REACTION: Having knocked holders Bury Town out of the competition in a thrilling 3-2 encounter at Victory Road, Leiston boss Steve Ball is targeting Suffolk Premier Cup success for his side
- Credit: Archant
After knocking out last season’s winners of the competition in Bury Town in the opening round of an enthralling Suffolk Premier Cup tie on Tuesday evening, Leiston boss Steve Ball has backed his men to win the competition this time around.
A cracking match in front of a thoroughly entertained Victory Road crowd saw Leiston triumph 3-2 against their Ryman Premier Division rivals, and progress into the last eight of the competition.
Goals in the opening quarter of the match from former Bury Town man Craig Parker (6’), Gareth Heath (19’), and Leon Ottley-Gooch (22’) ultimately sealed Leiston’s progression, although Bury twice fought back with strikes from Joe Benjamin (16’) and Jordan Patrick (56’).
“It’s always nice to have a good run in the cup, this is a cup we can definitely win,” said Ball, post-match.
“I was delighted with the first half, that’s really much more like us and that’s what has got us to where we are in the league (fifth), and I thought we outplayed Bury for the first half.
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“Second half, credit to them. Their changing room was quite lively at half-time, a few words were said which we heard and they’ve come out and got a reaction, but I always sort of felt that we were in control.”
Whereas Bury have won the prestigious competition, of which the final is played at Portman Road, a total of 12 times, Leiston have strangely never won it – something Ball is looking to change this season.
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“Absolutely,” the Leiston boss responded when questioned if he wants to amend that stat this season.
He continued: “Every cup competition is great and I think we’ve got to do our best to win it.
“I’m sure whoever we get in the next round will be tough but it’s not many away from Portman Road.”
Leiston didn’t take long to get into their stride against Bury as Parker buried a well-worked set-piece into the net after just six minutes.
“We’ve got to do more of that type of thing,” said Ball afterwards.
“Richard Wilkins (now Leiston’s assistant manager after 14 years in charge of Bury) has got some great ideas and that’s actually his corner from Bury so I’m surprised Bury didn’t know about it!”
Following this strike, Bury frontman Benjamin nestled in a fantastic free-flowing equaliser before Leiston grabbed two quick-fire goals through Heath and Ottley-Gooch in the aftermath of Stuart Boardley’s long-throws, something that infuriated Bury boss Ben Chenery.
“They’re (long-throws) stuff you have to deal with as defenders, you have to organise, you have to be strong and win headers and we didn’t win the first one or the second one, and that was really disappointing for me,” he added.
The boss also admitted that a lacklustre first-half performance ultimately saw his side’s defence of a competition, that has been favourable to them in previous seasons, disappear.
“We’ve really given them three goals,” he said post-match.
“The first one’s not a bad move by them and we’ve not pressed Craig Parker and he’s put it in, but the other two we’ve gifted to them.
“We’ve had to work our socks off for ours but teams aren’t giving us anything so we’ve got to stop giving them opportunities.”
Bury significantly improved in the second half and following Patrick’s well-taken goal, they looked to set up a grandstand finish.
“I’m really pleased with the character we showed second half,” said Chenery. “Disappointed to go out yes, but I felt we were excellent second half, and with a bit more luck we could’ve got back to 3-3 and maybe we could have gone on and won it but it wasn’t to be.”