Victory Road, Leiston
Isthmian League Premier Division
Match Rating: 3
Following a day on the nearby fascinating Orford Ness Nature Reserve, I decided to tick off a ground that is certainly something of a geographical footballing outpost, located on the east coast of England and over 4 miles from the nearest train station.
Victory Road is located about a ten minute walk from the town centre, and with a minimum of signage guiding spectators to the ground and entrance, one enters through the ground through a smart brick turnstile block in one corner. Along the length from the entrance is quite a long stand covering a couple of terrace steps set a little way back from the pitch, then straddling the half way line is a large, spacious and welcoming clubhouse, with the tea bar contained within, and a cosier bar more akin to a regular pub available in a separate room. A long modern metallic stand is positioned on the opposite length. Behind one of the goals is a narrow stand covering a few terrace steps, whilst behind the other goal is just hard standing. In all honesty, on the eye it is a very unremarkable ground, however it was a neat and pleasant venue to visit, with the welcome from the turnstile operator particularly impressive, taking the time to ask if we were new to the ground and then taking the time to point out all of the facilities available. It is things like that that, in my experience, make visiting football grounds in Suffolk a pleasure. The programme for sale tonight was a double issue, covering last Saturday’s game, was of good quality, with 52 pages of interesting and informative material to read.
Leiston have had a good start to their season, winning five and drawing the other two of their opening seven games, although they lost on Saturday at home to leaders Grays Athletic. Enfield Town have had a difficult start to their season, winning one, drawing two and losing the other five of their opening eight games. Tonight's fixture would already be the return fixture, after Leiston came away from North London with a 0-2 win just two weeks ago.
At the end of a beautifully sunny day, this game was surprisingly even in the opening stages, but Leiston opened the scoring on 18 minutes when Joe Jefford headed back across goal and Gareth Heath headed the ball home. That gave the home side a shot in the arm, and they doubled their lead on 22 minutes with a glorious first time shot on the turn from the edge of the area which sailed over the keeper and dropped into the net, Christy Finch the goalscorer. Leiston went on to dominate the next quarter of an hour but they couldn’t add to their lead, and the visitors ended the half strongly, but couldn’t pull a goal back before the interval.
This was another enjoyable evening in East Anglia – although the ground was not as pleasant as yesterday’s experience, and the game itself was on coast mode for long spells, there was once again a friendly and welcoming feel to the club.