Ray shines a beam of light for Woodbridge on wet day at Notcutts

Mark Ray celebrates putting the Woodpeckers 1-0 up against Leiston Reserves on Saturday. Photo: PAUL LEECH

Mark Ray celebrates putting the Woodpeckers 1-0 up against Leiston Reserves on Saturday. Photo: PAUL LEECH

Paul Leech

Woodbridge 3 Leiston Res 1

Leiston Reserves 'keeper Charlie Beckwith punches clear a Woodbridge corner. Photo: PAUL LEECH Leiston Reserves 'keeper Charlie Beckwith punches clear a Woodbridge corner. Photo: PAUL LEECH

Woodbridge Town are second in the table on goal difference to Whitton, after a deserved win against a well-organised Leiston Reserves side, top scorer Mark Ray scoring another two goals at a wet Notcutts Park, writes John Middleditch.

Whitton’s thumping 11-2 win over Norwich United Reserves moves them top in what is proving an exciting tussle for the title. Third placed Framlingham saw their game called off.

On Saturday, Leiston’s Josh Cheetham’s saw his shot parried for a corner by home keeper Alfie Stronge after four minutes and a minute later Jac Garrad’s corner was headed over the bar by Harry Knights.

Matt Mackenzie’s cross was headed wide by Ray and captian Alex Greggor’s shot from 20 yards tested away keeper Charlie Beckwith after 19 minutes.

Ben Garnham’s corner found Ray but his effort was deflected for a corner by the away defence.

Marco Makris’ header for an away corner after 37 minutes cleared an away attack and after an excellent tackle by Liam Scopes, his accurate pass found Ray and his shot beat Beckwith with a sublime finish to make it 1-0 after 38 minutes.

Mackenzie’s deflected shot was well saved by Beckwith on the stroke of half-time as the home side threatened again, but one goal separated the teams at the break.

Mackenzie’s shot missed the target after 47 minutes and Matt Rutterford’s shot also failed to trouble the keeper after 56 minutes.

The away side equalised after 58 minutes when Kyle Cassell’s shot was parried by Stronge and Garrard was first to the rebound to make it 1-1.

The Woodpeckers regained their lead just four minutes later when Garnham’s pass found Mackenzie and his cross was headed in by Ray via the hands of Beckwith.

The home side piled on the pressure and after 67 minutes Ray’s effort just missed the target but a minute later it was 3-1 when another Scopes’ through ball found Ryan Keeble and he easily beat the defender for pace and finished with aplomb to give Beckwith no chance.

Mackenzie’s pass after 82 minutes was well controlled by Keeble but his effort missed the target and in the last minute Mackenzie’s superb run deserved better and his final shot hit the post but another win for the Woodpeckers on a difficult playing surface but credit to both teams and a healthy crowd who braved the wet weather.

Woodbridge: Stronge, Edwards, Makris, Garnham, Sheppard, Scopes, Mackenzie, Greggor (Capt), Ray, Bowman, Keeble, Subs: Southgate for Garnham 76 Mins, Sinclair for Bowman 80 Mins, Churchyard for Greggor 84 Mins, Unused: Hammond, Rea.
Leiston Reserves: Beckwith, Groom, Norman, Bell, Knights, Garrard, Oxbrow, Rutterford, Cassell, Blades, Cheetham, Subs: Mansfield, Snowling, Seaber, Oliver, McGuckin.
Referee: Mahdi Elhalawany, Assistants: Daren Bigg, Johanna Withams.
Att: 131

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