First - Report
BLUES MADE TO BATTLE
Leek Town were forced to grind out a result at lowly Quorn on Saturday and in doing so they gave their play-off hopes a big boost with a narrow 1-0 win reports Mike Cope.
There were chances at both ends before Leek took the lead on the 30 minute mark and after the break Blues were forced to defend for long periods as the plucky home side searched for the equaliser.
Leek continued to defended well although Ben Chapman was called on to make a couple of routine saves whilst Leek were content to attack on the break to keep their noses in front.
However, the second half was notable for the extraordinary long throw tactics of Quorn substitute Ashley Robinson who took full advantage of there being no pitch perimeter fence in place adjacent to where the players enter and leave the pitch.
Inexplicably the referee allowed the long throw specialist to retreat through the crowd and onto the terracing before taking a huge run-up and then launching throws deep into the Leek box.
Blues rightly claimed that the player was guilty of leaving the field without the permission of the referee who admitted after the game that he had made a mistake in allowing the player to continue using the tactic.
After the game Blues’ boss Lee Casswell said, “It was a well ground-out result and a workman-like performance.
“We are at the stage now where only results count and we picked up three valuable points to keep us in contention for a place in the play-offs.
“However, I’m still worried about our inconsistency – we need to win back-to-back games to be in with a chance.
“We went to Quorn without Haddrell and Danylyk and included new signing Matthew Bell so squad wise we look quite healthy at the moment”, he added.
Casswell was forced to make changes to his starting line-up with striker Matt Haddrell side-lined through suspension whilst Glyn Mellor was relegated to the bench nursing a slight groin strain.
Dan Cope replaced Haddrell up front whilst new signing Matthew Bell made his debut in midfield.
Quorn opened the game brightly and in the 5th minute they put a good move together when Rob Norris played the ball short to Kris Nurse who failed to hit the target.
Leek responded 3 minutes later when Bell’s shot was turned wide at the foot of the upright by Ricky Drury.
In the 14th minute Adam Roberts combined with Bell to play the ball wide for Tim Grice whose goal-bound shot was blocked by the keeper. Dan Cope slammed in a follow-up shot that was deflected back to him but he sliced his second effort into the side-netting.
Quorn won a free kick just outside the box in the 25th minute and Norris curled it in for Tyeisse Nightingale whose header produced a good save from Ben Chapman.
Three minutes later the Leek defence failed to clear a cross into the box but Nurse blasted over with just Chapman to beat.
Leek took the lead in the 30th minute when Roberts did well in the box to find Grice who drove a shot into the six-yard box where Cope flicked the ball home from close range.
Five minutes later Blues attacked again and Grice powered forward before dragging his shot wide of the near post.
Five minutes from the break Tim Sanders broke down the right to cross into the box where the ball got tangled under Grice’s feet and the chance was lost.
Five minutes into the second half Sanders delivered a cross high into the box where George Ray got up highest but he glanced a neat header straight at the keeper.
Quorn came close to levelling the scores in the 53rd minute but when Norris drilled a 20-yard free kick into the box, it was deflected wide to FabIan Smith who screwed his shot wide from 8-yards out.
In the 65th minute an attempted clearance by Ray cannoned into Nurse but Quorn’s leading scorer hurried his shot and it flew across the face of goal with no-one on hand to force the ball home.
Smith wasted another effort in the 70th minute and Grice almost made him pay for the miss when he raced into the box to get in a shot that forced the keeper to go down to cling on to the ball.
Four minutes later Chapman tipped over a headed effort from Lewis Carr and the resulting corner was cleared.
Quorn pushed hard during the final 10 minutes but the only threat they posed was the four huge disputed throws from Robinson.
Quorn: Drury, Smedley, Shaw, Carr, Hannigan, Gray (Wood 62), Norris (Hamilton 70), Smith, Nurse, Nightingale, Marshall (Robinson 60). Subs not used: Lutaaya.
Leek: Chapman, Sanders, Johnson, Lane, Bell, Ray, Grice, Millar, Cope (Nixon 75), Roberts (mellor 90), Woolliscroft. Subs not used: Edwards, Turner, Bullock.
Star man – George Ray.
Cards: Woolliscroft - yellow.