Leiston 4 Chatham Town 0
Four unanswered goals for the League leaders as the Blues held off a game Chatham Town side. Michael Brothers opened the scoring on seven minutes and the lead was doubled by the interval from Gareth Heath. It was Gareth Heath again on 69 minutes with the third and Rhys Henry wrapped up the scoring with ten minutes remaining.
After the midweek defeat in the Suffolk Premier Cup the Blues returned to League action looking to keep their four point lead in-tact. Sheridan Driver was missing with a hamstring injury but the cup tied Jemel Fox returned to the side. In front of another healthy crowd Chatham kicked off attacking the Fairground End and the Kent visitors started brightly and Jeffrey saw his header from Barton’s cross sent straight at Johnson. A lively start to the game was brought a goal on 7 minutes and it went to the home side. P Brothers cross-field pass picked out Henry whose early ball released M Brothers wide on the right. He still had plenty to do but after cutting inside Barton he sent a shot across Roberts into the right hand corner just when it looked like the opportunity had passed. The goal failed to dampen the visitors spirits and had a good shout for a penalty on 13 minutes. Hales shot through a ruck of players from a corner was parried by Johnson and in the melee Fuller went down for what looked like a clear penalty but it wasn’t given. Eight minutes later the visitors wasted a great chance after a clever build up. Jeffrey did well on the left and his pass to the edge of the box was dummied by Fuller into the path of Hales whose drive was wide of the goal. P Brothers then went into Referee McIntyre’s book for a late foul on Solly before Leiston doubled their lead. Head’s long clearance was flicked on by Heath but with M Brothers offside he couldn’t latch on to it so while the visitors hesitated Heath reacted quickest and raced onto the loose ball. As Roberts raced from goal Heath skipped around him and from a fairly tight angle delicately fired home for a fine goal. The second goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Chatham and just before the interval some good aerial work by Ottley-Gooch set up Head whose shot skimmed across the face of goal. The second period commenced with Leiston on top while the visitors were battling hard in midfield yet unable to create anything in the final third. As the game progressed it became stretched allowing Leiston plenty of opportunities to counter attack. Just after the hour a fine break from Ottley-Gooch set up M Brothers who cut inside Solly but fired straight at Roberts. But with twenty minutes remaining Heath grabbed the third. M Brothers smart pass released Heath who took his time before sliding his shot beneath Roberts. A minute later M Brothers chased down a loose ball and tackled keeper Roberts just outside the box but then proceeded to curl his shot wide. Leiston were now dominant and Henry had the ball in the net on 73 minutes from P Brothers left wing cross but the near side Assistant’s flag cut short the celebrations. But Leiston’s leading scorer didn’t have long to wait to open his account as he raced onto Heath’s clever pass and after rounding Roberts neatly found the net. Substitute Smy had three half chances to add to the tally but was wide on each occasions as the home side eased to victory.
Another fine display against a hard working Chatham side who caused several problems. The perfect tonic for the midweek defeat but while one eye is often on other results, it’s important to keep our minds on our own game which was evident today. Just nine cup finals to go!
Leiston: Johnson, Saker, Fox, Head, Jefford, Hammond, Henry (Norfolk 84 mins), Heath, M Brothers (Smy 79 mins), Ottley-Gooch, P Brothers (Boardley 76 mins). Subs not used: Calver and Munson.
Chatham Town: Roberts, Potter, Barton (Laker 60 mins), Solly (Robinson 71 mins), Hill, Metitiri, Newman, Hales, Fuller, Jeffrey, Tilley. Subs not used: Watson, Lawrence and Kessell.
Legal & General Man of the Match: Joe Jefford