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Unbeaten start goes on, but Leiston left to rue missed chances in draw

PUBLISHED: 15:48 08 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:49 08 October 2017

Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2
Jack Ainsley heads home Leiston's second equaliser.

Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2 Jack Ainsley heads home Leiston's second equaliser.

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Leiston maintained their unbeaten start to the Bostik League Premier Division season with a 2-2 draw against Staines Town at Victory Road.

Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2
Joe Jefford heads in Leiston's first half equaliser. Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2 Joe Jefford heads in Leiston's first half equaliser.

Playing in front of 323 spectators on national Non-League Day, Glen Driver’s side should have taken all three points having missed gilt-edge chances in a second half that they largely dominated against the league’s top scorers.

Staines opened strongly. Elliott Buchanan tested Marcus Garnham in the first minute, then the visitors went ahead in the ninth minute when Max Worsfold crossed and Buchanan found space to head home.

Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2
Joe Jefford celebrates with Leiston team-mates. Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2 Joe Jefford celebrates with Leiston team-mates.

Leiston immediately responded. Seb Dunbar set up Dominic Docherty, he drilled a shot from close-range, but Liam Driscoll saved at point blank. Byron Lawrence then fired in from 25 yards but the keeper comfortably held.

The home side eventually equalised in the 14th minute when Joe Marsden’s deep corner was headed back across goal by Tom Bullard for Joe Jefford to head home.

Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2
Players from both sides appear to be queueing up for the ball. Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2 Players from both sides appear to be queueing up for the ball.

Both sides looked dangerous in the final third. Garnham made a good save from league top-scorer Mo Bettamer, while Docherty shot wide following a penetrative run from Marsden.

It was a good opening spell after the break with Patrick Brothers driving just wide, then Matt Blake missed a great chance in front of goal with a weak shot straight at Driscoll.

Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2
A midfield melee. Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2 A midfield melee.

Jefford’s header then presented Docherty with another good chance with the keeper stranded, but he couldn’t convert.

Leiston paid the penalty for their profligacy when, on 59 minutes, the dangerous Bettamer took advantage of space to release Buchanan who steered his effort high into the roof of the net for his second.

Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2
Staines keeper Liam Driscoll punches clear. Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2 Staines keeper Liam Driscoll punches clear.

The home side then dominated in their search of another equaliser and deservedly drew level on 78 minutes when substitute Robert Eagle’s first touch preceded an excellent cross was headed home by man-of-the-match Jack Ainsley.

Ainsley then contrived to miss a great chance to win the game in stoppage-time. Driver said: “He had too much time and was caught between chipping the keeper and shooting past him.”

Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2
Ben Martin and Dominic Docherty challenge for possession. Bostik Premier - Leiston 2 Staines 2 Ben Martin and Dominic Docherty challenge for possession.

Third-place Leiston trail leaders Billericay Town by two points.

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