Another win on the road for the Blues as they comfortably defeated a Ramsbottom side that, despite giving starts to a raft of new signings, went down to another defeat without troubling the scoreboard.
The main question was why Leek could only take the points with a 2-0 margin as they squandered chance after chance as they dominated possession for much of the game. There would have been no argument if the visitors had put the game to bed in the first forty-five minutes with an unassailable lead. But the game remained scoreless until the 66th minute when Ollie Harrison broke the deadlock and it wasn’t until the closing seconds that the match was eventually settled through Will Saxon.
The tale could have been so different had Rammy taken advantage of their early superiority with a couple of efforts going close for the home side – none closer than for James Murphy. Ramsbottom’s leading scorer had the goal at his mercy but contrived to put his effort wide. Owen Collinge later pushed a cross-shot beyond the far post with Murphy lurking in a much better position had the killer pass been made.
The ability to miss the target when it seemed easier to score was a virus that was caught by Leek as they gradually worked their way into the game and pushed the Rams onto the back foot. A combination of stout defending led by Dahrius Waldron, who was a rock in defence until suffering what seemed to be a groin injury later in the game, and ably supported by a confident display by former Morecambe keeper Tom Stewart kept Leek at bay.
Nevertheless, the Moorlanders should have been at least two up at the break. Tim Grice uncharacteristically wasted a golden opportunity when he broke clear and sent Stewart the wrong way but hit a left-footer wide before Dan Trickett-Smith was another to spurn a clear-cut chance.
The influential midfielder nicked the ball off last defender Steve Hoy before bearing down on goal. Instead of trying to score himself in a one-on-one on the keeper, he tried to pick out Grice. Unfortunately, the defenders had recovered and the pass was cut out.
Leek continued to dominate after the break and the pressure finally told. With the home defence in disarray, the ball was eventually passed into the box where a host of players in luminous green were waiting. It was Harrison who got the final touch from close range sparking celebrations that contained more than a touch of relief.
Rammy threw everything at the visitors to retrieve the situation. They caused more than a little discomfort to the visiting defence without creating any clear chances before Saxon settled the game. His pace had caused problems throughout and he once again got clear down the right. Stewart foiled the first effort but Saxon’s persistence paid off and he was able to pick up the loose ball for the deciding goal.
A word about Danny Roberts. Blues’ fans wondered how he would react to his midweek nightmare in Seel Park. Very pleasing to say that he capped a commanding display with a spectacular save when he held onto a fierce drive from substitute Omar Ibrahim in what was the home side’s only serious effort on goal. The demons have most definitely been exorcised.
With Neil Baker still incapacitated, Jamie Cullerton was still in charge and after the game he spoke exclusively to Moorlands Radio saying “I wasn’t so sure we would win the game. When you don’t put the chances away, it might come back to bite you. But to be fair we kept going. I said at half-time so long as we keep our shape, don’t do anything we hadn’t done in the first half and keep our discipline we would be ok. Eventually a couple of chances came our way and we took them. I thought it may be one of those days. It’s always in the back of your mind. I was quietly confident that we would keep a clean sheet. It was just whether we would put one of our chances away. If we had just got a point I would have been happy but obviously to get three points then I am absolutely delighted. This is always a difficult place to come to.”