Morsley prepares to renew battles with Dartford
A FAMILIAR footballing name could stand between Leiston and a lucrative FA Cup First Round match as Dartford descend on Suffolk for this afternoon’s final qualifying tie.
Despite a difficult start to their first season in the Blue Square Bet South, Dartford striker Charlie Sheringham has scored four goals since joining at the start of the season - and notched a hat-trick in a friendly this week.
The son of Teddy and former member of Ipswich Town’s FA Youth Cup winning side, the 22-year-old could pose the biggest threat to Leiston’s chances of causing a shock in tomorrow’s FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round tie.
Certainly, Leiston boss Mark Morsley is playing down his side’s chances of causing a non-league cup upset as Leiston bid for a place in the First Round proper for the second time in three seasons.
Promising to take the game to their more-established opponents, Morsley said: “It will be a fantastic occasion for the club but we know it is going to be very tough to get a result. We will do what my teams always do and have a go at them, which means we will either win or get beat heavily.”
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The step-up in standard will be difficult enough for Leiston but they go into the match missing long-term casualty Shane Wardley who is expected to be out for three months after what could have been a career-ending fractured kneecap.
Midfield playmaker Angelo Harrop is also missing while Luke Hammond is cup-tied forcing Morsley to recall defender Matt Stace from a loan spell at Brantham.
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In addition to the �12,500 purse at stake for the victors, the visit of Dartford has somewhat personal connotations for Morsley and a number of the current Leiston side.
He explained: “When I was at Sudbury, we had some right royal battles with Dartford as we both went for the Ryman League Division One North title. “And there was some controversy when we lost after a goal was given that never went in (a fact backed up by a video of the match posted on You Tube). Dartford went on to win the title that year.
“The fact that a number of my players at Leiston were with me then at Sudbury just adds to the occasion and they have been flying in training this week.”
A big crowd of more than 700 people is expected at Victory Road with almost half of that number making the two-hour journey from Kent.
Dartford have endured a difficult start to Blue Square life after winning the Ryman Premier Division last year. But some confidence was restored with a 5-0 behind-closed-doors win against Thamesmead Town on Monday night with Sheringham scoring a hat-trick.
That said, they have won just one league game in their last seven and are yet to win away from home this season. They needed penalties to defeat lower league Canvey Island in the Third Qualifying Round, although they beat Lowestoft Town 2-1 in the round previous.
* Dartford Football Club was formed in 1888 by members of the Dartford working men’s club, but played only friendly fixtures for the first few years of their existence.
* From 1921, the club was run as a public limited liability company, unique in English football until Tottenham Hotspur followed suit some 50 years later.
* Dartford has FA Cup history on its side. In the 1930s, it became the first club outside the Football League to reach the FA Cup Third Round proper in successive seasons.
* Among their list of former managers is former England Under-21 coach Peter Taylor, the man who first made David Beckham captain of his country.