Leek began what on paper is a difficult week of football with a comfortable 3-0 win at Trafford. The three points gained lifted the Blues above their opponents into the play-off positions and once again showed that Neil Baker’s men are firmly in the promotion pack.
Leek could have led by more than the two goals netted in the first period as Trafford struggled to cope with a Blues side that was firmly on the front foot. As it was Leek were reliant on two strokes of luck for their half-time advantage.
Trafford’s loanee keeper Elliott Wynne made a hash of his clearance and in the ensuing scramble for the ball brought down Aaron Bott for a penalty that the Leek number nine dispatched with ease.
The visitors added to this seventh minute lead sixteen minutes later. A long throw from the left by Lewis Short was misjudged by Matty Hughes and the attempted header skimmed off the defender and grazed the underside of the bar before entering the net for Leek’s second.
Wynne atoned for his earlier error by making a flying save to deny Bott and Charlie Walford blazed over but the Blues settled the match shortly after the break with a beautifully crafted goal.
A swift counter-attack by Jordan Johnson and Rob Stevenson tore the home defence apart and when the cross went in Bott had the time to tee up his shot before planting home from twelve yards.
Unfortunately, a match that had been played in good spirit descended into farce fifteen minutes from the final whistle. A tackle by Jack Sanders on Lewis Nightingale was adjudged to be worthy of a penalty. Many thought this was a harsh decision but chaos ensued when Mr Ball reversed his verdict after consulting with his Assistant and play was restarted with a drop ball.
It took a little detective work to discover what had happened. Apparently, the referee admitted that his line of sight had been obscured and he had made a mistake in awarding the penalty. His Assistant then pointed out that the ball had run out of play before the incident and the outcome was the drop ball at which Leek were instructed to knock the ball behind for a corner.
Whatever the opposing views of the two camps regarding the fracas over the spot kick award there was unity in the belief that the game descended into a mix of strange decisions and petty squabbles that resulted in unnecessary yellow cards.
Trafford piled on the pressure in the closing stages but guessed it was not going to be their day when Ross Davidson headed wide from a good position and, in a rare piece of action for Danny Roberts, the Blues’ keeper held on to a fierce cross shot from substitute Aaron Burns.
Neil Baker was a very happy man following the game and said “I thought we could cause them problems. We controlled the game and defensively we were excellent and even in the last fifteen minutes or so they protected Danny Roberts well. I said at half-time that the next goal would be very crucial and I thought it was a lovely well-worked goal.”