Leek boss Neil Baker admits that he does not like losing. Defeat usually means a restless night as he
ponders what he could have done differently to change the course of a match.
So, visitors to the Baker household the day after Leek’s exit from the FA Trophy would no doubt have
been met by a manager with heavy bags under his eyes. However, Baker had already succinctly
summed up why his side had floundered to make a breakthrough in 180 minutes of football against
Stamford when he said “They did a number on us. That’s what Stamford are good at. They just didn’t
allow us to play.”
Those words were said in grudging praise of a Lincolnshire side that was well drilled and organised
and worked their game plan to stifle Leek to perfection. There were few in the ground who thought
that the 1-0 victory had been less than well-earned.
It hardly made for a footballing festival though as the first forty-five minutes were instantly
forgettable. The Blues had the ball in the net on three occasions only for the strike to be cancelled by
the assistant’s offside flag. Baker commented “I would like to have a look at the first one again.
Jordan Johnson seemed to have created a lot of space for himself and that sometimes deceives a
The only shot of note in the first period was an effort from distance that forced Danny Roberts into a
full-length save but the visitors came out for the second half in determined fashion. A shot was
immediately cracked against Roberts’ post before the Daniels scored the decisive goal five minutes
Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson was fed on the left and he did well to get behind the Leek defence. The
low cross found an unmarked Liam Adams who had all the time in the world to steer the ball past a
Baker commented “I was disappointed with my two centre backs. One went to meet the ball and the
other dropped to the line instead of marking the man. That wasn’t what was needed.”
The Blues worked hard to find an equaliser. Baker shuffled his pack by making three substitutions
but they made little headway against a resolute Stamford defence even though Stamford played the
last thirty minutes with just ten men. Kern Miller earned a straight red card for a badly mistimed
tackle on Johnson but the visitors stood firm.
Even when an opening was created the Blues found Stamford’s keeper Danny Haystead in fine form.
He stretched to fingertip a Danny Lycett header on to his crossbar to safety and then made two
point-blank saves in a mad scramble late in the match.
Baker added “My forwards didn’t make the right runs and there was no real creativity tonight. I
thought when the ball hit our post it may have been our night but it wasn’t to be.”
Leek can now mainly concentrate on the League starting with a tricky trip to face the League leaders.
But as Baker said “If we play like that we won’t be at the end of the table where we want to be.”
Roberts, Green, Short (Walford 73), Grocott, Lycett, Chadwick, Reeves (Maguire 65), Hall, Bott,
Johnson (Grice 65), Stevenson Unused Subs Bavanganga, Chapman