Evo-Stik First Division South
Leek Town 3 Chasetown FC 0
AFTER Halesowen reduced Leek Town's lead to one point with a victory 24 hours earlier, Blues regained their four-point cushion at the top of the table with a solid win at Harrison Park on Tuesday.
Leek opened the scoring midway through the opening half and completed the job with a second goal with 15 minutes remaining, before netting a third deep into added time.
For some reason, the visitors resorted to the long ball tactic but despite Leek's lack of height at the back, Blues defended well, reducing the Scholars to just one shot on target.
However, Rhys Swetnam, making a rare start, had to be alert in the opening minute to get in a superb tackle to win the ball from Paul Sullivan as he burst into the box.
Leek responded in the sixth minute when Sam Hall played a great crossfield ball wide to John Johnston whose first time shot brought a good save out of Ryan Price in the visitor's goal.
Chances were few and far between until the 27th minute, when Niall MaGuire sent a dangerous cross into the box that had Price in two minds and Andy Kinsey capitalised, lashing the ball home to put Blues in front.
Four minutes later, Simon Brown dipped a free kick over the crossbar as Chasetown looked to get back on level terms.
Leek came close again in the 33rd minute when Kinsey held the ball up for Jordan Johnson, who had time to adjust his feet before lifting a shot narrowly over the crossbar.
In the 39th minute, Paul Donnelly drove a free kick to the far post for MaGuire but his angled shot was wide of the upright.
Leek attacked the box on the stroke of half-time and Chasetown failed to clear but Hall drove over from a good position.
After the break, Swetnam's long throw found John Johnston but his curling cross was claimed by the keeper.
A mistake by Jordan Johnson in the 54th minute almost proved costly when he lost the ball to Paul Sullivan, who made ground before firing a shot across the face of goal with Bell shepherding the ball out to safety.
Two minutes later John Johnston got on the end of a long clearance and took on the Scholars' defence before turning inside only to find the side netting.
Leek won a corner on the hour mark, but when Bell fired it to the near post, Kinsey glanced a header wide.
A minute later, Chasetown came close when Brown hammered a 25-yard free kick into the wall and the loose ball fell to Chris Slater who shot way over the crossbar.
The Scholars got their first shot on target in the 68th minute but Brown's 30-yarder was straight at the virtually redundant Ben Chapman.
Blues finally got the second goal needed to kill off the opposition in the 76th minute when Bell played the ball wide to Kinsey and he turned his marker to cross into the box, where John Johnston was on hand to lash the ball home.
Substitutions then came thick and fast for both teams but Blues benefited most when they drove in the final nail with Jordan Johnson driving home his 25th goal of the season.
Mitch Husbands has now returned to his parent club after completing a three-month loan deal from Worksop Town. Lee Casswell is keen to hang on to the young striker and will talk to the Worksop manager with a view to taking Husbands for the rest of the season when the loan window opens in January..
Meanwhile, young defender Joe Evans has been allowed to join Alsager Town on a dual registration to get in some match practice.