Needham Market boss concerned over number of heavy losses his team have endured this season

Mark Morsley

Mark Morsley - Credit: Archant

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley admits his side have a tendency to capitulate in games, the latest instance being Monday’s 5-1 defeat at Leiston in the Suffolk derby.

The Marketmen were never at the races at Victory Road – Leiston following up their 4-0 victory at Needham in August – and had it not been for goalkeeper Danny Gay and some off-target finishing, the margin of defeat could have been even greater.

The result came totally out of the blue, Needham having won five of their last six league games, and Morsley’s men remain in a strong position towards the summit of the table, sitting a point behind leaders Bognor Regis and seven points clear of fellow play-off chasers, Leiston.

And, with 20 games left to play, there is plenty of time for Needham to recover from such a damaging reverse, but they can’t afford too many more embarrassing humblings.

After the game at Leiston, Morsley said: “That’s the story of our season, it’s two-fold.

“We have done very well, but we have also had some hammerings – twice against Leiston, while Harlow and Merstham both smashed us.

“We have got that in us and, as a team, there is still a bit of work to do, but that won’t take away what a season we have had.”

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Any negative result is difficult for a manager to take, but to lose so heavily against your former club is particularly galling – ex-Sudbury boss Morsley, having previously managed at Leiston.

“I have been doing this job a lot of years and, unfortunately, when you are someone like myself, who is relatively high-profile and has been at Sudbury and Leiston, such games will always have an edge,” he said.

“We seem to be doing OK against Sudbury but not Leiston, but let’s not forget what our target was in our second season at Ryman Premier level.

“The aim was to establish ourselves at this level and bring through more youngsters.

“We are not the big-money powers like Leiston or one or two others in the division.

“We are a developing club and have developed one or two youngsters that have given us an edge and we can hopefully do that with one or two more.”

He added: “We have exceeded ourselves whatever happens, we have had a good season, but it just sticks in the throat a bit today (against Leiston).”

There were few positives to come out of Monday’s mauling, but the performances of Morsley’s three substitutes were plus points.

“Keiran Morphew was back from a broken ankle and put in some good challenges – he was excellent,” enthused Morsley.

“Ollie Fenn has not played in two months and did well, while Ollie Snaith was busy.

“They did really well and that sort of energy and endeavour, we never had that (before the substitutions), and that’s a shame.”

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