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‘It’s a brilliant tie’ – Leiston chairman Crisp on FA Cup visit of Barnet, plus this weekend’s predictions

PUBLISHED: 11:16 16 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:37 16 October 2020

Leiston players and fans celebrate after their dramatic penalty shoot-out success over AFC Telford United in the FA Cup on Tuesday night. Picture: PAUL WEST

Leiston players and fans celebrate after their dramatic penalty shoot-out success over AFC Telford United in the FA Cup on Tuesday night. Picture: PAUL WEST

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Football writer CARL MARSTON speaks to Leiston chairman Andy Crisp ahead of next Saturday’s FA Cup home tie against Barnet, and also previews this weekend’s fixtures

How it all started: Liam Jackson scores his second goal of the game in Leiston's 5-0 win over Halstead in the preliminary round of the FA Cup. Picture: PAUL VOLLERHow it all started: Liam Jackson scores his second goal of the game in Leiston's 5-0 win over Halstead in the preliminary round of the FA Cup. Picture: PAUL VOLLER

Leiston chairman, Andy Crisp, is relishing the prospect of former Football League club Barnet visiting Victory Road for an FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie next Saturday, October 24.

The tie is likely to be all-ticket for the visit of the Bees, who currently ply their trade in the National League, two levels above their Southern League Premier Central hosts.

Cup tickets will be on sale at the club on Saturday – Leiston entertain Peterborough Sports in a league match in the afternoon – and again from the club shop on Sunday (10am to 1pm) and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (2-8pm).

Leiston are still finding their feet in the league this season, under the management team of ex-Norwich City front-runner Darren Eadie and ex-Sheringham boss Chris Wigger, and are yet to win in five matches, with three draws and a couple of defeats.

Leiston have won through four rounds of the FA Cup, and are looking forward to the visit of Barnet on Saturday week. Picture: HANNAH PARNELLLeiston have won through four rounds of the FA Cup, and are looking forward to the visit of Barnet on Saturday week. Picture: HANNAH PARNELL

However, they have been all-conquering in the FA Cup, with wins over Halstead Town (5-0), Biggleswade Town (5-1), Leighton Town (2-1 away) and AFC Telford United (9-8 on penalties after a 0-0 draw on Tuesday night) in the previous four rounds.

Now the Blues are just one step away from being in the hat for the first round proper, along with such names as Ipswich Town, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers.

“It’s a brilliant tie for us, to be at home to such a big club as Barnet,” enthused Crisp.

Leiston chairman Andy CrispLeiston chairman Andy Crisp

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“It’s quite a local club to us as well, so its a shame that there will not be any away supporters allowed (due to the Covid-19 restrictions). Their presence would have generated a superb atmosphere.

“But we are very thankful it is at home, because there would have been no crowd allowed at Barnet (as a Step 1 club). It’s an exciting prospect, and it’s a big game.

Will Davies heads home Leiston's fifth goal in a 5-0 win over Halstead Town in the FA Cup earlier this season. Davies has already netted eight goals. Picture: PAUL VOLLERWill Davies heads home Leiston's fifth goal in a 5-0 win over Halstead Town in the FA Cup earlier this season. Davies has already netted eight goals. Picture: PAUL VOLLER

“We have a revised capacity of 600, and we will probably make it all-ticket. There has been a lot of interest already, so it would make it easier for policing if it was all-ticket,” added Crisp.

Leiston have already banked £12,694 in prize money, from their previous wins in the competition, and will scoop a further £3,125 even it they lose next weekend, but Crisp is unhappy with the FA’s previous decision, made at the start of August, to halve the prize money for this season due to the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Obviously the prize money is very important for us, but I was disappointed that the Football Association cut the amount by a half, as I know was Bury chairman Russell Ward,” added Crisp. Bury are the other Suffolk non-league side still in the FA Cup, having been draw away to Banbury United in the next round.

Crisp continued: “When you consider the winners get £1.8 million, it is disappointing that the FA decided to halve the money for each of the rounds. I wish they had kept it the same.

“But we are having another great run in the FA Cup, and I know that both we and Bury are hoping to get through and then draw Ipswich Town at home in the next round!

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“Team-wise, I don’t think we are far off this season. We are a work-in-progress team, and it’s a two-to-three-year project.

“I think the club is in a better position tenfold than it was at this time a year ago. It’s only being a bit naive at times that has stopped us getting more points on the board.

“I think we should have got seven points by now, rather than just three. We deserved a point against Rushall Olympic (1-0 home defeat), and we conceded a late goal in a 2-2 draw against AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

“Against Biggleswade Town we got it back to 4-4 (in a 7-4 defeat) before an injury saw us down to 10 men, and it’s really only been (leaders) Coalville Town where we have been well beaten (4-1 defeat).

“There is absolutely no pressure on the managers (Darren Eadie and Chris Wigger), because we are a work in progress.

“The team lacks one or two older heads, but to help out we have signed Adam Bailey-Dennis from AFC Sudbury. He was in the squad on Tuesday, even though he hasn’t played yet this season.

“He will also be in the squad this weekend. Adam has a lot of experience on the non-league scene, and he should make a big difference to the number of goals that we concede.

“He is never going to be a roving athlete, but he will be invaluable for the team and adds to our several options in central defence.

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“We have a lot of promising young players. We have a young midfield, and obviously Will Davies has been doing well up front with eight goals already.

“So we are not in a bad place, by any means,” added Crisp.

THIS WEEKEND’S PREDICTIONS

- Leiston v Peterborough Sports (Southern League Premier Central): Cup fever has gripped the Blues, but they badly need a first league win of the season after three points from five games. Sports have won just once.

Carl’s prediction: 2-1

- Needham Market v Bromsgrove Sporting (Southern League Premier Central): Kevin Horlock’s side are joint top, unbeaten in the league, and fresh from a midweek 3-1 win over Lowestoft in the first leg of the Suffolk Premier Cup.

Carl’s prediction: 3-1

- Loughborough Dynamo v Bury Town (FA Trophy): Bury have been going great guns this season, and have won their last six on the bounce in all competitions. However, the Moes have won four of their last five in the Northern Premier League South-East Division (same Step 4 level as Bury), and are joint top. So it promises to be a cracker.

Carl’s prediction: 2-2 (decided on penalty shoot-out)

- Felixstowe & Walton United v Westfield (FA Trophy): This should be an evenly matched tie between two Step 4 clubs. Woking-based Westfield are seventh in the Isthmian League South Central.

Carl’s prediction: 1-1 (decided on penalty shoot-out)

- Whitton United v White Ensign (FA Vase): Whitton have not had the best of run-ups to this tie, losing three on the bounce and conceding 19 goals into the bargain, losing at FC Clacton (5-1) and Stanway Rovers (4-2) in the league, and suffering a 10-0 home defeat to Stowmarket in the Suffolk Premier Cup 10 days ago. White Ensign are from a level below, but have won five of their first six matches in Thurlow Nunn League Division One South. Should be a close one.

Carl’s prediction: 3-2

- Stowmarket Town v Stanway Rovers (Thurlow Nunn Premier): Stow extended their unbeaten league run to 37 games with a 2-1 win at Woodbridge Town on Wednesday night. If they avoid defeat today, then they will hold the Thurlow Nunn League record for unbeaten matches outright. Stow welcomed back midfielder George Quantrell to the club during the week, from Dereham, but Danny Cunningham (to Ipswich Wanderers) and Charlie Clarke have both departed.

Carl’s prediction: 3-1

- Brantham Athletic v Ely City (Thurlow Nunn Premier): The Blue Imps have been knocked out of the FA Cup (3-0 by Aveley) and Suffolk Premier Cup (6-2 by Felixstowe & Walton) this month, but this has still been a fine start to the season. They have only played four league games to date, winning three and drawing the other. Expect that good league run to continue.

Carl’s prediction: 2-0

- Haughley United v Halesworth Town (Suffolk & Ipswich League): The league leaders, Halesworth, suffered their first defeat of the season last weekend, losing 2-1 at home to Benhall St Mary after four straight wins. Haughley have only played four games to date, with two wins. Should be an intriguing tussle, but expect Halesworth to return to winning ways.

Carl’s prediction: 1-2

- Benhall St Mary v Trimley Red Devils (Suffolk & Ipswich League): Benhall are in form and joint top (12 points from five games). They should win on home turf against a Red Devils side who have lost last two at the hands of Henley Athletic and Coplestonians.

Carl’s prediction: 3-1


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