Leiston boss Steve Ball has urged the Blues to improve their home form at Victory road...starting TODAY!
Leiston host 19th-placed Enfield Town today in the Ryman Premier Division, and boss Steve Ball has urged his side to improve their home form at Victory Road.
The Blues largely drew blanks in all their three of their home league games in September, picking up just one point from a possible nine.
For a side that have aspirations of a possible play-off finish come May, that is not good enough, something Ball accepts and labels ‘bizarre’.
“It is bizarre,” said the Blues boss.
“Ever since I was first involved with Mark (Morsley, who Ball worked as assistant manager under at Victory Road previously), our home form has always been a foundation for success.
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“Since I was appointed (as first-team manager in October of last year), our home form was the real foundation for us getting up the league, and indeed at the start of this season.”
Following a blistering start at Victory Road in August, where the Blues decimated AFC Hornchurch (4-0) and Peacehaven & Telscombe (5-0), their current home form reads as won three, drawn one, lost three.
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Two of those three defeats have come recently as flat performances against at-the-time lower-table opposition in East Thurrock United and VCD Athletic (both 2-1 defeats) have left Ball a frustrated figure on the Victory Road touchline.
Speaking after his side’s stumbling display and defeat to bottom-of-the-table VCD on September 30, Ball said: “All of a sudden we seem to be nervous at home, tentative in all that we do, there’s niggles on the pitch, it’s not great and we have to sort it out.”
Today’s game therefore presents the perfect opportunity for the Blues to get back on track.
Ball’s first home game in charge of the Blues, and indeed first game in charge in general, was against Enfield, a 6-1 thumping that left the Victory Road crowd roaring in appreciation.
And Ball has urged Blues supporters to do the same this afternoon and get behind them in what is a big game for Leiston.
If they can win, the Blues will take firm hold of that fifth-place position they sit in before kick-off.
“My first game back was a 6-1 win,” confirmed the Blues boss.
“But I’d settle for a 1-0 this time. It’s nice to have a League game at home on a Saturday again (Leiston’s last home Ryman Premier match was against Met Police on September 6).
“A lot of the division’s teams are playing in the FA Cup so if we can win, we’ll get a bit of breathing space between us and the others in for that fifth place.”
Indeed, if the Blues’ home form can pick up, they have a genuine shot of reaching the play-offs as their away form is excellent, with last Saturday’s 1-0 win over a Kingstonian side they’d never beaten before epitomising that.
Ball, who is without Tom Bullard today through suspension, accepts that Leiston are already punching above their weight compared to the size of some of their rivals, but that doesn’t tame his ambition.
He said: “If we can have a good October and a good November, keeping in and around that top seven or eight, I’ll be happy. Realistically, that’ll be a great achievement for us.”