RUDDOCK SEES RED AS BLUES GO DOWN AT GOOLE
Leek turned in a spirited, workman-like performance at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds on Saturday but it wasn’t enough as the second placed Vikings finally won the game after Blues were reduced to 10 men writes Mike Cope.
Blues looked good to at least take a point from the game but with the scores level at 2-2 and only ten minutes remaining, Mark Ruddock picked up a second booking five minutes after his first and he trudged off for an early bath.
Leek’s joint caretaker managers Wayne Corden and Andy Taylor were incensed at Ruddock’s dismissal and the pair commented after the game, “We couldn’t have asked any more of the lads.
“The pitch was in a poor condition and didn’t suit our passing game but we knuckled down and when we levelled at 2-2 there was only going to be one winner. However, the totally unjustified sending off completely changed the game.
“Despite the obviously difficult situation following Wayne’s (Johnson) departure last week, we have been delighted with the way things have gone.
“Performances over the last two games have been much better – the players have been outstanding and when we get to play on better pitches this side will win games”.
Corden and Taylor were forced into one change following the mid-week victory over Carlton with Corden himself replacing the injured Rob Hawthorne whilst Paul Taylor shrugged off a bout of illness to win a seat on the bench.
Leek had to abandon their passing game as good football wasn’t possible on a very poor surface and then they had to deal with the threat posed by the height and power throughout the Viking’s side.
But Blues rolled up their sleeves and might have taken the lead in the 9th minute when a great ball by Corden released Paul Rutter into the box but the keeper was quickly off his line to save with his legs.
Two minutes later, Goole responded when Vill Powell’s shot was blocked and the ball fell to Simon Spencer who screwed his shot over the crossbar.
The bumpy surface caused both sides to make mistakes and one by Ruddock in the 20th minute forced Stuart Heeps into making a point blank save to keep his goal in tact.
In the 21st minute Tom France raced down the right to cross low into the 6-yard box but the ball took a deflection straight into the keeper’s arms.
Three minutes later Goole put a good move together and a cross from the left by Powell found Spencer unmarked and he drove in a fierce shot that was brilliantly saved by Heeps.
Goole were to rue their misses when Leek were awarded a penalty in the 32nd minute. Rutter went down the left and turned inside Luke Jeffs who brought him down as he burst into the box.
The referee had no hesitation in awarding penalty and Dan Cope claimed the ball to fire his side in front with a well-taken spot-kick.
Just a minute later the Vikings almost equalised when a good cross into the box was met by Gavin Allott at the far post but his header looped harmlessly over the crossbar.
In the 37th minute Powell missed a glorious chance to level the scores when a perfect ball into the 6-yard box saw the big striker hit the crossbar from only 2-yards out.
Goole were on top at this stage and had penalty appeals turned down after Powell went down under a challenge by Taylor but the referee indicated that the Leek skipper had won the ball cleanly.
Leek looked set to go in at the break with their noses in front however, Goole got the goal they had been threatening 3 minutes into added time. Spencer’s cross from the right flew into the 6-yard box evading everyone but Powell who slid in to tap the ball home.
Cope, Corden and Miller all had chances late on but the scores remained level at the break.
Within a minute of the re-start Goole came close when Jeffs’ swerving free kick curled wide of the near post but less than a minute later they took the lead for the first time in the game.
Allott set up his strike partner but Powell’s shot was deflected for a corner. Leek failed to clear the danger and the ball sat up nicely for Liam Davies who volleyed home from just inside the box.
Four minutes later, Allott powered past 2 defenders but then skied his shot from just outside the box.
In the 53rd minute Leek came close to levelling the scores but when a corner was worked back to Cope, he drove his shot narrowly over the crossbar.
Blues drew level in the 57th minute following a good move into the box but Cope’s shot was blocked and Rutter swooped on the loose ball to drive it into the back of the net to record his first goal of the season.
In the 63rd minute Rutter came close again after Craig Parry dashed out of his box to attempt a clearance. The Leek striker aimed for goal but the retreating keeper just managed to get a boot on it to concede a corner.
Goole kept pressing forward but Leek defended well and France played a good ball long for Cope to race onto but the young striker lifted his shot inches over the crossbar with the keeper back-pedalling.
With the clock running down into the final 10 minutes, Ruddock picked up his second caution inside 5 minutes and Leek were down to 10 men.
Three minutes later, Cope’s headed clearance from a corner fell to Jeffs who volleyed a shot from just outside the box but the ball took a huge deflection leaving Heeps stranded and the ball struck the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Leek battled hard to get back on level terms but Paul Taylor lifted a shot over from 25 yards before Powell wrapped up the points with a solo effort in the 4th minute of added time.
Goole: Parry, Jeffs, Stratford, Barwick, Lindley, Hope, Spencer, Davies, Powell, Allott, Ellis (Ludlam 72). Subs not used: Redhead, K Ward, Rose, J Ward
Leek: Heeps, M Johnson, Allen, A Taylor, Ruddock, A Miller, France, C Millar, Rutter (Ashman 76), Cope, Corden (Taylor 80). Subs not used: Shenton, P Johnson, Shenton, Hancock.