Mark Morlsey has warned his Needham Market side must find a way to ‘win ugly’ as their league title aspirations appear to be faltering.
The Marketmen have seen their early-season momentum slow in recent weeks with a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to Ware on Saturday following a 2-2 draw with Great Wakering Rovers, to see their lead at the top of Ryman League Division One North stand at just two points having played two more games than nearest rivals Harlow Town.
And while the Bloomfields-based outfit were handed a boost with Harlow suffering a first defeat of the season, going down 1-0 away at Maldon and Tiptree on Tuesday night, a concerned Morsley has conceded his side must rediscover a way to grind out results ahead of a trip to Cheshunt tomorrow (3pm).
“Our form has become a slight concern and it is certainly something we need to address,” he said. “We have to start finding a way to win ugly, that is something all successful sides in the past have done.
“The last two results are not the only time this season that we have failed to get something out of games that we should have.
“Heightened expectations can be different, but we need to get our strong performances and standards back from the start of the season.
“I would be disappointed not to get a result from Saturday’s match and what I really want to see is a collective performance.”
The manager has become particularly worried with Needham’s prowess in the final third and his concerns have been made worse with an injury sustained to Michael Brothers during Saturday’s defeat who will now miss tomorrow’s trip.
Despite the loss of the striker, Morsley was happy to allow another of his forwards, Ryan Crisp, to leave the club on a month’s loan to league rivals Dereham Town, citing a need for Crisp to rediscover his confidence.
“Losing Brothers is a big blow to us as we have no real natural replacement,” he added. “Despite that, I think it was best to let Ryan leave on loan.
“He knows he has not been good enough this season or hit the ground running.
“He was huge for us last season, but this term he has struggled and I think he is lacking confidence, as is Sam Newson.
“People will see Dereham as a rival but if the move allows him to rediscover his best form then that will be good.”
Meanwhile, the manager also confirmed youngster Ace Howell is set for crunch talks regarding his future at the club this week after he was dropped from the first team following ‘commitment issues’.
n Needham Market Reserves will be looking to halt a run of three straight defeats when they return to Thurlow Nunn League First Division action by hosting Leiston Reserves tomorrow (3pm).
Their last match saw them slip to a heavy 4-1 loss to Team Bury.