Frickley 3 Leek 2
Brothers in arms dig deep to take the spoils
Down to 10 men early on, the Blues ran themselves into the ground to secure the three points against a decent Leek side in an enthralling encounter.
Darkenbauer came back into the starting lineup, with Rocksteady Teddy Bloor making way for him. Otherwise, it was the same eleven and bench that faced Stamford last week.
Leek had the better of the opening stages but with only a sharp save by Frickley custodian, Hugo Warhurst, and a shot into the side netting to show for it. The key early moment was a soft booking for Frosty in the 5th minute. The first Blue move of note didn’t arrive until the 19th minute when Patts linked up with Gav to put a dangerous ball across the goal from the right but to no avail.
Frosty’s early booking came home to roost in the 21st minute as an admittedly mistimed tackle lead to a second yellow card and an early bath for the Iceman. Leek in the ascendency and the Blues down to 10 men – it could be a long afternoon.
Adversity seemed to spur the boys in blue on though as Ben Algar flew down the left in the 26th minute, crossing to Big Gav who flashed a header just over the bar. Haze repeated the trick less than a minute later, this time resulting in Gav winning a corner. Algar’s corner from the left was headed out to Haze, he fired it back in to the feet of Jammer on the edge of the six yard box and he made no mistake as he slotted home. 1-0 to the Blues.
The two sides swapped little more than a couple of yellow cards, including a caution for Patts, in the run in to half time, although Robert Stevenson, Leek’s best player of the afternoon, created a decent chance, with a smart drag back, that was squandered in the 41st minute. HALF TIME – FRICKLEY 1 LEEK 0.
The team talk obviously reinvigorated efforts as Frickley were straight out of the blocks after half time. With the half a little over two minutes old, a quick move down the left saw the ball fall to Tyler Blake. Ty coolly slid the ball across the box for Haze to control and guide the ball past the Leek keeper, Ben Chapman, into the net for his 29th goal of the season in all competitions, and Frickley’s second of the afternoon.
Good defensive work by the back four and keeper kept it at 2-0 to the Blues, a stunning save by Hugo Warhurst from a Leek header on 57 minutes being the pick of the bunch.
Substitutions were always going to prove crucial in order to manage tired legs and with this in mind, Teddy Bloor came on for Darkenbauer on the hour and Duggie replaced Haze, who’d ran himself to a virtual standstill, on 70 minutes.
Leek started to take control as fatigue understandably played its part in the Blue ranks. Then in the 75th minute Leek’s Jordan Johnson managed to find a yard as he squeezed the ball under Warhurst, the ball just creeping over the line, despite despairing attempts by Jammer to hook it away.
A final fresh pair of legs in the shape of JB came on for Tyler Blake in the 83rd minute to see out the game.
Several minutes of relentless pressure from Leek followed, where they looked the more likely team to score, and much do or die defending was required by Frickley to keep them at bay. However, in the 89th minute, Gav hit a diagonal ball to Teddy Bloor. Rocksteady took aim and shot from 25 yards, the Leek keeper got a hand to it but the ball dropped into the path of the oncoming Duggie, who kept his nerve and steered the ball into the empty net from 6 yards out to make it 3-1, his first league goal for the Blues. Game over surely?
Leek hadn’t read the script and piled forward from the kick off. Leek moved the ball swiftly down the left and whipped the ball across for Tim Grice to reduce the arrears. Leek had the momentum again.
Nevertheless, the tired 10 men of Frickley showed more grit and determination to see out the 4 minutes of time added on without much further ado. FINAL SCORE – FRICKLEY 3 LEEK 2.
Leek were one of the better footballing sides seen at the Wezzie this season and it took a display of real character, playing with 10 for well over an hour, to overcome them. That’s 6 consecutive wins in the league, largely against teams around us in the table, and with Bedworth failing to win at Clee, we finished the day by moving into second in the league, one of the automatic promotions places.
WEBMASTER MOTM – A very tough one, as is becoming the norm recently. Every player put in a serious shift, sweated blood for the cause today and finished the game a Blue hero. Despite fussy refereeing, Patts and Darks broke up play all over the park. Up front Big Gav, Tyler and Haze never let defenders settle and worked hard to help out defensively. At the back, the commitment was unquestionable, Cammy Hough and Ben Algar in the full back spots stood up to be counted in the face of some very good wing play by Leek, and Danny Burns was always calm and assured. In goal, 17 year old Hugo Warhurst put in another display of remarkable maturity. The bench also played their part too with Rocksteady and Duggie combining for the third goal. But the standout performance and the winner of this week’s glitterball is Jammer, setting the ball rolling by scoring the opener, largely against the run of play then giving a masterclass, covering every blade to head, tackle and block everything Leek could throw at us in the defensive third of the pitch. Congrats and very well played, Sir.
224 through the gate. We thank you for your support, the boys do appreciate it. You were the 11th man for the last 70 minutes today.
Picture is reproduced with thanks to our good friend @TheOnionBag1