Evo-Stik NPL First Division South Brigg Town 3 Leek Town 2
LEEK’S bid for a play-off place was dealt another broadside when they conceded an own goal deep into added time to gift Brigg the points in an otherwise entertaining game at the Hawthorns on Saturday.
Although there are still plenty of points to play for, Lee Casswell’s side have fallen off the pace thanks to a disastrous week during which they’ve thrown away eight points, conceded two own-goals and gifted two further goals from the spot, leaving the Blues’ manager frustrated.
From the kick-off, Leek took the lead when Sam Hall spread the ball wide to Tom Urwin. He crossed into the box for Andy Kinsey, whose shot was blocked by the keeper but Peter Wright was on hand to hammer the loose ball home.
Two minutes later, Leek put a good move together down the right but the keeper claimed the ball whilst at the other end Ben Chapman held onto a high cross into his box.
In the sixth minute, Matt Bell crossed into the box where Kinsey headed on for Wright – but he failed to get any power in his shot. Three minutes later, a great ball wide found Dan Shelley and he crossed in for Kinsey, who shot inches wide of the upright.
Leek kept up the pressure and should have stretched their lead in the 10th minute when Shelley went on another great run down the left to cross in again for Kinsey, who blasted over the crossbar.
In the 15th minute Leek came close again when Bell set up Shelley, who shot wide of the target.
In their first serious raid of the game the home side created their first chance of any note on 18 minutes when Liam Davis saw his shot blocked whilst the follow-up effort cleared the crossbar.
Blues almost increased their lead in the 25th minute when a great ball by Shelley found Kinsey, who side-stepped two defenders to get in a curling shot which Miles Fenty turned away.
Just a minute later, Brigg almost capitalised on a half-cleared corner but Paul Grimes’ header skimmed the crossbar and then a shot from Bruno Holden was well covered by Ben Chapman.
In the 35th minute, Fenty hoisted a free kick into the Leek area, where Scott Hellewell headed wide. A fine ball by Bell at the other end was just too deep for the unmarked Wright.
The second half was less than two minutes old when Blues conceded a second penalty in consecutive games. Matt Bell was adjudged to have brought down his opponent and Danny Buttle made no mistake from the spot to level the score.
Five minutes later, Brigg broke on the counter and Thomas missed out on a challenge, leaving Holden to stretch a leg to guide the ball wide of the advancing Chapman and into the bottom corner, to put the home side into a shock lead, Leek refused to lie down and went on the attack in the 54th minute with a good move across the 18-yard line before Wright laid the ball off to Hall – but he lifted his shot over the crossbar.
In the 58th minute, Kinsey twisted and turned inside the box before firing over and then Bell found Shelley – but his shot fell wide of the far post. In the 69th minute, Thomas drove a free kick into the box for Wright but his shot was charged down and then a good cross by Bell was headed on by Kinsey for stand-in skipper Ant Danylyk. His well-struck volley was brought down by Fenty.
In the 75th minute, Shelley was brought down in the six-yard box but the referee waved away the appeals.
However, he did award Blues a spot kick just two minutes later. Chapman launched a free kick into the box for Wright, who managed a shot but in doing so was scythed down by the keeper, who was yellow carded. Wright claimed the ball and blasted home to level the scores.
Leek then went for the win but Shelley fired inches wide in the 83rd minute The game went into time added on and Brigg snatched all three points courtesy of the hapless Thomas, who nodded a cross from the right past the stranded Chapman in the 94th minute.
After the game, Casswell said: “That was really disappointing and the manner of it didn’t help with that late goal – but these things happen in football.
“We scored two goals away from home and still lost, so it’s now very important we bounce back on Tuesday, when we will have Tim Grice and George Melling back in contention. We missed Melling’s experience on Saturday.
“Despite the defeat, we are determined not to let the season peter out. There are still a lot of points to play for and we are going to make a big effort.
“We hope to finish February on a high before we go to Hucknall and these games will give us a chance to get back up the table.
“We have now got to take each game at a time and see where we are at the end of March.
“We are talking to former Stoke City academy defender Layton Wint of Newcastle Town. If talks go well, he could be available for us on Saturday.”