HomeFeaturedLocal SportLeek Town Win 5-0 in Feisty Encounter with Clitheroe

Leek Town Win 5-0 in Feisty Encounter with Clitheroe

Leek ran out comfortable winners of a much-anticipated clash of two promotion hopefuls but Clitheroe will rue the fact that their own lack of self-discipline led to a heavy downfall.

Leading by a Jack Wakefield goal at the break, the pressure was turned up in the second period against what was eventually a nine-man opposition with Will Saxon netting twice alongside strikes from Dan Trickett-Smith and Tim Grice.

As is their wont, Leek started the slower of the two sides but had warmed to their task by midway through the half and it took a goal-line clearance by Sloane Bailey to deny Saxon the opener. But there was nothing to prevent a perfectly-crafted goal from Wakefield to break the deadlock. Superb forward play by Rob Stevenson – he would be most spectators’ Man of the Match – saw the ball make its way to the midfielder who scored with a low drive that had laser-like precision into the bottom corner.

The game turned on its head in the dying moments of the first half. Saxon went to ground – a move that incensed the visiting players – and was manhandled by Jack Burrows. Burrows was shown a yellow card that was to have later repercussions for the defender and he was joined in the notebook by Danny Wilkins for his part in the ensuing melee.

But worse was to come for Clitheroe. When the referee blew his whistle to end a fractious first half he was surrounded by players and Player-Manager Billy Priestly was involved in a prolonged confrontation that eventually was ended by the brandishing of a red card.

Clitheroe lined up for the second period with a three-man defence and began brightly but the defensive gaps were soon being exploited by the home side. Workmanlike defending kept Leek at bay until just before the hour mark. Stephenson was once again the provider with Saxon sliding in to meet the low cross. The last touch appeared to come from Burrows but the defender was spared the ignominy of being credited with an own goal as the Leek player was awarded the goal.

There was no sparing Burrows’ blushes four minutes later though as a clumsy tackle saw a yellow card for the second time and the visitors were reduced to nine men.

Leek then proved unstoppable against their depleted opponents. A move sliced through a non-existent defence that saw Saxon add his second, Trickett-Smith was left unmarked at the far post to complete a cross from Stephenson and sub Grice lobbed the keeper with his first touch.

In fairness Clitheroe worked hard to keep the score down in the closing stages and Chris Thompson had a fine game. He pulled a save from the top drawer to deny Stephenson and came out top in a one-on-one with Trickett-Smith. Unfortunately, the visiting Blues had shown no penetration as an attacking force with just two weak headers from leading scorer Sefton Gonzales to show for their efforts.

Following the game Leek Manager Neil Baker spoke exclusively to Moorland Sport and said “We say every week to our players to not get involved. Clitheroe pressed the self-destruct button and one or two lost their heads. You very rarely win a game with ten men and even less with nine. So they played into our hands and it ended in a very comfortable victory. But I need to say that I think that we would have won even if it had remained 11 v 11. I was very confident of that even in the first ten or fifteen minutes when Clitheroe had a lot of possession in midfield but didn’t do a lot with it. They didn’t cause any problems and we looked more dangerous. It was a lovely opening goal from Wakefield and he is certainly coming to the fore. And defenders don’t like being attacked by pace and we certainly have pace up top.”

Dave Stringer
Sports Reporter and Theatre Critic

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