“I never look at league tables. I just know that if we continue to play like that then we will be alright” That was Neil Baker’s comment after his side’s “comprehensive” defeat of Prescot Cables ended the visitors’ eight-match unbeaten run and leapfrogged the Blues into sixth place.
The Leek boss had expected a stern test from a Merseyside outfit that he described as “hard-working without any real stars.” But the reality was that the Cables were swept aside relatively easily. Prescot had to wait until the dying moments of the game for their only effort on target. This was a tame header from sub Jordan Southworth that barely troubled Danny Roberts.
In contrast, Leek were at their lethal best as they took a 1-0 lead into the break before taking their opponents apart in the second period.
The opening goal came after 18 minutes. Kyle Haslam had dealt well with a decent cross but when the ball was recycled the visiting defence was strung apart like the men on a bar football table. Rob Stevenson was able to pick his spot and curl the ball in off a post as Haslam stood helpless.
The Cables’ keeper did well to keep the score down coming out on top in two on-on-one situations and there was a certain lack of ruthlessness from Leek’s forwards. This prompted Baker to tell his strikers at half-time “I know you don’t miss chances on purpose but there are others who are waiting to take your place!!”
The hint was duly taken and thirteen minutes after the restart the lead had been doubled. Stevenson was brought down on the edge of the Prescot area and up stepped Jordan Johnson. Despite the visitors setting up a five-man wall Johnson was able to find the bottom right-hand corner as he showed his dead ball skills once again.
Less than ten minutes later the game was all but over as a contest as Leek were awarded a penalty that many thought was a little harsh. Aaron Bott turned well in the box before his attempted pass hit his nearby marker Valter Fernandes on the arm. Baker believed that the referee had got the call right saying” I thought it was a definite penalty. There was a definite movement upwards of the arms.”
After long protests Darren Chadwick stepped up to the spot and struck home the perfect penalty.
The icing was added to the cake nine minutes from the final whistle. The tireless Bott found Stevenson who wrong-footed the defenders by moving the ball on to his favoured left foot. He the unleashed a powerful shot that flew into the roof of the net from the edge of the area.
The only downer of the day was the early loss of influential left-sided midfielder Lewis Short. But once again Joe Kearns stepped in with an impeccable display to make up for the absence.
The Leek boss expressed his pleasure by adding “That was a good week’s work. It would be difficult to single out one player for special praise. There were lots of good performances out there today.” He did however have some special words to say about Scott Lycett. “He is a very good player. I had no hesitation in giving him the Captain’s armband when Darren (Chadwick) was out. And I have seen no reason to take it away from him.”
Leek’s Line Up
Roberts, Green, Short (Kearns 15), Grocott, Lycett, Chadwick, Reeves, Hall, Johnson, Bott (Walford 85), Stevenson
Unused Subs Bavanganga, Hurd, Chapman