Leiston’s Matt Rutterford was on target in their 1-1 draw with at AFC Rushden & Diamons. Photo: PAUL VOLLER
Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division CentralAFC Rushden & Diamonds 1Leiston 1Leiston made their first-ever visit to AFC Rushden & Diamonds and came away with a well deserved point, which on another day could easily have been all three, writes Trevor Elmy.
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Tom Bullard failed a fitness test before the game so George Keys retained his place in the centre of defence. Will Davies came in for his first ever start, and Christy Finch was restored to the starting line-up.The opening 20 minutes were mainly confined to midfield action with no real efforts on goal from either side. However in the 23rd minute Rushden took the lead when, from a deep cross from the right-hand side, Ashton rose to send a looping header over Marcus Garnham in the Leiston goal.Garnham then produced a fine save on 34 minutes to deny Reynolds.The second half proved to be very different to the first with Leiston taking the game to their hosts. In the 48th minute Finch’s effort on goal looped up and over Heath in the home goal and, with Davies waiting to head the ball in, it just clipped the crossbar and bounced behind him. But seven minutes later good work by Matt Blake set up Matt Rutterford to curl his shot home from 12 yards for a deserved equaliser.Kyle Hammond was upended just outside the area and Byron Lawrence sent his free-kick just wide of the left hand post. Finch was then set up by Blake but his shot was blocked and from the resultant corner Finch saw another effort well saved by Heath. On 71 minutes the impressive Rutterford played a superb ball to the advancing Blake, who rounded Heath but couldn’t get enough power on his shot and the ball was cleared from the line by Tyson Fury lookalike Liam Dolman.Despite enjoying the majority of possession for the rest of the game Leiston were unable to create another clear chance. In the final few minutes recent signing Josh Hitter came on for his debut in a Leiston shirt, replacing Rutterford.