Leiston ease into the third qualifying round of Trophy after win over Melksham

Leiston's Byron Lawrence, on target for the Blues on Saturday Photo: PAUL VOLLER

Leiston's Byron Lawrence, on target for the Blues on Saturday Photo: PAUL VOLLER - Credit: Archant

Leiston 2 Melksham 1

Leiston progressed to the third qualifying round of the Buildbase FA Trophy for just the fourth time in their history as they defeated a granite Melksham side, writes Craig Cooper.

Goals from Byron Lawrence and Matt Blake sealed the deal for the Blues – a late penalty just consolation for the Wiltshire side, who battled hard.

Stuart Boardley started Matt Rutterford at right back as Kyle Hammond was suspended, while Tom Bullard came back into the side. Lawrence, Noel Aitkens, Dominic Docherty and Jake Reed were also back in the starting XI, having been rested for Tuesday night’s League Cup match with Lowestoft Town.

The first half in truth was starved of any action, with the hosts struggling to create chances.

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Lawrence fired over the crossbar early on, while shortly later Lawrence’s free kick wasn’t dealt with originally by the visitors but they eventually cleared.

Although both teams defended well in the first period, Marcus Garnham didn’t have a single shot to deal with. Lawrence went close as he struck the outside of the post with a half volley, while good play by Jake Reed set up Christy Finch but Darren Bechet in the away goal was out to collect.

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After a forgettable first half, the second was much better. Finch could have given Leiston the lead but stroked the ball just wide of Bechet’s right-hand post when well placed, but the Blues did take the lead in the 55th minute.

Patrick Brothers played a pass that enabled Reed to get in behind the Leiston defence, he then played the ball back to Lawrence who excellently curled the ball into Bechet’s top right hand corner.

Reed flashed off target on the hour mark, before getting injured and having to be replaced by Blake.

Melksham’s best player on the day Jon Davies had a good chance for the visitors, but his strike was well saved by Garnham.

Leiston controlled the game in the latter stages, and finally got the crucial second five minutes from the end of normal time. Finch’s super cross from the touch line was met by Blake who tapped home.

There was just time for the Blues to give a full debut to 17-year-old prospect Harrison Bacon before Melksham scored in the sixth minute of added-on time through a Davies penalty after Rutterford fouled in the penalty area.


Leiston:- Garnham, Rutterford, Dunbar, Aitkens, Jefford, Bullard, Lawrence (Moore 90+3 mins), Docherty, Reed (Blake 64 mins), Finch (Bacon 89 mins), Brothers. Subs not used:- Knights, Beckwith.

Attendance:- 172.

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