Unlucky Leiston undone by league leaders Kettering in stoppage time
- Credit: Archant
Leiston 0 Kettering Town 1
After some indifferent league form, Leiston showed a much improved performance at Victory Road, but a goal in the 94th minute robbed Stuart Boardley’s side of a well-earned point against leaders Kettering Town in front of 328 spectators, writes John Campany.
This was further compounded by the sending off of Noel Aitkens a minute later.
In consequence, the Poppies stretched their lead to 13 points at the summit and look sure favourites for promotion, whilst Leiston have now slipped to 14th in the table.
The visitors were well supported by their many excellent travelling fans that helped to swell the gate, and were overjoyed when they snatched the important goal.
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Kettering were looking to avenge the defeat inflicted upon them at Latimer Park in September when Patrick Brothers and Dominic Docherty were on target for Leiston in a 2-1 win.
The first half produced plenty of excitement and good football.
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Although the Poppies looked championship material, the home side gave as good as they got, and when required, defended through good organisation, spearheaded by the central pairing of skipper Tom Bullard and Joe Jefford, ably supported by Seb Dunbar and young Harry Knights.
In contrast, the second half was a scrappy affair and the visitors looked very ordinary finding it difficult to create chances against the fighting qualities of Boardley’s side, but had the good fortune to settle matters in stoppage time that, frankly they did not deserve – parity would have been the appropriate conclusion.
Marcus Garnham made a fine early save denying Aaron O’Connor and Lindon Meikle set up Rhys Hoeness who should have put his side ahead. On balance the visitors carried the greater threat with their pace and attacking options, but Leiston showed great resilience and were combative in midfield.
Matt Blake combined with Dunbar who fired narrowly over and Leiston’s best move saw Robert Eagle open up the Poppies defence and Dunbar beat the oncoming keeper, but his effort went agonisingly wide.
The opening of the second half saw Kyle Hammond set up Aitkens whose first time volley was struck with venom, but straight at keeper Paul White.
Kettering were increasingly frustrated looking for a goal to reinforce there promotion credentials, but hardly looked capable of a break through until deep into stoppage time when O’Connor rifled home from close in.