Boston Town fancied their chances of pulling off a giant-killing act against Leek Town. But the Blues ensured that was never going to happen with a professional approach that saw the United Counties League side put firmly in its place.
Early goals from James Kirby and Aaron Bott meant that Boston were always playing catch up and, after a second-half second from Kirby and the inevitable strike from Tim Grice, the Poachers were a well-beaten side.
Travis Portas will not wish to see video highlights of Leek’s opening two goals on too many occasions as his mistakes led to Leek establishing a two-goal cushion.
For the first Kirby made a powerful run from midfield and the young keeper decided to rush from his area in an attempt to deal with the situation. The Blues’ forward easily by-passed the stranded Portas and slid the ball into the empty net for the game’s opener.
Shortly afterwards Bott showed persistence to win the ball despite being outnumbered by defenders. This allowed him to swivel and his low shot squirmed under the keeper’s body and over the line to double Leek’s advantage.
The Boston keeper redeemed himself by bravely diving at the forwards’ feet to snaffle a low cross from Louis Keenan and then kept his team in the contest by spreading himself as Kirby threatened to effectively settle the contest. Portas saved with his legs to come out on top in the one-on-one.
Leek continued to dominate but were unable to add to their tally until ten minutes into the second period when Kirby added his second. A flowing move down the left flank saw Keenan deliver the perfect cross and the unmarked Kirby was able to head powerfully home.
That goal took the sting out of the game but there was still time for Grice to set the seal. Played in by a defence-splitting pass the ace goal scorer made no mistake as he placed the ball past the advancing keeper.
The Poachers had a few spells of pressure but were unable to make much impression on the visitors’ back line. Fraser Bayliss was energetic in the early stages and had an effort that went narrowly over the top but Boston’s best chance came just before the break.
Stacy Cartwright made space for himself at a corner and was able to get in a goal-bound header. But Billy Reeves was on hand to clear from the line and the home side’s hopes of a come-back were effectively stifled.
Leek Town Manager Neil Baker spoke exclusively to Moorlands Sport after the game. He said “We scored some good goals and limited their chances. They had some size and they could have been dangerous at set pieces but we didn’t feel they could trouble us too much. It was late in the game before they had a shot on target. That’s how we wanted it. We didn’t want to let them back into it before half-time. I just wanted to score the third to knock the stuffing out of them. In the end, we ran out comfortable winners.”
Baker added “I made the decision early in the week to play James and Aaron up top with three away games in the week. I wanted to give the others a go. And I thought they played well. They were good and they scored. When you have four goal scorers in your squad it keeps the others on their toes. Overall I thought we were comfortable and played some good football.”
As for the next round? Baker admitted “We’ll leave Kidsgrove for a bit!! I would love a home draw. We’ve done a lot of travelling.”