'chalk and cheese' sprung to mind by the end of this game which was far from a classic!

The tone of the game was set early as both teams struggled to get into their stride. Needham tried to produce an opening with a clever one-two between Adam Mills and Callum Page, who kept his place in the starting XI, but a timely Hitchin boot put a stop to it before a shot could be made. The home side also tried to fathom a chance with a decent passing move but it only resulted in a Max Ryan effort clearing the Needham bar by a distance.

The second half was better than the first in that both sides managed to carve out a few chances.

In the opening minutes both 'keepers had made regulation saves when they gathered up efforts from Joseph Marsden and Max Ryan respectively. Needham's Page put one past the left post.

Deep into time added Hitchin could have sneaked it with the final chance of the game

Jhai Dillon received the ball out on the left and delivered a great cross to pick out Alex Marsh arriving at the far post, he directed his header goalwards but he and the home fans was left in despair as it bounced off the crossbar before going out of play.

St Ives 2 Lowestoft 5

A strong wind and a heavy spongy surface gave attackers an advantage over defenders resulting in 90 minutes of thrills and goalmouth action, writes Terry Lynes.

Jake Reed, Malachi Linton and Jacek Zielonka were rampant for the Trawlerboys.

In an explosive start Ben Seymour-Shave was brought down in the area but Tibbles again came to the Trawlerboys' rescue with a superb diving save to clutch Robbie Parker's well-hit spot-kick.

This kick-started Lowestoft's game and Reed had already gone close before he again turned Tom Wood only to be brought down by the St Ives central defender. Linton stepped up to confidently convert the spot kick.

Lowestoft needed a second goal before the break and it duly arrived in added time. Zielonka's flag kick was returned into the middle by Adam Tann for Connor Deeks to hit home from the edge of the area.

If St Ives were hoping to take advantage of the conditions to get back into the game those hopes were extinguished as Lowestoft added two goals in a minute shortly after the restart.

In the 52nd minute Zielonka and Josh Curry combined down the left and the latter's excellent far-post cross picked out Miguel Lopez who headed home from close range.

Straight from the restart Lowestoft won the ball which was played beyond the St Ives defence for Reed to race through, round the keeper and slide into an empty net.

With a four-goal advantage Lowestoft switched off, allowing Wilson to pull two goals back for St Ives in the 56th and 64th minutes, but hopes of an unlikely fightback were denied as Lowestoft added their fifth with Reed heading home Zielonka's free-kick.

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