Award-winning Leiston are aiming high

MANAGER Mark Morsley has vowed that his award-winning Leiston side “are not going to just make the numbers up” in the Ryman League Premier Division next season.

Leiston, who have won back-to-back promotions after adding the Ryman League Division One North title to the Ridgeons League Premier Division last season, are the Ipswich Star newspaper’s Team of the Year.

On hearing the news Morsley’s said: “That is fantastic. It is a great accolade for everyone at the club – not just the players, but the coaches and a lot of people behind the scenes – because it has been a real team effort.”

News of the award, sponsored by Club Colours, came just days after Leiston announced that Steve Foley, the ex-Colchester United, Norwich City and Ipswich Town coach would be joining the club next season and that Leiston had also signed much sought-after Brantham Athletic striker Ollie Mann and Danny Thrower from Needham Market.

Looking back over the past season Morsley said: “I felt we could get to the play-offs because we had enough quality in the squad, but not enough depth to give us that edge.

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“One or two things changed; goalkeeper Louis Johnson made a huge contribution after he signed, Rhys Henry came in and hit the ground running and scored some vital goals and we went on a 25-game unbeaten run.

“We hit the top around Christmas time and I felt we had that mentality that we were not going to get beaten and there was also a real belief in the side. I felt we had a chance because we kept winning and other teams around us kept losing.

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“We were lucky injury-wise in defence and sides got frustrated against us and we won a lot of games 1-0. I felt we grew into the role as champions as the season went on.”

Morsley admitted that the speed of Leiston’s rapid rise to the Ryman Premier had surprised even him.

“When I met (chairman) Andy Crisp and (vice-chairman) Peter Mayhew two years ago I felt that Leiston could be a Ryman Premier club, although not in just two years’ time.

“It is not a case of now we have got there that’s it, it is more that we now want to raise the bar in terms of the attitude, commitment and fitness of the playing squad for next season. I want the club to be competitive at this level and become established in the top eight and see where it takes us.

“I am hugely proud of the squad, which will basically be the same, but we need to be a bit stronger because we are not going to just make the numbers up.”

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