First - Report
|Leek Town||0||vs||1||Kidsgrove Athletic|
KIDSGROVE GIVE CASSWELL NEW YEAR BLUES
Leek kicked off the New Year with a disappointing defeat at the hands of near-neighbours Kidsgrove Athletic on Bank Holiday Monday in a game that they really should have won.
After falling behind Leek pinned Grove deep in their own half with the visitors getting all 11 men behind the ball in a packed area as Blues were twice denied by the thickness of paint on the goal posts.
Manager Lee Casswell sprung a surprise by leaving James McCarthy out of the starting line-up preferring Tim Grice to partner Matt Haddrell up front whilst Nick Ward failed a fitness test and was replaced by Ricky Bridge.
Meanwhile, new signing Jordan White won a seat on the bench.
Leek started the game on the attack and in the opening minute Glyn Mellor hurled a long throw into the Grove box where Grice saw his shot blocked and a minute later Ashley Woolliscroft got on the end of another Mellor long throw but his shot was also blocked.
In the 9th minute Bridge raced half the length of the pitch and went past the last defender to turn the ball into the 6-yard box but Steve Hodgson was alert to the danger.
However, Hodgson was anything but alert to the danger in the 11th minute when Anthony Danylyk spotted the former Blues’ keeper off his line and fired a 40-yarder goalwards that had Hodgson desperately back-pedalling to turn the effort over his crossbar.
Grove’s first attack of any note came as a result of a mistake in the 12th minute when Tim Sanders lost the ball and Ashley Carter crossed through the 6-yard box and wide of the far post.
Play then got bogged down on the tricky surface until Grice got in a shot on 27 minutes but his effort failed to test the keeper.
Blues almost broke the deadlock just a minute later when Sanders crossed beyond the far post where Ben Nixon stole in with a fierce volley on target that hurried Hodgson into a reaction save and he dropped the ball before recovering to smother at the second attempt.
Leek continued to make chances and in the 34th minute Woolliscroft played wide for Grice to run on to but his angled shot flew narrowly wide of the near post.
In the 40th minute Sanders drove in a corner and Haddrell got up only to nod wide of the woodwork and then Grice shot wide after holding off a defender shortly before the break.
A minute after the re-start Leek should have taken the lead when Sanders’ headed clearance found Haddrell who split the Grove defence with a superb ball for Grice who left two defenders in his wake only to drive his shot wide with only the keeper to beat.
McCarthy replaced Grice on the hour mark and he began to take control in the middle of the park but Ross Davidson shot straight at Joe McCormack in the Leek goal on 62 minutes and another attack two minutes later saw the Leek keeper make the only save he had to deal with to deny him yet again.
However, Grove took the lead in the 73rd minute with a disputed goal following an almighty goalmouth scramble.
As the ball got tangled in a sea of legs at the back post, Dave Walker claimed the final touch despite two Grove defenders standing in offside positions and there was also more than a hint of handling involved before the ball trickled over the line.
After the goal Leek battered the visitors pinning them back in their own half whilst Kidsgrove threw 11 men behind the ball.
Danylyk tried his luck from distance but failed to trouble Hodgson and then former Leek midfielder Karl Charlton appeared to take a dive and was twice spoken to by the referee after the official correctly called the incident.
A minute from normal time Haddrell thought he had scored the equaliser but his firm header cannoned back off the upright and 2 minutes into added time Sean Turner came even closer when his header thudded back off the other post with Hodgson well beaten.
Leek: McCormack, Sanders, Johnson, Tinson, Mellor, Bridge, Grice (McCarthy 60), Nixon (Turner 69), Haddrell, Danylyk, Woolliscroft (Farran 78). Subs not used: White, Edwards.
Kidsgrove: Hodgson, Smith, Mulholland (Taylor 90+1), Beeston, Crompton, Taylor, Davidson (Kinsey 72), Charlton, Walker (Griggs 80), Shotton, Carter. Subs not used: Johnson, Brannan.
Man of the match Anthony Danylyk