BLUES START WITH A DRAW
Blues picked up a point in their opening game of the season with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Romulus.
Manager Lee Casswell handed full debuts to new recruits George Melling and Tom Urwin whilst Mark Ruddock and Karl Charlton both made their return 'debuts' in their second spells at the club.
An extraordinary first half was notable mainly for the half dozen appearances of physio Ken Ashford (pictured, above) who must surely have had his busiest ever day in his many years of service for the Blues.
He had to treat Matt Haddrell (twice), Anthony Danylyk (twice), Tim Grice and Tom Urwin.
Danylyk ended up leaving the field on a stretcher with an ambulance being called for, but initial fears of a possible break were revised to ankle ligament damage.
Haddrell also suffered a possible broken nose as the home side adopted a robust style of play in the opening 45 minutes.
Blues had a couple of good chances early on with Haddrell heading just wide and Grice having a shot well saved but Romulus were also causing problems at the other end as Leek struggled to cope with their big striker Nathan Jackson.
It was Jackson who made the breakthrough, after he was adjudged to have been pushed in the box in the 35th minute and then slammed home the penalty.
The half finished with an additional eight minutes of injury time with Leek happy to be no more than a goal down after a difficult opening period.
An improvement was required and it came with a much better second half display. On 51 minutes, lovely work from Urwin set up Tim Sanders whose shot was well saved.
Four minutes later, Blues were level when a deep corner was played back in by Karl Charlton and sub Christian Millar (pictured, below), who had replaced Danylyk, stabbed the ball home from inside the six yard box.
Grice unleashed a thunderbolt from 20 yards on 65 minutes producing a full length save from Dave Clarke in the home goal.
Leek looked the more threatening in the final quarter of the game but they were unable to fashion a chance to take all three points and were relieved to see Jackson blast high and wide when through in the dying moments.
1. Danny Roberts
2. Tim Sanders
3. Matt Bell
4. Mark Ruddock
5. George Melling
6. Ashley Woolliscroft (14. Sam Hall, 74)
7. Tim Grice (16. Rob Stevenson, 84)
8. Anthony Danylyk (17. Christian Millar, 28)
9. Matt Haddrell
10. Karl Charlton
11. Tom Urwin
Unused subs: 14. Danny Smith, 15. Ross Davidson
Yellow cards: Ashley Woolliscroft