Blues draw an­other blank as they lose out to Lin­nets

Leek Post & Times - - SPORT -

Run­corn Lin­nets Leek Town

............. ....................... LEAGUE lead­ers Run­corn Lin­nets just about edged out Blues 1-0 at the Mil­bank Lin­nets Sta­dium on Satur­day.

A dis­ap­point­ing week for Leek con­tin­ued as they failed to score for the third con­sec­u­tive match after be­ing knocked out of the FA Tro­phy by Stam­ford on Tues­day night

De­spite that, Neil Baker opted for an un­changed side, but once again Blues strug­gled to cre­ate much to threaten the op­po­si­tion goal.

The Lin­nets had a chance in the open­ing mo­ments when Danny Roberts had to come out and make an im­por­tant block.

How­ever, Jor­dan John­son replied on eight min­utes when he ri­fled in a 20-yarder but it was com­fort­ably held by Dy­lan Forth.

The only goal of the game came in the 12th minute when Run­corn worked the ball through the Blues’ de­fence and Kris­tian Holt fired home with a low shot into the corner of the net.

There was lit­tle in the way of ac­tion at ei­ther end for the re­main­der of the half and de­spite a good crowd of 375 watch­ing, the at­mos­phere was sub­dued.

Town’s best move of the half came three min­utes be­fore the break when Rob Steven­son pro­duced a good cross from the left which was nod­ded on by John­son and met by Aaron Bott on the vol­ley, but he was un­able to keep the dif­fi­cult chance down and the ball cleared the cross­bar.

The sec­ond half con­tin­ued in a sim­i­lar vein but as the match wore on Steven­son was be­com­ing more of a hand­ful for the Lin­nets de­fence.

De­spite this, Blues failed to get an ef­fort on tar­get, with sub­sti­tute Tim Grice com­ing clos­est with a header just over from a Steven­son cross.

Leek lost Scott Lycett to a ham­string in­jury in the sec­ond half with Jesse Ba­van­ganga re­plac­ing him at the back, but Roberts was well-pro­tected with lit­tle to do him­self ei­ther.

Over­all, not an aw­ful to choose be­tween the teams in a game that was a poor ad­vert for the di­vi­sion, but Baker will be con­cerned at the lack of cre­ativ­ity from his side over the last week.

Team: Roberts; Green; Short (Wal­ford 60); Gro­cott; Lycett; (Ba­van­ganga 53) Chad­wick; Reeves; Hall; John­son; Bott

(Grice 75 ) Steven­son; Unused subs: ; Maguire; Chap­man.

Yel­low: Marc Gro­cott

At­ten­dance: 375

■ A FEW days ear­lier, Stam­ford knocked Blues out of the Buildbase FA Tro­phy with a 1-0 vic­tory at Har­ri­son Park in this First Qual­i­fy­ing Round re­play.

Neil Baker made one change to the side that started the first clash 0-0 on Satur­day with Marc Gro­cott re­turn­ing from sus­pen­sion in place of Char­lie Wal­ford.

The first half was an ex­ten­sion of the first match with no goals and lit­tle in­ci­dent of note.

Blues did have the ball in the net on 14th min­utes, but Jor­dan John­son was ruled off­side in what looked a mar­ginal de­ci­sion.

Things im­me­di­ately livened up in the open­ing minute of the sec­ond half when a Stam­ford ef­fort took a de­flec­tion and thud­ded into the post with Danny Roberts rooted to the spot.

Six min­utes later the Daniels were in front fol­low­ing a break down the left and a low cross con­verted from close range by Liam Adams.

Blues were thrown a life­line on 61 min­utes when Stam­ford’s Kern Miller was shown a straight red for a crude chal­lenge on John­son.

As the 10-man visi­tors de­fended deep so Leek upped the pres­sure but to no avail.

Scott Lycett saw a header from a corner bril­liantly tipped onto the bar by Danny Haystead in the 77th minute.

Three min­utes later Haystead was for­tu­nate when he spilled Bott’s low fee-kick and Dar­ren Chad­wick’s fol­low-up from three yards out hit the post.

Four min­utes from time Wal­ford’s deep cross al­most de­ceived the back-ped­alling goal­keeper who clawed the ball out at the far post.

Gro­cott had a late ef­fort de­flected over for a corner and there were a cou­ple of goal­mouth scram­bles, but Stam­ford held out in de­ter­mined fash­ion for a hard-fought win and a home tie against their lo­cal ri­vals Ket­ter­ing Town.

1 0 Leek Town’s Rob Steven­son, cen­tre, looks on as striker Aaron Bott chal­lenges for the ball dur­ing Satur­day’s match against Run­corn Lin­nets in the Evo-stik League. Pic­ture and re­ports: Steve Reynolds

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