LEEK TOWN 0 ECCLESHALL 1 - MIKE COPE'S FULL MATCH REPORT
Leek Town felt the full force of a giant killing act as they were dumped out of the FA Cup at Harrison Park on Saturday exiting the competition following a poor display against lower league opposition.
Vodkat League First Division outfit Eccleshall survived two early scares to win the game eight minutes into the second half with a goal that Blues failed to recover from.
Leek turned in a lamentable display that lacked direction whilst the visitors were up for it harassing Blues throughout the game with grit and determination – and in truth they deserved their victory and the £1,500 prize money that goes with it.
Johnson made three changes to the side that started at Rushall Olympic with goalkeeper Stuart Heeps making his debut and Carl Allen and Dan Cope coming in for Darren Alexander and Matt Johnson.
Leek started the game well enough pinning Eccleshall back into their own half and came close in the 8th minute when Cope and Wayne Corden combined to set up Leon Ashman whose shot took a slight deflection but visiting keeper Dave Watson rose to tip the effort onto his crossbar.
Eccleshall responded two minutes later when Sam Lovatt went down the left to get in an angled shot that was pulled down by Heeps.
In the 14th minute Corden turned a defender to curl a cross into the box but Ashman was inches wide with a glancing header.
Leek came close again in the 17th minute but when Cope helped an Ashman ball on to Corden he saw his well struck shot crash back off the crossbar and away to safety.
The remainder of the half was largely event free but shortly before the break Danny Hughes fired over from 22 yards after Heeps had punched clear following a free kick.
The second half was just eight minutes old when Eccleshall took a shock lead. Heeps took the sting out of a shot from Sam Lovatt but Lascana Sidibi pounced onto the loose ball to set up Hughes who drilled the ball into the bottom corner.
Ten minutes later Johnson threw on Matt Johnson and Paul Rutter to replace Pete Johnson and Rob Hawthorne and Leek began to apply some pressure.
In the 65th minute a free kick was worked wide to Corden who crossed into the box where Cope had a header well claimed by the keeper.
Four minutes later Cope got on the end of a cross from Tom France but this time he cleared the crossbar with another header.
Play was then held up for five minutes with Eccleshall substitute Dwayne Spence needing lengthy treatment to a head wound following a clash with Blues’ skipper Andy Taylor.
Leek came close to levelling the scores with just a minute of normal time remaining but Matt Johnson’s volley was charged down and Bobby Gee’s follow-up shot was blocked on the edge of the 6-yard box.
During 8 minutes of added time Carl Allen glanced a header wide of the target but Eccleshall hung on to complete a deserved victory.
Leek: Heeps, P Johnson (Rutter 65), P Taylor, A Taylor, Allen, Miller, France, Hawthorne (M Johnson 65), Ashman (Gee 81), Cope, Corden. Subs not used: Shenton, Bradbury. Ritchie, Robinson.
Eccleshall: Watson, Kerrigan, McKinney, Hutchinson, Warren, Williams, Sidibi, Hughes, Lovatt (Spence 76) (Adlington 85), Hall, Laraso. Subs not used: Deaville, Goubu, S Gough, M Gough.