LEADERS BEATEN IN BRUISING BATTLE
A pulsating and full-blooded game saw Blues beat league leaders Radcliffe 2-1 at Harrison Park.
Neil Baker recalled Scott Lycett into his back four with Billy Sass-Davies loan spell from Crewe Alexandra ended.
Aaron Bott retained his place up front despite reporting a back problem in the warm-up with Tim Grice only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench.
The tone for a feisty and physical encounter was set in the opening minute when Matty Williams sent Rob Stevenson sprawling was immediately booked.
Several more crunching tackles by the visitors went unpunished as it became apparent they were intent on taking a very physical approach.
Tunde Owolabi in particular was a persistent offender but the referee, who was struggling to keep control surprisingly did not show him a yellow card.
Leek went in front on 17 minutes when Stevenson's shot across goal was slid home by Bott at the far post.
Lycett found his name in the ref's notebook shortly afterwards for a foul but many thought an infringement by Radcliffe had gone unpunished just before that.
On the half hour mark Stevenson saw his fierce effort palmed over the bar by Ollie Martin in the Radcliffe goal.
Martin's kicking had been suspect throughout the game and five minutes he came out to the left side of his area and made a terrible clearance that went straight to Dan Trickett-Smith.
The midfielder took a moment to compose himself then shot from 35 yards into the unguarded net as Martin tried to get back but to no avail.
A game already at boiling point erupted further when Scott Metcalfe went through the back of Niall Maguire with a dreadful challenge.
With the home fans baying for blood the referee opted for yellow when many would have shown a straight red.
Right on half-time Bott found himself one-on-one with Martin but the keeper came out to smother the ball.
Radcliffe made two changes at the break and came out with a slightly less physical approach and looking to play a bit more football.
This paid off in the 56th minute when a ball from Owolabi found Louis Myers who slotted home past Danny Roberts.
There was more drama in the 67th minute when Lycett saw red for a second bookable offence when he thrashed the ball towards the corner flag after play had been stopped.
Bott was sacrificed for Darren Chadwick who took Lycett's place in the back four and with Blues unsurprisingly under the cosh, they mounted a superb rearguard for the last 25 minutes.
In a rare attack Stevenson almost made the game safe as he broke away down the right, but his curling and dipping shot went inches over the crossbar.
Radcliffe's best moment came five minutes from time when Metcalfe whipped the ball across the six yard box from the left but no-one was on hand to apply the finishing touch.
Town held firm through seven minutes of added time to record a crucial win that extended their unbeaten run to eight games and puts Baker's side right in the thick of the promotion battle.
1. Danny Roberts
2. Niall Green
3. Lewis Short
4. Marc Grocott
5. Scott Lycett
6. Jack Sanders
7. Niall Maguire (15. Charlie Walford, 62)
8. Billy Reeves
9. Aaron Bott (12. Darren Chadwick, 68)
10. Dan Trickett-Smith (16. Jordan Johnson, 78)
11. Rob Stevenson
Unused subs: 12. Darren Chadwick, 17. Jessy Bavanganga
Yellow card: Dan Trickett-Smith
Red card: Scott Lycett