Late goal sink Hawks
Harlow Town succumbed to an injury time goal as Leiston took a smash-and-grab win from a game where the Hawks controlled much of the possession.
The visitors went ahead against the run of play just before half-time, before Alex Read equalised mid-way through the second half.
Harlow threw everything at the opposition to look for the winning goal, but in the 91st minute of the game, Matt Blake scored his and his team’s second to snatch all three points.
Leiston had their first sight of goal in the second minute. Hawks goalkeeper David Hughes pulled off a great double when he denied first Tom Bullard and then Matt Blake from close range, but he had little to do for the rest of the game.
Alex Read forced Ashlee Jones into a smart save from a powerful shot hit on the bounce, but the goalkeeper got a hand to it.
Mario Noto’s corner then caused a scramble in the Leiston box that was hooked clear off the line.
Layne Eadie and Joe Benjamin had struck up their partnership on the left, and although they were delivering balls into the box the Hawks couldn’t convert their possession into goals.
On the half hour mark Matt Blake took down the ball well on the edge of the area, but he couldn’t connect with the shot and it trickled innocently towards David Hughes to collect easily.
With half time looming, Leiston took the lead. Adeyinka Cole’s shot from inside the goal area deflected kindly into the path of Matt Blake. The striker made no mistake and slotted home to put his side one goal up going into the break.
HT: Harlow Town 0-1 Leiston
The Hawks were on top again in the second period, but valiant defensive blocks from Leiston prevented the equaliser. A low cross from Fabion Simms found Alex Read in the middle, but it was deflected away from danger.
Syrus Gordon then saw a shot from a corner blocked by defender Jack Ainsley a yard from goal as the Leiston players threw themselves at everything.
Conor Hubble had a rare sight of goal for the visitors, but following a clever turn on the edge of the 18-yard box he dragged the effort wide.
Billy Jones, who re-joined the Hawks during the week, came off the bench and almost made an instant impact. A one-two put him into space, and he stung the hands of the Leiston stopper who saved well at the near post.
The equaliser came on 71 minutes. Billy Jones flicked the ball on to Alex Read who drilled into the bottom corner for his 23rd goal of the season.
Harlow looked most likely to find a winner and continued to surge forward. Junior Dadson shot from inside the area, but Adeyinka Cole blocked to clear.
Mario Noto’s corner almost went straight in, and if it wasn’t for the agility of Ashlee Jones to tip it away it would have been an unusual goal to score.
In the dying minutes Layne Eadie grazed the cross bar and Alex Read forced yet another save as it looked like the points would be shared.
The sucker punch came on 91 minutes. A long free kick was pumped forward, and Matt Blake did well to bring it down and create space for himself. His low finish past David Hughes broke Harlow hearts, leaving the home side to wonder just how they had got nothing from this game.
FT: Harlow Town 1-2 Leiston
The Hawks remain on 57 points, and despite still being six points off 5th place a playoff spot is looking unlikely.
Next up, the Hawks travel to Burgess Hill on Tuesday 21st March. It’s a 7:30pm kick off.