Evo-Stik-NPL First Division
South Loughborough Dynamo 0 Leek Town 8
BLUES consolidated their position as league leaders with a demolition job at the Nanpantan sports ground in Loughborough on Saturday.
However, the scoreline didn’t tell the full story, as the shell-shocked home side finished the game with only nine players.
Leek were already two goals in front when their hosts had a man sent off towards the end of the opening half.
Blues boss Lee Casswell made just one change at the back, with Ryan Dicker relegating Paul Donnelly to the subs bench.
Loughborough manager Tommy Brookbanks gave a debut from the bench to former Leek Town midfielder Sam Woods.
The Blues took a controversial lead in the 11th minute when, despite looking more than a yard offside, Husbands was allowed to score from close in.
Ten minutes later, Shelley played a ball wide for John Johnston to cross low to Husbands, who nipped in for his second goal.
The home side showed their frustration with a series of wild tackles and Connor Hughes was yellow-carded for a shocking challenge. Carl Sibson was also cautioned for a tackle on Jordan Johnson.
Worse was to follow for Loughborough when the referee sensationally sent off Holden after stopping play – apparently for something he said to the match official.
Shelley got on the scoresheet in the 40th minute when the keeper spilled Sam Hall’s fierce shot and Shelley was on hand to drill the loose ball home.
Shortly before the break, Sibson was lucky not to pick up a second yellow card after slicing Shelley down just outside the box. Minutes later, Shelley himself was cautioned for a foul on Sibson before home skipper Jake Betts also entered the match official’s notbook.
Loughborough made two substitutions during the break but they had little effect, as Blues increased their lead in the 59th minute.
John Johnson picked out Husbands, whose header crashed back off the crossbar and Jordan Johnson followed up to sweep the ball home.
Blues’ fifth goal arrived four minutes later when John Johnston set up Shelley, who sent a defender the wrong way before finding the back of the net.
Andy Kinsey netted Blues’ sixth goal in the 74th minute before Anthony Danylyk added his name to the scoresheet, lashing the ball home after a Dynamo defender sliced the ball onto his own crossbar.
In the 78th minute, Loughborough went down to nine men when Sibson was forced to limp out of the game after losing his toe nail, with all substitutions already made.
Blues were professional throughout and ruthlessly finished the game strongly, with John Johnston missing two chances before Jordan Johnson set up Kinsey to net the eighth and final goal of the game.
Casswell said of the victory: “That wasn’t expected, although we went there in a positive mood, looking to win the game.
“In the end, the performance was very professional, the attitude of the lads was superb and we stuck to the task through to the final minute.
“Obviously, the opening goal set us on our way but Mitch was way offside when he burst forward and went on to net the opener.
“We then took advantage to grab a second and scored on a regular basis thereafter to win the game.
“Although they had a man sent off and later went down to nine men through injury, we continued to attack and in the end, we thoroughly deserved our victory.
“There were some good performances out there today – none more than Dan Shelley, who has now found his form after a slow start to the season, whilst Mitch has done well leading the line during Tim Grice’s absence.”