Evo-Stik NPL First Division South
Leek Town 0 Loughborough Dynamo 1
LEEK Town’s miserable run of results continued at Harrison Park on Saturday.
Loughborough had never beaten Leek in eight previous attempts Blues have now picked up just one point from their last five outings.
As a result, they have dropped into the bottom half of the table. Yet just five games ago, they were looking good for a place in the top five and the play-offs after four straight wins.
Leek boss Lee Casswell was looking to rally his under-achieving squad for last night’s visit to bottom club Hucknall Town, ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Carlton.
History repeated itself as once again Leek contrived to miss a host of first half chances.
The visitors took the lead against the run of play, seven minutes from the break, after some woeful defending.
Loughborough went on to control much of the second half and Blues had goalkeeper Ben Chapman to thank for pulling off a series of brave saves.
Casswell said after the game: “I was expecting a reaction following the result on Tuesday but I didn’t get one and although I’m disappointed with the result, I’m more concerned with the manner of our defeat.
“If the players think they are coming in and playing like that, then there will be changes made – it’s just not acceptable.
“There was no fight, no spirit and no commitment by some of the players.
They must understand they can’t keep coming in just to pick up their money.” Casswell made two changes to the side that lost to Sheffield FC in midweek.
Christian Peach made a long-awaited full debut and Adam Roberts came in for Anthony Danylyk and Andy Kinsey (injured).
Tim Grice forced the Loughborough goalkeeper to palm his effort wide for a corner only two minutes into the game.
Shelley drove the flag kick into the near post, where Sam Hall’s back heel effort fell wide of the upright.
Loughborough countered with Lawrie Pearson hoisting a free kick deep into the Leek box, where Danny Davidson headed down, only for Rob Norris to shoot wide.
In the seventh minute, Shelley lofted a corner to the far post where Thomas’ volley struck a Dynamo defender before being cleared.
Blues attacked again in the 16th minute, when Thomas aimed long into the box and Peter Wright shot wide on the turn.
Three minutes later, Thomas got on the end of a Matt Bell corner after the keeper had flapped at the ball, only to produce a wayward attempt.
Leek should have taken the lead in the 21st minute. Shelley played a great ball in for Grice, who was guilty of a glaring miss. The leading scorer advanced unchallenged into the box but lifted his attempt over both the advancing keeper and the bar.
A minute later, Blues came close again.
Shelley drove a free kick around the wall, but Wright was penalised as the goalkeeper fumbled the ball on the line and the chance was lost.
Two minutes later Loughborough responded, but when Danny Davidson rose at the far post to connect with an Alvin Jarvis free kick, Chapman was well placed to claim the ball.
Loughborough eventually took the lead against the run of play as a result of some quick thinking by former Blues striker Davidson.
Davidson took a quick throw-in and Reece Leicester turned the ball into the path of the unmarked Rob Norris to hammer home an unstoppable shot.
Loughborough were soon on the attack in the second half and Davidson caused panic when he got on the end of a cross, but the Leek defence managed to charge down two chances.
Goalkeeper Chapman almost came cropper in the 56th minute when Davidson managed to evade him after he had raced 30 yards off his line – but the Blues’ defence recovered and the Loughborough striker fluffed his chance.
In the 57th minute, George Melling hoisted a free kick into the visitor’s box which resulted in a goalmouth scramble that ended with Wright mishitting his shot.
There was little more in the way of goalmouth action until the 68th minute, when Melling missed a challenge which left Davidson free in the box – but Chapman pulled off a brave save to deny him.
Six minutes later, Davidson was presented with another good chance but once again, Chapman came to the rescue by diving at the striker’s feet.
In the 77th minute, Peach was brought down on the edge of the box and the free kick was cleared, only for Sam Young to shoot straight at the goalkeeper after bursting through.
Both sides had worked hard on the bumpy surface – but Leek will live to rue those first-half missed chances.