Leiston boss Mark Morsley laments late capitulations ahead of Bury Town derby
LEISTON manager Mark Morsley admits being denied memorable wins over their high-flying East Anglia rivals after conceding late goals has been frustrating ahead of their hotly-anticipated clash with Bury Town today.
The Ryman Premier outfit, bottom of the league seven weeks ago, have embarked on an eight-game unbeaten run since losing to league leaders Whitehawk on November 17, elevating them to within six points of the play-off spots.
But it could have been so much more but for late capitulations to Lowestoft on New Year’s Day – Jack Defty rescuing a point for the hosts in the last minute – and against today’s rivals Bury a week before Christmas Day when twice surrendering a two-goal lead in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Ram Meadow.
“It’s been frustrating conceding these late goals,” conceded Morsley, crowned manager of the month for December this week.
“But in August and September we wouldn’t have been 2-0 or 3-1 up against Bury; we wouldn’t have been 1-0 up against Lowestoft – we would have been beaten four or five nil.
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“Seven weeks ago we were bottom of the league and that’s a fact. Now we’re 14th.
“We are giving play-off contenders a real scare, which shows the progress we have made.”
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While entering the play-offs under the radar does not appear to be on Morsley’s agenda, bolstering his side’s defensive mindset is his next job – starting today against Richard Wilkins’ fifth-placed Bury Town at Victory Road (3pm ko).
“We want to match the intensity from that 3-3 draw but change the ending,” said Morsley, whose side ended with 10 men in a feisty affair.
“All the hype and fist-pumping was in that game, but with both teams playing mid-week I think you will see more of a football match.
“I think Bury will be a bit more wary of us. I think we surprised them last time, especially in the first-half, and Richard Wilkins said we gave them a proper game.
“It will be another great advert for Suffolk football but we want to keep our unbeaten record going.
“But they didn’t give up in that match so it will be tough.”
Leiston were moments away from clinching their fifth win out of six games on Tuesday after Gareth Heath’s first-half opener away to Lowestoft, before Defty stole a share of the points for the hosts with a late equaliser.
But Morsley believes his side can take great encouragement from that display, insisting they deserved to win.
He added: “Lowestoft had their backs against the wall on Tuesday. We were the team that kept the possession of the ball in that cauldron.
“It was a very difficult pitch in tough conditions but we were the only team brave enough to be playing good football.
“The gulf between us and the big sides is everything apart from on the pitch.
“There weren’t many in that Lowestoft squad where you would think ‘are you better than what I’ve got?’
“They’ve obviously got more experienced players but I don’t believe there is a gulf between the clubs in football terms.”