Leiston looking to bounce back with a home win over Leatherhead

Leiston's Joe Francis (blue) who is hoping to make a return to action today

Leiston's Joe Francis (blue) who is hoping to make a return to action today - Credit: James Ager

Leiston will hope to bounce back from Tuesday evening’s defeat with a home win against Leatherhead in the Ryman Premier Division this afternoon.

The fifth-placed Blues were narrowly defeated 1-0 against fourth-placed Hendon in midweek, with Leiston’s play-off rivals moving eight points clear of the Suffolk side as a result.

In a game that looked destined for a draw, Leiston would have moved to within two points of Hendon had they managed to win, but Kezie Ibe stole the points for the visitors with a 77th-minute winner.

“I think it had 0-0 written all over it until we gave away an unnecessary free-kick out wide in our final third that they’ve unfortunately scrambled in a scruffy goal from,” declared Blues boss Richard Wilkins.

“It wasn’t the best game in the world, I felt both teams would have settled for a point, and we’re very disappointed to have lost the game.

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“We knew how big the game was and I think that’s why they were chuffed to bits.

“They know that they didn’t deserve to win the game.”

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The former Bury boss is therefore looking for a positive reaction against an up-and-down Leatherhead, who sit in 15th position before kick-off.

The Surrey-based outfit are certainly dangerous opponents, they top the goals scored charts away from home (24) from their 12 away games, a record equalled only by leaders Margate.

Only the top two of Margate and Maidstone have scored more league goals than Leiston (44) this season, and entertainment levels should be high at Victory Road this afternoon.

“We’ve got to make sure we get the points against Leatherhead,” added Wilkins.

“They’re one of those up-and-down teams who win two games and then lose two games.

“Often they’ll beat teams where you think ‘Oh crikey, that’s a good result’, before they lose to teams you’d think they would turnover.”

Leatherhead boss Richard Brady meanwhile says it is time for his side’s inconsistency to stop, adding that he believes his side are capable of pushing up into the top half of the table.

“We have had highs and lows this season,” he admitted.

“The highs have been quite high with a few good wins, but we haven’t been beaten by more than one goal that often.”

The Tanners boss also played down the length of the trip ahead of his side’s trip to rural Suffolk.

“It is a few hours, but if it was Millwall going to Ipswich we wouldn’t be saying it is a long trip,” he said.

“It may be long in the amateur world, but it is a couple of hours and we will go up there and try and get three points to help us get some momentum.”

Leiston, looking for three points that would see them hold on to the fifth and final play-off spot they currently occupy, will hope to welcome winger Joe Francis back into the fold today after a spell out with medial ligament damage to his knee.

Fit-again duo Craig Parker and Tom Bullard will look to reassert themselves in the starting 11, but Patrick Brothers (hamstring) is definitely out.

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