We’re back on the ball, insists Leiston chairman Andy Crisp

Leiston boss Steve Ball (right) has made a big impact at Victory Road

Leiston boss Steve Ball (right) has made a big impact at Victory Road - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Leiston chairman Andy Crisp has hailed Steve Ball’s impact since arriving at the club and is hoping the Colchester United academy coach can help move the club move even further forward.

The Blues are set to face Carshalton Athletic at home today in what will be Ball’s seventh league game in charge as first-team manager.

He began with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Enfield Town at the end of November and followed suit with three more terrific wins in December against Thamesmead Town, Bognor Regis Town and Grays Athletic.

“I’ve been really pleased with Bally’s impact,” said Crisp.

“I’ve known him a long time and know him well and he’s started very well.

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“He’s freshened things up with new ideas and he has already expressed plans to move the club forward.”

However, not everything has been that perfect at Victory Road.

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Despite their vast improvement which has seen them climb into the mid-table berths of the Ryman Premier, back-to-back league defeats to rivals Lowestoft Town (1-0) and then Hendon (3-1) have knocked the Blues’ progress back a little.

“I have no complaints about the Hendon game,” said Crisp.

“They showed their class and, as Bally said, they are one of the best sides he’s seen since he came to the club.”

Crisp continued: “The Lowestoft game failed to live up to its billing and both sides cancelled out each other a bit in front of what was an excellent crowd of 545.

“We’re not overly concerned though and now have an excellent opportunity to win at home to Carshalton Athletic.”

And the words – ‘Carshalton Athletic’ – will always remain unforgettable ones for Crisp after Leiston famously overcame the Surrey-based outfit, who were like they are now playing in the Ryman Premier, in the Blues’ unbelievable FA Cup run in 2008 which took them all the way to the First Round Proper of the prestigious competition.

“That Carshalton game brings back so many fond memories for everyone involved at the club,” said Crisp.

“It was just an unforgettable run and to now think that we’re now playing against them in the league on a level field is fantastic and makes me very proud.”

If today’s game goes ahead, it will be the start of a run of three home games the north Suffolk side face, with Crisp challenging his players to pick points up from all of them.

“Home advantage makes such a big difference and we’ll be looking to take points from all of Carshalton, Dulwich Hamlet and Lewes - should the games go ahead of course,” added Crisp.

One player Leiston will now be without is Nnamdi Nwachuku, who has returned to Colchester United after injury.

“Nnamdi has gone back but we’re hoping to keep Jack Simmons,” confirmed Crisp.

“They’ve both been fantastic and we’re hoping to continue to keep up the connections with Colchester because they are benefitting both parties.”

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