Prolific Matt Blake fires home key second as Leiston move up to fourth spot

Niko Muir scores the opening goal for Leiston in their 2-1 home win over Folkestone Invicta. Picture

Niko Muir scores the opening goal for Leiston in their 2-1 home win over Folkestone Invicta. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Leiston 2 Folkestone Invicta 1

Matt Blake’s 40th goal of the season allowed Leiston to move back into the Ryman Premier Division play-offs tonight.

Menacing striker Blake struck with a decisive 42nd-minute goal to lift the Blues up to fourth position in the league, after they edged past an impressive Folkestone Invicta side.

Blake was in the mood early on, smashing a fierce shot just too high in the sixth minute.

Things could have been different had Ian Draycott capitalised on uncertainty in the home defence three minutes later, but the striker tried to be too precise with his shot and fired wide.

Joseph Taylor saw a header well-saved, but midway through the half, Leiston found their groove.

Blake should have scored when he broke an adventurous Folkestone offside trap, before just failing to get on the end of a dangerous Seb Dunbar cross.

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It was from another excellent Dunbar cross that Leiston opened the scoring, Muir deftly heading home in the 30th minute.

Only some brave Leiston defending, on the goal-line, denied Folkestone an equaliser after Ollie Sanders-Morris, the same match referee Leiston boss Glenn Driver heavily criticised after losing on penalties to Needham last week, awarded the visitors an indirect free-kick for a passback.

But Leiston doubled their lead, in the 42nd minute, through Blake. The striker latched onto a sloppy pass from Philip Starkey, before racing clear and finishing in typically cool fashion.

Folkestone gave themselves hope just after the break. Ashlee Jones couldn’t hold onto Sam Hasler’s fierce 52nd-minute strike, and Taylor gobbled up the rebound.

In fact, the visitors rallied for the remainder of the second period. Draycott and Miles Cornwell were narrowly off target just after the goal, and Hasler nearly broke the Leiston crossbar with a wonderful effort from 25 yards that Jones stood and admired.

Hasler then saw a well-struck free-kick held by Jones after Muir fouled the same player right on the edge of the box in the 77th minute.

Muir saw an 84th-minute effort chalked out for offside, after sub Armani Schaar struck Blake’s cross, and despite a few nervy moments, Leiston held on to move back into the top five.

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