HomeFeaturedLocal SportBlues Draw their First Home Game of the Season at Buxton

Blues Draw their First Home Game of the Season at Buxton

A highly entertaining game played in atrocious conditions saw Leek still seeking their first win of the season despite taking an early two-goal lead. Dan Trickett-Smith notched both of the goals but Trafford had reduced the lead just before the break through Matt Morgan and levelled matters through an own goal midway through the second period.

Leek registered their first point of the new season after looking as though they were going to run away with the match but then had to play second fiddle to the visitors for much of the final hour before almost nicking what would have been an undeserved win in the dying seconds.

Trafford were dealt a serious blow before kick-off when their captain and centre back Kell O’Brien pulled up with a hamstring injury during the warm-up session and a hastily rearranged Trafford defence found it difficult to cope with a free-flowing Leek attack.

It took just four minutes for the Blues to take the lead. An incisive move released Trickett-Smith down the right and he rounded the keeper to slot home the opener. Fourteen minutes later the lead had been doubled as Leek continued to terrorise a seriously disrupted defence.

Adam Rooney committed a foul right on his 18-yard line and the defensive wall failed to do its job as Trickett-Smith hit a fierce free-kick through the wall and past Matt Cooper.

That was as good as it got for Leek though. Trafford’s defenders finally sorted themselves out and the supply lines to the Leek forwards were cut off. The Blues found it difficult to cope with the flank play from Darius Palma and Alfie Belcher and the home side were placed under continuing pressure.

This finally told three minutes before the break. Good interplay between Belcher and Palma saw the ball laid into the path of Morgan who struck a low shot into the bottom corner.

Trafford took full advantage after the break of a swirling wind which was blowing in their favour and created numerous chances to level the score – the best of which was fired over by Belcher as he met an Andy Roxburgh cross. Trafford finally netted the equaliser in the 64th minute. Palma’s corner caused all sorts of panic in the Leek defence and Billy Reeves’ attempt to head clear was diverted into his own net.

The game was now Trafford’s to win. Michael Burke volleyed narrowly over and it needed good work from Danny Roberts to save from Palma as he tried to punish a mistake in the Leek defence.

Despite all the pressure from the visitors, it was Leek who almost snatched victory at the death. Cooper inexplicably chased a ball out of his area and when he failed to control the ball it was played back into the path of Oli Putnam who appeared certain to score but Rooney performed heroics to clear from the line.

After the match Leek manager Neil Baker spoke exclusively to Moorlands Sport saying:

“We have no divine right to win matches just because of the last two seasons. It was a great match for the neutral but not for those in the dugout. It was a great match to watch but the wind played a massive part. If we had kept it 2-0 up to the break, I would have been really happy. It would have given us a solid base to work on.

“I thought we started both halves well and the beginning of the second half was our most controlled part of the game. I think we have seen two teams who I don’t think will be at the top but have done everything as well as we have. Rylands had a good game plan that they stuck to but Trafford were technically and physically better.

“I’m always looking to improve but it’s difficult to get the right players in our locality and will have to look outside the area but I am always looking to improve the players I’ve got. And they have to improve. They are not playing well at the moment and that has to change. And it will change. We had a slow start a couple of seasons ago but we just have to hang on in there. I can promise the supporters that we will improve.”

Dave Stringer
Sports Reporter and Theatre Critic

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