PLAY-OFF PLACE SECURED
A 1-0 victory over Gresley secured Blues place in the promotion play-offs after a tense game at Harrison Park.
The visitors arrived on a unbeaten run of 14 league games stretching back to January as they look to secure their own place in the play-offs.
Lee Casswell made just one change to the side that drew with Spalding at the weekend with Warren Burrell replacing the injured Sam Hall.
Blues made the best possible start when they took the lead in the 3rd minute. A free-kick from the centre circle was drilled into the box by Darren Chadwick. The presence of Karl Espley seem to distract both the defender and goalkeeper who made a hash of gathering the ball allowing Tim Grice to poke the ball home from a couple of yards out.
Leek continued to look for a second goal with Danylyk having a low shot saved and Grice just being beaten to a long ball by the keeper on the edge of the box.
In the 32nd minute a snap shot on the half volley from Jordan Johnson from 25 yards out fizzed just past the post.
Eric Graves had a chance for Gresley five minutes before the break but he lifted his shot over the crossbar.
A minute after half-time Grice broke clear down the right channel but fired over the bar from a tight angle. Five minutes later Tyler Williams brought a good save from the keeper as he pushed his shot from the left over the bar for a corner.
Gresley hit back with a spell of sustained pressure but the Blues back-line superbly marshalled by Darren Chadwick and Karl Espley stood firm.
The visitors claimed a penalty as Karl Ashton claimed he had been pulled down by Chadwick as they went for a corner but the referee deemed only to have words with both players.
Leek had a great chance to wrap up the victory on 80 minutes when Ash Jackson carried the ball half the length of the pitch and rolled the ball into the path of Jordan Johnson but his shot was well-saved by Roberts in the Moatmen’s goal.
To the visitors credit they kept pushing for the equaliser and a shot was blocked following an almighty goalmouth scramble three minutes from time.
Four minutes into added time, Gresley had their best chance of the game when Ashton met a cross on the volley but skied his effort from eight yards out.
This was a terrific performance form Blues against a in-form side who gave Leek’s defence a thorough examination that they passed with flying colours.
Team: Martin, Thompson, Jackson, Mullarkey, Espley, Chadwick, Danylyk, Burrell, Grice, Johnson (Maguire, 89), Williams
Unused subs: Donnelly, Lowe, Dicker, Chapman