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Vale Hit for Six as Solid Start is Made

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: July 16, 2014

Blues hat-trick hero Tim Grice.

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Leek Town 6 Port Vale 1

Blues kicked off their pre-season friendly programme with a comprehensive victory over a youthful Port Vale outfit at Harrison Park on Saturday.

Although the Moorlanders fell behind early in the game, a hat-trick by Tim Grice put then firmly in control and they finished the game off with three further strikes in the second half.

Lee Casswell named nine of last season's squad in his starting line-up, supported by new midfielder Sean Kinsella and former loanee Mitch Husbands up front.

New signings Ashley Jackson, Isaac Cooper and Tom Lowe won seats on the bench, alongside veteran striker Andy Kinsey.

After the game, Casswell said: "We said to the lads before that we wanted to be positive and we were – we got a lot out of the game.

"But we got off to a slow start and that is something we don't want to happen when the new league campaign starts.

"However, we improved in strength-sapping conditions and there were a lot of positive things we took from the game, and we were ruthless in the second half."

One negative note was a serious injury to Sean Kinsella, newly-arrived from Mickleover Sports. Kinsella will be out for up to eight weeks after breaking his ankle just 30 minutes into his debut.

Vale opened the game brightly and after two near misses, they took the lead when Kyle Clarke crossed from the right to find Omar Haughton, who hit a rising shot into the roof of the net.

From there on in, Blues took control, pressing the young professionals back into their own half, and it came as no surprise when they equalised in the 25th minute.

Danny Shelley took a quick throw-in to set Grice free inside the box. The latter drilled the ball across the keeper and it curled inside the far post.

Shortly after a drinks break on the half-hour, Leek lost Kinsella, who was replaced by trialist Isaac Cooper.

Vale's main threat came from lively winger Haughton but the Leek defence remained solid and Blues took the lead a minute from the break when Grice burst into the box and held off a defender before sliding the ball past the keeper for his second.

Six minutes into the second half, Leek stretched their lead when Dan Smith was brought down inside the box and Grice made no mistake netting his hat-trick from the spot.

In the 59th minute, Blues netted again with the goal of the game, when Sam Hall smashed home a superb volley from the edge of the box following a good cross from Shelley.

Blues new full back Ashley Jackson and Cooper forged a good partnership down the left flank, causing all kinds of trouble for the Vale defence, but Leek's fifth goal came from a set piece in the 77th minute when Shelley found the net with a free kick from 22 yards out.

Leek completed the rout in the 83rd minute when Ant Danylyk won the ball wide on the right and crossed into the box, where Matt Bell drove home.

Leek Town: Chapman, Smith, Bell, Dicker, Donnelly, Hall, Kinsella, Danylyk, Grice, Husbands, Shelley. Rolling subs: Jackson, Kinsey, Cooper, Lowe.

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