Leiston display heart and sole in defeat

THEIR fans took off their shoes and partied into the night.

Mike Bacon

THEIR fans took off their shoes and partied into the night.

Plucky Leiston may have bowed out of the FA Cup in last night's first round replay at Fleetwood, but they left this season's competition with their heads held high.

Despite the disappointment of defeat, two second-half goals proving enough for the home side at Highbury Stadium, the Suffolk club have done themselves proud, and with almost £50,000 banked after this season's FA Cup heroics, it was a time of happy reflection on the team's achievements.

Leiston fans' party piece is to hold a shoe up above their heads to signify their support for the club, with almost 150 of them making the long trek to the north-west. Supporters have adopted the unusual celebration as 'lace' (as in Leis-ton) sees them wave their shoes above their heads.

And the team, despite defeat, didn't let them down, receiving masses of plaudits for their efforts after two second-half goals from Andy Bell and Adam Warlow sealed their fate.

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Georges Santos, the former Ipswich Town defender and currently with Fleetwood, was cup-tied but sat in the stands to watch his side win.

“Again I was so surprised how plucky Leiston were,” he said.

“They tried to play football throughout and decent football too. They deserve loads of compliments for their efforts because they were a credit to themselves.”

Indeed it took Fleetwood, from the Blue Square North and three rungs above Leiston in the non-league pyramid, more than two-and-a-quarter hours to break the Ridgeons League Premier Division side down after the first game finished goalless at Victory Road, Bell thumping home from distance.

Warlow added a second 12 minutes from time to ensure it is Fleetwood who entertain Hartlepool in the second round.

“At half-time and at 0-0 we were delighted,” Leiston defender Brett Girling said.

“But at the start of the second-half they came at us from the off and we had a couple of lapses of concentration. We played some good football, but our final ball wasn't good enough This is about our ninth or tenth tie in the FA Cup this season and I think we will all remember them all.”

And so they should, Leiston have done the Ridgeons League proud, so have their shoe-waving fans.

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