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Evo-stik Northern Premier League First Division South

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: April 16, 2014

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ALTHOUGH Blues dropped two points at Scarborough on Saturday, they are still in the championship race just a point behind third placed Coalville and three behind current leaders Halesowen Town, but with a game in hand.

Leek looked to be heading for victory when Seadogs skipper Paul Foot was shown a straight red for an horrendous tackle on Ben Mills midway through the second half, before the visitors went ahead courtesy of an own goal.

However, a number of things went wrong with Scarborough's equalising goal in that a free kick was needlessly conceded – the ball was still rolling when the kick was taken – Leek backed off and the cross took a deflection into the path of their striker, and two points went down the drain.

After the game Blues' assistant manager Peter Ward said: "We are obviously disappointed at only getting the draw, but if we had been offered that a couple of months ago we would have taken it.

"I thought we were in control for much of the game and created the better chances. However, their keeper kept them in it with a string of outstanding saves.

"We looked comfortable in the opening half with both JJ (John Johnston) and Jordan (Johnson) both involved and by half time we felt we could go on and win the game. In the opening 15 minutes of the second half we continued to create chances, and then they had a lad sent off and we got the own goal down to our pressure at a corner.

"But, after that, we lost our way a bit instead of sticking to the game plan – our passing became poor and we didn't get the ball wide enough.

"Their free kick was unnecessary, the ball was still rolling when the kick was taken and the ball's taken a deflection of Ant (Danylyk) and the lad's tucked it away.

"However, the championship is still in our hands – we just need to win our last four games."

Blues boss Lee Casswell made two changes to his line-up with Paul Donnelly replacing Rhys Swetnam in defence, while Niall MaGuire was preferred in midfield to Dan Shelley.

The game at Queensgate kicked off at 3.07pm in remembrance of those who lost their lives at Hillsborough.

Blues tested the keeper in the fourth minute when John Johnston went past a defender to cross to the near post where Jason White made the save.

Leek mounted two attacks in the 11th minute but White just won the race with Johnston and then Ben Mills got round the back, but the ball bounced off him for a goal kick.

Scarborough got forward in the 17th minute but Jimmie Beadle headed a Ryan Williams cross way over the crossbar.

In the 21st minute Matt Bell hoisted a free kick into the box but Dan Smith was crowded out and the danger was cleared. Two minutes later Blues put a good move together but when Ant Danylyk found Maguire he saw his shot deflected for a corner. Johnson drove a 20 yard free kick into the wall in the 28th minute before the home side began to exert some pressure, but Leek finished the half on top.

The home side attacked from the whistle in the second period with Donnelly blocking a shot from Beadle and from the corner, Beadle got in a good header but Ben Chapman was well placed to make the save.

The game exploded in the 63rd minute when Foot received his marching orders and Blues set about exploiting their one-man advantage.

The pressure paid off in the 69th minute when Bell drove a telling ball into the six-yard box where the unfortunate Matt Plumber planted a header into his own net.

In the final 15 minutes Scarborough pushed forward, but Blues' defence looked solid until eight minutes from time when Dan Shelley conceded a needless free kick. However, the ball was still rolling when the kick was taken but the referee allowed play to continue and it took a wicked deflection off Danylyk into the path of former Mansfield Town striker Grant Ryan, who fired across Chapman and inside the far post.

Scarborough Athletic: White, Plummer, Ridley, Milne, Foot, Beadle, Thewlis (Middleton 66), Ryan, Blott, Bradshaw, Williams. Subs not used: Shepherd, Atkinson.

Leek Town: Chapman, Smith, Bell, Dicker, Donnelly, Hall, Danylyk, MaGuire (Grice 83), Mills, Jordan Johnson (Shelley 78), John Johnston. Subs not used: Kinsey, Swetnam, McEleny.

Attendance: 39 5

Man of the match: Paul Donnelly.

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