AN UNDER-STRENGTH Leek Town continued their pre-season programme with a hard-fought victory at Congleton last Tuesday.
Trialists Mike Keates and Tom Lowe were on target to set up the win but the hosts missed a second half penalty after Rhys Thompson was up-ended inside the box.
Blues' win came at a cost, as Anthony Danylyk and Isaac Cooper both limped out of the game with less than 25 minutes on the clock.
Blues took the lead in the 19th minute when Keates bundled home the loose ball after the keeper lost possession.
The visitors held the upper hand as the game progressed but Congleton missed a penalty on 36 minutes and after that, Leek never looked back.
Early in the second half, Mitch Husbands saw his shot crash into the upright and Dan Shelley had a shot cleared off the line as Blues piled forward.
Sam Hall set up Smith in the 56th minute but his hooked shot produced a full-length save out of the overworked keeper.
Ben Chapman pulled off a couple of fingertip saves to keep a clean sheet while at the other end, Shelley stung the keeper's fingers with a thunderbolt from 30 yards out.
In the 78th minute, Karl Espley's bullet header from a Shelley corner was cleared off the line and then Husbands steered another powerful header wide of the near post after Shelley fired in a second corner.
Two minutes later, Blues secured the victory when Ash Jackson raced down the left.
Jackson crossed wide to Tom Lowe, who sliced through the home defence, leaving three defenders in his wake, before deftly slipping the ball past the keeper. Chapman then made another fingertip save to deny the home side and at the other end, another Espley header was hacked clear as Blues finished strongly.
Leek Town: Chapman, Smith, Jackson, Donnelly, Espley, Hall, Shelley, Danylyk, Husbands, Bell Cooper. Subs: Swetnam, Lowe, Kollowski, Keates. Simms.