Evo-Stik NPL First Division South
Leek Town 2 Carlton Town 1
LEEK ground out three vital points to make it two wins on the spin after taking all three points off bogey side Carlton at Harrison Park on Saturday.
After a nervous opening spell, Leek went on to take the lead with a superb goal seven minutes from the break – but the Millers levelled just four minutes later.
However, Blues regained the lead five minutes into the second half and held on to take the points as they leapfrogged their opponents in the push for a possible top five finish.
Blues boss Lee Casswell made two changes to the side that did so well in the previous midweek game at Hucknall Town, with Danny Smith replacing the injured Ellis Storey at the back whilst Tom Urwin was preferred in midfield to Adam Roberts.
The visitors looked the more positive of the two sides early in the opening half as skipper Matthew Varley demonstrated that his long throws would cause Blues a few problems during the game.
However, George Melling bellowed instructions to his fellow defenders and they cleared two of Varley’s long-range missiles that, as a result, became less of a threat.
On the half hour mark, Carlton almost broke the deadlock when Dean Gent fired in a corner that was tipped onto the woodwork by Chapman, who had to be at his best to keep out another effort, as the visitors kept up the pressure.
Wright controlled a high ball in the Carlton half on 32 minutes but after advancing into the box, his shot was well covered by Kearney.
Leek eventually swept into the lead with a superbly well-executed goal in the 38th minute.
Bell went down the left flank and twice swapped passes with Tim Grice, before firing a shot from the left hand corner of the box wide of the keeper and into the far bottom corner.
However, the lead lasted just four minutes as the ball was played wide for Blair Anderson, who made ground before cutting inside to lash a stinging shot from a tight angle that found the net inside the near post .
Carlton finished the half on the attack with Troke crossing into the box where Ian Brown scooped a shot over the crossbar.
Five minutes into the second half Leek regained the lead when Hall crossed into the box and Grice’s neat shot over the keeper found Wright poaching at the back post, where he nodded home from close range.
An awkward high ball into the Leek half found Leek skipper Melling and Carlton’s Anderson challenging for the ball but Melling prevailed to keep the lead intact.
In the 57th minute, Anthony Danylyk set up Shelley but his shot fell narrowly wide of the upright as Blues began to press home their advantage. Hall then took on the visitors, ghosting past two defenders before having two efforts blocked in the 18-yard box.
The Millers came close to levelling again in the 61st minute when Gent fired in a corner that Anderson got on the end of but Chapman went down to flick the ball off the line.
Play then got bogged down in midfield until the 79th minute, when Bell hoisted in another corner and Grice got a header on target but Kearney clawed the ball away from underneath his crossbar.
Carlton almost drew level in the 84th minute when Anderson crossed for Julian Topliss, but he was denied by an outstanding save by Chapman who dived full length to push the ball wide for a corner.
Three minutes later, Gent fired in another corner but substitute Corey Nightingale powered a header over the crossbar.
As the game drifted into added time, Grice went down the left before turning into the box – only to drive straight at the keeper.
Blues’ boss Lee Casswell said after the game: “That was a massive, massive result for us.”