Match Report by KEVIN HAND,Photographs by GRANTY & WOODY
Stratford Town 3 v 1 Leiston HT (1-1)
Saturday 05 October 2019 3.00 pm BetVictor SLPDC at the Arden Garages Stadium
• A hit………...
In the end it was ‘Eze.’ Entering the 85th minute with Town dominant and leading by 2 goals to 1 Abraham Eze popped up with a third goal to secure all three points from rock-bottom club Leiston.
There were changes again in Stratford’s starting eleven. Goalkeeper Mitchell Allen and central defender Kyle Rowley debuted and George Heaven and Kairo Edwards-John made home debuts. Liam Hughes returned after suspension. Town lined up 4-3-3 with Hancocks and Vann at wing back.
Once again Town made a dreadful start. After quiet opening minutes Leiston struck on 5 through Thomas Hughes. A long cross from the right sailed over Dan Vann’s head and as he tussled with Hughes the Leiston wingman seemed to get lucky with a kind ricochet and the ball flew into the bottom left corner of Allen’s goal.
The crowd was edgy, nervous even but encouraged by a bright Town response through Wilson, Wreh and Edwards-John. On 9 minutes a Hancocks corner was dropped by keeper Beckwith and the ball squirmed away to safety. Action of an accidental and unfortunate kind beset Stratford on 18 minutes when Heaven and Rowe collided competing for the same ball. As they fell it was quickly clear Heaven was badly injured. He eventually withdrew on 28 minutes with Mitchell Glover coming into midfield and Hughes dropping into central defence.
Still Town pressed and impressed. On 30 minutes Wreh wriggled free from his markers and his shot was diverted for a corner. It was three minutes later that Town achieved parity. Glover found Edwards-John on the left and Town’s effervescent winger cut in before firing into the bottom left hand corner of Beckwith’s net.
Town was now dominating in midfield with Oulton and Rowe working tirelessly for the team. It was Rowe who found Edwards-John on 39 minutes deep in Leiston territory. KEJ’s first time control was superb and he raced in on goal to release a ‘thunderbolt’ that rattled the bar and then ran to safety. A Hancocks’ corner on 42 had Beckwith palming the ball over the bar.
Town carried on after the break with Oulton at the heart of everything. But it was Wilson who played in Wreh on 52 minutes. Wreh strode forward with the Leiston defence appealing vainly for offside and the Town striker finished in style. There was a yellow for Leiston’s Kyle Hammond on 65 minutes after he hauled down Edwards-John and Chris Wreh nearly sealed things on 71 minutes with a shot that Beckwith turned away for a corner.
Leiston rallied briefly and they played with heart throughout with a small band of supporters encouraging them throughout. Once again it was not to be their day. But it was all up for them on 85 minutes as Edwards-John waltzed through the Leiston defence on the right to set up substitute Eze for the simplest of goals.
• A hit, a very palpable hit. Hamlet Act5 Scene2
Marstons Man of the Match – Kairo Edwards-John
Next up:Two Big home games!
Saturday 12 October 3.00pm Lowestoft (H) BetVictor SLPDC
Tuesday 15 October 7.45pm Wolverhampton Wanderers (H) Birmingham Senior Cup