Leek Town’s run in the Emirates FA Cup came to an honourable end in front of a crowd of 790 at Harrison Park. The draw always looked a difficult tie and Kings Lynn Town eventually made their class tell with goals from Sonny Carey and Jason Richards after the break.
But Leek can be proud of their performance against a side from two leagues higher up the pyramid and, with a little more luck, could have gone in with a lead at half-time. Visiting keeper Alexander Street was almost left with egg on his face when an attempted clearance was charged down by Billy Reeves. Street was relieved to see the ball go safely behind.
The Linnets’ stopper redeemed himself shortly afterwards when a cross from Reeves caused panic in Kings Lynn’s defence. With Ollie Harrison challenging, the ball looped off a defender and Street had to perform heroics by arching backwards to scoop the ball from the goal-line.
In a game that produced little in the way of goalmouth action the only other chance carved out by the Blues was a glancing header from James Kirby – in as a replacement for Tim Grice – that went straight into the keeper’s arms.
Kings Lynn also came close when a free-kick was tapped into the path of Michael Gash whose piledriver effort beat Danny Roberts only to cannon back from the upright.
Leek were dealt a blow when the impressive Lewis Short was forced off with hamstring problems two minutes before the break and this helped to turn the tide as a re-energised visiting side came out for the second half.
Blues’ resistance was broken shortly after the re-start. Charlie Walford lost the ball to Carey who hit a speculative effort towards goal. It should have been an easy take for Roberts but the Leek custodian got his angles all wrong and could only help the viciously swerving ball into his own net.
The game was effectively over ten minutes later and once again the finger could be pointed at Roberts who had initially done well to turn aside a fierce drive from Carey. Unfortunately, the goalie failed to take control at the corner when put under pressure and when the ball was half-cleared to the 18-yard line Richards was able to lash home the decisive strike.
To their credit Leek managed to regain some control in the closing stages and almost notched a consolation when Chris Baker hit over following a flowing move.
Manager Neil Baker was philosophical in defeat but admitted a degree of disappointment at the result as he gave an exclusive interview to Moorlands Radio. He said “I am a little bit disappointed that we didn’t do better with the ball particularly in the second half. But we had a decent first half. There wasn’t much in it. But our balls into the box weren’t good enough when we had got into good positions.
Second half – until late on – Kings Lynn were in control. They had some good footballers but didn’t think they were a threat up front. I thought we handled them well and it was a couple of mistakes that cost us in the end and not great football. So, a little disappointed but we move on.”
Baker added “We have enjoyed our run and it’s brought a few bob into the club but there is a lot of football to be played and there are competitions that we can go a lot further in. We have loads to look forward to.”