Needham Market boss Mark Morsley knows his side need to adapt to life at the bottom

Needham manager Mark Morsley issues instructions to his side

Needham manager Mark Morsley issues instructions to his side - Credit: James Ager

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley says his team have to adapt better to life at the bottom of the Ryman Premier and the spectre of a relegation battle, ahead of tonight’s crunch home clash with Grays.

One of the reasons the Marketmen find themselves at the wrong end of the table, just four points clear of the relegation zone, is their inability to string together a consistent run of home victories – Needham have won just four games at Bloomfields this season.

“Our away form has been fairly good, but our home form has been fairly poor,” said Morsley, who is expected to play youngster Jordan Dye at right-back this evening, after the former Brantham loanee filled in impressively at the weekend as a result of Ian Miller’s (illness).

“We have struggled with the pitch (at Bloomfields), it’s been difficult, and that’s a problem the club has to address.

“We worked on a slightly different system prior to our last home game, but that was cancelled so we didn’t get to try it.”

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Needham added another crucial point to their league tally at the weekend with a 0-0 draw at Lewes and will now look to capitalise on that at Bloomfields this evening.

“We earned a clean sheet which was pleasing but our second half performance was indicative of a team that didn’t want to lose the game rather than trying to win it,” added Morsley.

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“Maybe there is a psychological element to it as the bulk of my players have been in successful teams over the last two seasons, culminating in promotion last season.

“Being in a relegation battle brings a different kind of pressure and expectation and we have not quite adapted to that just yet.”

Elsewhere tonight, Leiston, in eighth, will move up to sixth, outside the play-offs on goal difference with an away win at fellow top five contenders, Billericay Town.

Meanwhile, Ryman League Division One North club Witham Town strengthened their squad ahead of their surprise 2-1 win at high-flying Thurrock on Saturday.

Garry Kimble’s side snapped up striker Stuart Zanone from league rivals Cheshunt.

Zanone has also worn the colours of Sevenoaks, Rochester United, Thamesmead Town and Kent Invicta League side Bly Spartans, netted 47 goals last season.

In the Ryman North tonight, Brightlingsea go to Haringey.

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