Staffordshire County Girls U15 League
Lichfield Diamonds 3 Leek Town 3
AN Elise Skelding hat-trick kept Leek Town in the race for the Staffordshire County League title – it’s now a three-horse race between Leek, Lichfield and Vale.
Leek started the first half well and on their first real attack, Skelding sprinted clear to open the scoring for Leek. It was a near-identical goal to the one scored by Skelding in the last game.
Lichfield piled on the pressure from the restart and the Leek defence – which has conceded only nine goals so far this season – was tested to the limit.
Lichfield then forced a corner and from this, managed to level the scores.
Kayleigh Barnes and Alice Naden both went close as Leek attempted to regain the lead.
Naden in particular was being given some rough treatment by the Lichfield defenders and from a resultant free kick Isabel Wretham had a good attempt saved.
Lichfield went ahead with a long range shot that beat the keeper and dropped into the back of the net.
This goal unsettled Leek and Lichfield again piled on the pressure to go 3-1 ahead.
Leek changed their formation for the second half and packed the midfield, leaving just Naden up front.
Kirsty Ryder was beginning to win more of the ball in the middle, while Lucy Kelsall was giving good support to Naden.
Leek forced a corner and the ball bounced in the box for Skelding to head into the net.
This was just what Leek needed and they were now having their best spell, with several good attacks, including a shot from Amber Stanway which went just wide.
Naden had to leave the field for a few minutes after another bad tackle, which cut her leg.
Leek continued on the front foot and the ball broke across the middle of the Lichfield 18-yard box for Skelding to make it 3-3.
The visitors continued the pressure but time ran out for them to get the winner.
Leek are now three points clear at the top of the league, but secondplaced Vale have a game in hand.
Leek: Hannah Austin, Emma Smith, Charlotte Bromley, Isabel Wretham Mollie Shaw, Lucy Kelsall, Kirsty Ryder, Amber Stanway, Elise Skelding, Kayleigh Barnes, Alice Naden, Eleanor Degg, Rosie Atkinson.
Player-of-the-match: Elise Skelding.
County Minor Sunday Youth League
Leek CSOB U18s 0 Leek Town U17s 0
LEEK took on local rivals CSOB looking to halt a run of four consecutive defeats.
CSOB were first to show with a neatly-taken volley just inside the Town area by Kieran Rutter, forcing keeper Tom Porter-Hargreaves to beat the ball away for a throw.
Porter-Hargreaves was again called into action, saving from Zak Barker at the near post as the home side dominated the early exchanges.
Town replied with an effort from Kieran Scotland, which was high off the target.
With defences dominating play, neither side could create much in the way of clear-cut chances.
Town’s Jack Davis found himself through on goal but sliced his effort wide.
Davis then came closer with a shot that squirmed through the legs of keeper James Mason, but he recovered well to collect at the second attempt.
As the half progressed, Town began to create more chances, with Liam Griffin breaking clear and forcing Mason to block.
Further shots by Davis and Scotland failed to trouble the home keeper.
CSOB started the second half quickly, forcing a desperate block from Marco DaSilva and a good save from Porter-Hargreaves to keep the scores level.
A CSOB free kick was volleyed just over the Town bar, after a smart turn by Sam Chawner as the home side pressed.
A big clearance from the CSOB defence put Barker through on goal but Porter-Hargreaves was quick off his line to block bravely at the strikers feet.
The home side continued to press and Town were again grateful to Porter-Hargreaves who tipped a powerful header just over the bar.
Town had a half chance in the dying minutes to snatch the points when a cross from the right from George Dawson found its way to Pete Bassett on the edge of the area.
However, the midfielder was unable to keep his strike down and on target.