Leek Town moved up three places in the league table following a convincing win over Carlton Town at Harrison Park on Saturday.
The opening period of play was littered with free kicks and, from one such set-piece in the 8th minute, Leek should have taken an early lead.
The ball was played wide to Wayne Corden whose cross to the far post found Malbon and he headed forward for Rutter who somehow missed the target with a glancing header.
A mistake in midfield by Corden then almost cost Blues dearly but the ball was hurriedly played out for a corner that Hodgson claimed.
At the other end, Corden curled a corner into the visitor’s box where Nick Ward got up highest only to steer his header inches over the crossbar.
In the 15th minute, Ward spread the ball wide to Malbon who went down the left before turning inside only to see his cross shot drift agonisingly wide of the far post.
Just a minute later, Corden’s free kick was played back to him and he went past a defender but then shot wide of the far post.
Malbon and Rutter then combined down the right flank with Rutter crossing into the box where the ball flicked off a defender to the surprise of Ward who had little time to control the ball that struck him in the chest only for the keeper to react and claim the loose ball.
In the 27th minute Carton countered from a Blues’ corner and Steve Chaplin raced down the right flank to deliver a cross to the back post where Justin Jenkins completely mis-hit his shot from close range slicing it out of the 18-yard box.
Leek came close again in the 35th minute when Matt Johnson lifted a free kick onto the head of Ward but, when the ball reached him, Malbon headed straight at the keeper.
Then in the 40th minute Ward thought he’d won a penalty when he was impeded as he tried to steer a low level header in following a Matt Johnson free kick but the referee was unimpressed.
However, just a minute later, Malbon opened his account when Pete Johnson drove an inch-perfect cross to the back stick where the young striker powered a header between keeper and upright to open the scoring.
On the stroke of half time Malbon increased the lead when Corden played the ball up to him and he neatly turned past two defenders before striking an unstoppable shot into the far bottom corner.
After the break, Matt Johnson drove a corner into the box where a defender looped a header high into the air but Ward was hustled out of it before Hodgson cut out the danger when Justin Jenkins miss-hit a shot just a minute alter.
In the 52nd minute P Johnson tracked across the 18-yard line to find Corden but again the winger’s shot was wide of the target.
Leek extended their lead in the 57th minute when Andy Taylor’s pass out of defence found Rutter and he raced clear of the static Carlton defence to drive a shot wide of the keeper into the bottom corner.
Blues were then content to soak up what pressure the visitors had to offer but, in the 78th minute Carlton almost pulled one back when Hodgson cleared off his line from a Tristram Whitman effort following a corner.
The visitor’s persistence paid dividends in the 87th minute when Martin Ball poked home a consolation effort following a goalmouth scramble.
Blues went on to run down four added minutes of added time to deservedly take all the points.
Leek: Hodgson, P Johnson, P Taylor, A Taylor, Ruddock, Hawthorne, M Johnson, Ward (Miller 66), Rutter (Cope 71), Malbon (Crowe 79), Corden. Subs not used: Bailey, W Johnson.
Carlton: Barcherini, Corrigan, Fletcher, Hayes, Martin, Mitchell (Norris 57), Ball, Gent, Jenkins (Griffis 66), Chaplin, (Slack 45), Whitman. Subs not used: Nil.
Yellow card: Paul Taylor
Report: Mike Cope