IMPROVED PERFORMANCE NETS A POINT
Leek Town turned in one of their best performances of the season at Chasetown on Tuesday outplaying the home side for much of the game.
Depleted Blues were the better side throughout and although Ben Chapman was called into action on two or three occasions, Leek created enough chances to have won the game.
Chasetown mostly played high ball football and rarely used their wing backs much to the frustrations of their fans whilst Leek controlled play on the deck with some good passing moves.
Blues’ boss Lee Casswell went into the game making one change to his starting line-up with Ryan Connor coming in for Lee Morris who won a seat on the bench bolstered by reserve team player Joe Bailey.
Leek were the first to show when Chapman’s free kick in the 2nd minute was knocked back to Michael Thomas and he played a great ball forward to Andy Kinsey who was forced wide but still managed to get in a cross only for the keeper to claim the high ball.
Chasetown responded when Paul Sullivan burst forward to set up Andy Westwood but he fired way over from outside the box.
In the 6th minute a home player went down injured just inside the Leek half but as Blues began to mount an attack the referee brought play back for treatment to the player.
When play resumed the ref dropped the ball for another Chasetown player to punt it back for Chapman but instead he displayed poor sportsmanship driving the ball wide giving the Leek keeper no chance of retrieving it.
The ball then hit the corner flag before going out for a throw leaving Leek with no advantage deep in their own half.
In the 8th minute Dan Shelley went on a good run before cutting infield past a defender but his shot cleared the crossbar from 25 yards out.
Two minutes later Shelley won the ball and left it for Sam Hall but his shot cleared the crossbar from 25 yards out.
Chasetown came close in the 12th minute when Simon Brown fired a corner into the box but Leek failed to clear and Brown set up Paul Sullivan who glanced a header wide of the back post.
In the 15th minute Tim Grice raced onto a searching ball forward but he completely missed the ball trying to get in an early volley.
Two minutes later Leek lost possession in the Chasetown half and Brown headed on for Sullivan to race clear into the box where Chapman coolly waited and waited before seizing his chance to bravely dive at the striker’s feet to snuff out the danger.
Blues’ skipper Anthony Danylyk then played a good ball in for Grice and he planted a cross on Andy Kinsey’s head that caused the keeper and Tesfa Robinson to get in a tangle before the ball was cleared.
In the 27th minute another good ball from Hall found Grice but he failed to control the ball on the edge of the box leaving two defenders to clear.
Shortly after the half hour mark the referee missed a clear hand ball by a Chasetown player and the home side went on to win a free kick. But Danny Bragoli could only find the wall with his shot and the ball was deflected for a corner.
Brown drove the flag kick in and Richard Teesdale got his head to it leaving the ball to bounce dangerously in the Leek box before being booted clear.
In the 33rd minute Chasetown hit Blues on the break again with Gary Hay breaking free to cross in for Westwood who wasted the chance with Blues’ defence recovering to clear the ball.
Danylyk then came in for some rough treatment when first Brown took him out and then Bragoli scythed him down and was cautioned for his trouble.
The free kick was played wide by Kinsey to Hall who forced the keeper to tip over the crossbar for a corner, Shelley played short to Danylyk and he powered into the box only to hit the post with an angled shot.
The Scholars almost broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute that had more to do with the pitch than the shot. Bragoli set up Sullivan and he curled a shot goalwards that took Chapman by surprise as the ball kicked up off the surface forcing the big keeper to fumble the ball wide for a corner.
When the ball was cleared Matt Bell went on a great run down the left before crossing into the box. But the ball was cleared before Chapman’s deep free kick found Kinsey who controlled the ball well to turn his marker only to fire over from a good position.
A minute into time added Chasetown came close again when a free kick into the Leek box was headed out only as far as Bragoli who picked out Hay and he got a boot on it but Chapman pulled off a good save to keep the sides level at the break.
Chasetown opened the second half on the attack and a mistake by Hall in the 48th minute left Westwood free but his low level effort flew wide of the far post.
Leek then began to get on top and in the 54th minute Hall won the ball heading down for Shelley who tried his luck from 25 yards but the ball drifted wide of the target.
In the 62nd minute Bell went on another run down the left to drive in a telling cross that Ryan Price did well to palm away from under his crossbar.
Ten minutes after coming on as a sub Steve Brannan was in the action getting on the end of a Shelley free kick into the six-yard box where he steered a header narrowly wide of the upright.
Brannan was involved again in the 80th minute when he sliced wide following good work by Danny Smith.
In the 81st minute a great piece of skill from Lee Morris created an opening for himself but his measured shot fell agonisingly the wrong side of the crossbar with Price in no-man’s land.
Good work by Morris in the 89th minute resulted in a corner by Bell that was headed out by Richard Teesdale only as far as Shelley who didn’t hit it cleanly and the chance was lost.
Leek kept up the pressure though and another free kick by Shelley failed to find the target whilst at the other end Lee Butler hoisted a free kick high into the Leek box where Chapman could only punch the ball in a crowded six-yard box but the Blues’ keeper recovered to claim the high ball.
In a final throw of the dice in the 3rd minute of added time, Brannan’s shot was deflected to the well placed Shelly and he curled a beauty round a defender and inches wide of the upright with the keeper well beaten.
Chasetown: Price, Farmer, Jackson, Slater, Tesfa Robinson, Teesdale, Westwood (Butler 87), Bragoli, Hay (Wellecomme 74), Sullivan, Brown (Theo Robinson 62). Unused Subs: Downes, Kisiel.
Leek: Chapman, Smith, Bell, Thomas, Bradbury, Hall, Connor (Brannan 62), Shelley, Grice, Kinsey (Morris 69), Danylyk. Unused subs: Mellor, Bailey.
Yellow card: Danny Smith
Star man: Anthony Danylyk
Report: Mike Cope