DYNAMO DESPATCHED AT THE DOUBLE
Leek Town completed a season double over already relegated Shepshed Dynamo with a comfortable 2-0 win at Harrison Park on Saturday.
The score-line may suggest a closer game than it actually was, with only an excellent display of goalkeeping from Dynamo stopper Gavin Saxby and the woodwork preventing a rout.
Caretaker manager Stuart Heeps was without Burton Albion loanees Ben Knight and Sylvanus Bockarie who returned to the Brewers last week but Matt Johnson, Mark Ruddock and Jamie Haynes returned to the squad after missing the recent win over Quorn.
After the game Heeps said, “That was a great result although the performance was typical of an end of season game.
“We deserved to win and I don’t think a score-line of 4 or 5 would have flattered us although they did have a couple of chances during the game.
“The pitch handicapped us a little today and a better surface would have seen us win by a much bigger margin.
“The players did well following the shock departure of Neil Cox and the quality in the squad showed as we went out to win the game comfortably”, he added.
Leek opened on the attack and in the 1st minute Ant Malbon headed on a long clearance for Dan Cope to run on to but his shot failed to trouble the keeper.
Three minutes later Paul Taylor launched a free kick to the far post but Mark Ruddock headed way over the crossbar.
In the 6th minute Malbon weaved his way into the box but after working himself an opening the final ball let him down.
However, it didn't take long for Blues to open the scoring, when after 11 minutes, Paul Taylor curled in a lovely free-kick from just outside the box that hit the back of the net despite Saxby getting half a glove on it.
Leek were in the ascendency for the remainder of the half and Saxby was called on regularly to keep his side in the game.
Wayne Corden kept up the pressure on the visitor’s defence as he skilfully swapped passes with Malbon before turning a defender inside the box but he could only find the side netting with his shot.
In their first attack of any note, Shepshed carved out a chance in the 19th minute when Sam Carter set up Joe Carter but he shot wide from just outside the box.
In the 25th minute Blues hit back with Corden working his magic again to cross for Cope whose header shaved the crossbar.
Two minutes later Malbon played the ball back for Matt Johnson to cross into the box but Saxby was well placed to save from Cope.
Leek came close to extending their lead in the 31st minute when Devon Gibson crossed to the far post where Cope’s header had goal written all over it until the giant keeper reacted to superbly tip the effort over his crossbar.
Three minutes from the break a good chipped pass over the visitor’s defence by Gibson found Cope but his header fell wide of the target.
On the stroke of half time Malbon ran onto a good ball forward and turned his marker inside out before scuffing his shot wide of the upright.
It was more of the same after the break and Gibson came close in the opening minute after outpacing the Shepshed defence but his fierce shot curled wide of the far post.
In the 50th minute Christian Millar punted a free kick to the far post where Ruddock rose to head back into the danger area but Malbon’s spectacular overhead kick was brilliantly tipped wide by Saxby.
In a rare Shepshed raid, Dan Starbuck ventured forward but he was restricted to a long range effort that flew well wide of the target.
Two minutes later Leek put a good move together and when Malbon stepped over the ball Matt Woolley cracked in a shot that was well saved by the overworked Saxby.
The Shepshed goal survived a goalmouth scramble in the 61st minute when Malbon’s drive was beaten out by Saxby and two shots in quick succession were blocked before the ball was eventually cleared.
Three minutes later Leigh Skellern’s shot was blocked inside the box and Corden pounced on the loose ball only to blast wide of the post.
Shepshed’s best chance of the game came in the 67th minute when a cross from the right was headed back in for Rob Brewer but he hooked his shot over the crossbar from just six-yards out.
Blues came close again in the 68th minute when Malbon got on the end of a Corden cross but headed narrowly wide of the woodwork.
Just when it seemed it would take something exceptional for Blues to score again they stretched their lead with a simple effort in the 69th minute.
Skellern got round the back to lay the ball off to Malbon who teed up Millar and he stroked a scuffed shot from the edge of the area that bobbled into the corner of the net leaving Saxby completely wrong-footed.
Soon after Paul Taylor hit the underside of the crossbar with a carbon copy of his first half free-kick, whilst at the other end Danny Roberts was a virtual spectator enjoying surely his quietest game of the season.
Four minutes from full time Leek missed out on a third goal when Corden’s cross to the near post found Paul Rutter but his shot was blocked in the six-yard box by team mate Skellern!!
Leek: Roberts, Johnson, P Taylor, A Taylor, Ruddock, Woolley (Haynes 6), Gibson, Millar, Malbon (Rutter 73), Cope (Skellern 59), Corden. Unused subs: Heeps.
Shepshed: Saxby, Carter, Wilson, Norwood, Screaton, Carter, Starbuck, Hewitt (Leggitt 70), Brewer (Civil 73), Shannon, Pemberton (Whyley 80). Unused subs: None.