"Bucks looking to build on opening day success"
Match Date : August 12th, 2023 3:00 pm
Competition : Southern League Central
Ground : Victory Road
Kick Off : 15:00
After kicking off the season with three points on home soil, the Bucks begin their away day campaign with the longest journey of the season, as Kevin Wilkin takes his men to Suffolk this weekend to take on Leiston.
It also promises to be one of the toughest away days, with the Blues expected to be among this year’s promotion hopefuls. What’s more, Leiston had the division’s best home record last season, losing just one and winning 16 of their 21 regular league games at the aptly named Victory Road – going 18 undefeated on home soil from last August right up until defeat in the playoffs. A 3-1 loss at Tamworth late in the campaign effectively put paid to Leiston’s title hopes last season, before the 3rd-placed Blues lost 2-1 to Nuneaton in the playoff semi final.
Having transferred from the Isthmian League ahead of the 2018/19 season, Leiston initially struggled to adjust to their new surroundings and only just staved off relegation in a number of campaigns. However, following the arrival of joint bosses Darren Eadie and Chris Wigger in March 2020, the Blues have improved dramatically and have been in and around the promotion picture for the past two campaigns. The transformation has been so impressive, in fact, that the club handed the management duo new three-year contracts this April.
The Suffolk club averaged two goals a game in the league last season but have lost some key players this summer, including all five of their attacking line. Those departures include top scorer Will Davies, who bagged 29 league goals for the Blues last term before leaving to join Braintree, 16-goal Ben Fowkes, who left for Peterborough Sports, and exciting young winger Finlay Barnes, who was snapped up by York City.
To fill the gap, Eadie and Wigger have recruited young wingers Spencer Keller (King’s Lynn) and Ross Crane (Needham Market) as well as former Jamaica international Jamar Loza (Barnet). And Loza was on the scoresheet on opening day, but Leiston fell to a 2-1 defeat at Halesowen. Elsewhere in the squad, ex-Linfield man Chris Casement, a six-time winner of the Northern Irish Premiership, adds considerable experience to the heart of the Blues’ defence.
The Bucks have made the roughly 200 mile journey to Victory Road once before, when Gavin Cowan’s Telford side were dumped out of the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round on penalties in October 2020. The Bucks lost 9-8 on spot kicks after the two sides played out a goalless draw.
The Bucks, of course, began the season with a 3-0 win over Royston Town. And Kevin Wilkin’s men will be hoping to back that result up, by making a positive start on the road at Leiston this Saturday.
Ground Address: Victory Road, Leiston, Suffolk, IP16 4DQ