HomeFeaturedLocal SportLeek Town Secure the Points at Kendal Town

Leek Town Secure the Points at Kendal Town

Central defender Oliver Harrison answered his manager’s call to score more goals in outstanding fashion. A towering header after just five minutes and a striker’s instinct to be in the right spot at the right time put Leek in control of a match that had been forecast as an easy three-pointer but proved to be anything but that as the game itself panned out.

It took a majestic free-kick from Louis Keenan to finally put an end to Kendal’s resistance after the Mintcakes had cancelled out Harrison’s opener through Danny Edwards and, for a while, looked as though they could pull off an unlikely result in what is becoming an increasingly difficult battle against relegation.

The home side were certainly helped by a Leek side that found it hard to replicate their normal crisp passing style of play on a surface that was heavy and uneven. However, the visitors started impressively and quickly opened up a defence that, with so many comings and goings in personnel, found it difficult to work as a cohesive unit. Kendal were undone at a corner when Harrison was left completely unmarked and was able to plant his header just inside James McClenaghan’s left-hand post.

If the travelling support thought that the opener would produce an avalanche of goals then they were to be sorely disappointed. The home side had almost got themselves on the scoresheet shortly after kick-off when a cross from Gary Basterfield – who showed impressive energy in the first half – was met by Eric Yahaya who beat Danny Roberts to the ball only to see his effort narrowly clear the bar.

Kendal responded well to falling behind and their efforts were rewarded after fourteen minutes. Leek failed to clear a long throw from Billy Batch and the ball eventually made its way to Edwards who finished in fine style for the equaliser.

The Mintcakes huffed and puffed but were never able to push on from their goal. Basterfield became less of a threat and Yahaya became increasingly isolated as the game developed into a scrappy midfield battle.

Although the home side was working hard, the more potent attacking threat seemed to be coming from Leek and it took some determined last-ditch defending to keep the score level as Jack Byrne stood out. McClenaghan did well to come out on top in a one-on-one with Will Saxon and there were three goal-line clearances in quick succession as Leek swarmed around the home goal.

It was Harrison who eventually broke the deadlock five minutes from the break. A free-kick found Dan Trickett-Smith who attempted to beat the keeper with an audacious lob from twenty yards. McClenaghan did well to arch his back and tip the ball onto his crossbar but Harrison was on hand to poke the loose ball home.

The second period was largely a non-event as Kendal continued to be competitive in midfield but were unable to put any pressure on the visiting defence and the game became a poor one to watch.

Harrison came close to completing an unlikely hat-trick but was inches wide with his headed effort and it was left to Keenan to finally kill off the resistance. Leek were awarded a much disputed free-kick in a dangerous position from where the dead ball effort was planted into the top corner.

This was not a classic game by any means but the outcome was another nail in Kendal’s relegation coffin while Leek consolidated their position in the top five.

Following the game, Leek boss Neil Baker spoke exclusively to Moorlands Sport saying:

“We talk about obstacles. We didn’t know what to expect when we came up here. They changed the Manager earlier in the week. They have made lots of changes in players so we really didn’t know what to expect. We knew from warming-up that it was going to be a difficult surface and I thought we handled it very well. I thought Kendal showed great spirit. We said this at half-time and that Kendal would be having a go but we had the players that made the difference and the big difference today was the set plays. WE worked on them and we said in the week that we could be more dangerous from set plays with the size we have got in the team. All three goals came from set plays. It shows that the work put in can bring benefits. Harrison should be more dangerous. I maybe put it into his head over the last few weeks. We need Josh Ryder to step up now because he had a good goalscoring record when he was at Congleton.”

Dave Stringer
Dave Stringer
Sports Reporter and Theatre Critic

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