A Tim Grice penalty earns The Blues a replay in the FA Cup


Leek Town were seven minutes from going out of the FA Cup until Tim Grice rescued the game for the Blues to ensure they will replay v Charnock Richard for a place in the first Qualifying round of the FA Cup in front of Match of the Day pundit Mark Lawrenson.

The club’s record goalscorer netted from 12 yards out as the two sides played out an entertaining game of football in Lancashire.

Zeph Thomas should have given Leek the lead on nine minutes when Rob Stevenson broke down the wing before getting his cross in but it was over the forwards head. While at the other end Carl Grimshaw was looking lively for the hosts, a man who would be keen to add to the 51 goals he scored last season.

The game was thrown into doubt after 11 minutes when the floodlights all went out due to a power surge and the referee Paul Roots halted the game. But after some frantic scuttling and a 10-minute delay, the game was resumed.

Scott Lycett continued to captain the Leek side in the absence of Darren Chadwick and he showed why Neil Baker entrusted him with the armband as he got in front of Grimshaw to deny him the opening goal of the game after an excellent cross from Mark Woods.

Thomas was in the thick of the action for Leek as they pressed for the opener with him having three good chances to score but was unable to convert. He was able to break past the defence with the assistance of some quick balls from his teammates.

In the last action of a busy first half, Dan Trickett-Smith could have had a penalty when he was bundled over but the referee was unmoved.

The Blues came fast out of the box in the second half and were ahead after just four minutes when following some good work by Rob Stevenson on the by-line he was able to cross for Trickett-Smith to tap home.

No sooner had the Blues had taken the lead then Charnock drew level. A free kick from Woods into the area was diverted past the diving Danny Roberts by Ashley Ball to bring the Hallmark Security League side level after just 52 minutes of play.

The hosts were in the ascendancy and they took the lead just after the hour mark when Grimshaw beat Roberts to the ball and with the Leek number one out of his goal it allowed Joe Noblett to put the underdogs ahead.

The Moorlands side threw everything at Charnock hoping they would budge but they wouldn’t, meaning Baker had to bring on Grice as well as Sam Hall and Jordan Johnson to force an equaliser. All three subs went close Grice with the best chance flicking the ball over Ross O’Farrell’s head before shooting across the face of goal.

On 82 minutes Trickett-Smith got his penalty when Ryan Schofield brought him down in the area and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Grice who sent Cheetham the wrong way to bring the two teams’ level.

Both sides had chances to win the tie but, in the end, a draw was the best result as the two teams gave it everything but couldn’t find a way through.

I spoke to Assistant Manager Pete Ward after the match and this is what he had to say: