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Leiston face tough test at Ryman Premier leaders, Bognor Regis

Leiston boss Glenn Driver, who was very unhappy with his side's poor performance in  a 2-1 defeat at Merstham

Leiston boss Glenn Driver, who was very unhappy with his side's poor performance in a 2-1 defeat at Merstham

Archant

Leiston manager Glenn Driver loves nothing better than to see his Blues side playing the sort of free-flowing football they became known for at the start of the season.

However, with just eight games left in the Ryman Premier, the Blues are in third place in the division and desperate for a crack at the end-of-season play-offs.

After a 14-match unbeaten run at the start of the season took them to the top of the league, a horrible run during February, despite the fact the coastal club were still trying to play good football, saw them lose six out of seven and drop out of the play-off positions.

A win at home to high-flying Tonbridge Angels stopped the rot, before something of an unexpected 1-1 draw at home to leaders, Bognor Regis really raised confidence levels again.

Bognor, still leading the table, are the opponents again tonight – the Blues making a long midweek trip to west Sussex – and Driver knows the task ahead of the Blues, and Leiston’s current situation, might not yield attractive football.

“Bognor is one of our games in hand and we go there with a fully-fit squad from which to select,” said Driver.

“Looking at them at our place, it is going to be a tough game. I know they got a last-minute equaliser at our place, but they have given a few teams a hiding at their ground, which can kill their confidence, so we have got to be a bit cautious.”

Leiston have won their last three games but have been far from convincing, and Driver added: “We started the game on Saturday (2-0 against Worthing) very well, then all of a sudden we stopped doing the things we had been doing so well.

“I think the lads are so aware of how they fell away so badly last time, and we have stopped playing the fluent football we had been doing.

“We are winning games ugly though.

“We conducted a smash-and-grab at Harlow and won ugly against Folkestone, and again on Saturday, and a lot of people say that is the sign of a good side.”

n In the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division tonight, second host third as Felixstowe & Walton, 12 points behind leaders Mildenhall, entertain Gorleston.

Gorleston are a point behind the Seasiders, with a game in hand.

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