Leiston boss Steve Ball expecting a strong response from his players as they visit Kingstonian this afternoon in the Ryman Premier Division on the back of three defeats in their last four

Michael Brothers (blue) has been let go by Leiston boss Steve Ball

Michael Brothers (blue) has been let go by Leiston boss Steve Ball - Credit: Su Anderson

After overseeing his side lose three of their last four games in all competitions, Leiston boss Steve Ball is expecting a response from his players at Kingstonian this afternoon in the Ryman Premier Division.

Tom Winter (blue) will look to impress Leiston boss Steve Ball again today, should he get the chance

Tom Winter (blue) will look to impress Leiston boss Steve Ball again today, should he get the chance - Credit: Su Anderson

Disappointing recent defeats at Harrow Borough (2-0), Hendon in the FA Cup (4-1), and the most disappointing defeat of all on Tuesday evening – a 2-1 home loss to a previously bottom-of-the-table VCD Athletic side – have left the Leiston chief questioning the strength of his troops’ character.

Leiston romped into an early lead against VCD on Tuesday and could have easily have been three nil up in the opening 12 minutes, but after losing their way in the match, crumbled to a shock defeat against a determined side who sensed the fear in the home team.

A 75th-minute headed equaliser from Leigh Bremner and then a 90th minute strike from danger-man Michael Power ultimately sank and deflated Leiston at the final whistle.

Asked just what went wrong on Tuesday, Ball said: “If we’re playing well as a team like you saw for the first part of the game – everyone wants the ball, everyone’s hungry, everyone’s talking, there’s a desire – but when it starts to go wrong, we can’t seem to grip the game and I have to say the character of the side at the minute is really weak.

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“We had it at Hendon, we had it at Harrow Borough the other week, and we need to sort it out because it could be a long, hard season if not.”

Leiston, who despite the setbacks, remain just one place short of the Ryman Premier Division play-offs, travel to Kingstonian today with Ball certainly looking for a reaction from his players.

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Since defeat on Tuesday, squad player Michael Brothers has been allowed to move on as Ball ponders some changes in personnel.

Winger Tom Winter was a bright spark for the Blues against VCD, as he was at the centre of all Leiston’s attacks with pace and creativity.

His withdrawal in the 63rd minute when the Blues were 1-0 up may have raised a few eyebrows, including from the player himself.

“I think that Tom did well, he didn’t play Saturday (against Hendon), he’s been in and out of the side and I thought he was a little bit leggy,” explained Ball.

“I just wanted to make two or three changes to freshen it up, it could’ve been a number of people – I decided on Tom, he’s not happy, I don’t want him to be happy, but I’ve got to be big enough to make them calls, sometimes right, sometimes wrong.”

Winter will be keen to make an impression on his manager with another energetic display this afternoon, in a game where, if the Blues can claim victory, they could move into the play-off positions again.

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