Mark Morsley: Needham Market must forget about FA Cup and retain Ryman league focus

Morsley: Demanding results

Morsley: Demanding results - Credit: James Ager

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has admitted that his side’s form has been hampered by the ‘fever’ of the FA Cup.

Prior to the draw and action of the stand-out fixture which saw Morsley’s men push Conference Premier leaders Cambridge United all the way but just fall short with a 1-0 defeat, Needham were flying having not lost a league game all season.

However, since then Needham failed to win any of their five games and looked to have lost track in the bread and butter of the league.

When asked if his side had been affected by the FA Cup, Morsley had no shadow of a doubt that it has had some bearing on proceedings.

“Oh, massively,” said the Needham boss.

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“There was somewhat of a circus around that game, and understandably so.

“It was a massive game for the club, the fans and the community so it would of been a distraction to any sized club – let alone us!”

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Morsley’s men haven’t won in the league, where they currently sit smack-bang in the middle in 12th position, since the end of September but the former Leiston boss who joined Needham in the summer isn’t hitting the panic button just yet.

“To be fair we’ve only played three league games since then with all kinds of cup action taking over,” said Morsley.

“The defeat to Redbridge a week before the Cambridge game was overshadowed really so I’m overlooking that while a point away at Aveley with 10 men wasn’t the worst result in the world.”

A result Morsley isn’t accepting excuses for though is Saturday’s 2-1 defeat away at Harlow Town.

“The Harlow game really annoyed me,” confessed Morsley.

“We’ve dominated the game for so long but just haven’t been able to put the ball in the back of the net.

“We were so on top that if we couldn’t score the least we should come out with is a 0-0 draw.

“But two sloppy goals with people not doing their jobs cost us and that’s a real disappointment.”

Indeed, Morsley has fired a warning to his squad – who face a congested run of Saturday and Tuesday fixtures throughout November.

“We’ve had two hard training sessions this week and we’ve really looked closely at patterns of play and certain individual performances of late,” said the Needham boss.

“I think one or two players need to be reminded of certain standards we expect them to reach.”

Morsley is looking for a reaction from his players today as they travel to 15th-placed Cheshunt.

“I expect us to go there and win,” demanded Morsley.

“If we want to be realistic candidates to get out of this league we should be winning this.

“I believe we’re good enough to go up and have told my squad that but it is important now that we get back to basics in the league because ultimately promotion is the focus.”

And Morsley is seeing today’s game as one that can dictate which direction his side will take during the remainder of the season.

He concluded: “It’s still very early but I think today will show me where we are going and set the pattern for our season.”

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