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Uttoxeter Town hammer Leek to extend lead at the top

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: January 21, 2014

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UTTOXETER Town took advantage of the weather decimating the Staffordshire County Senior League fixture programme by extending their lead at the top of the Premier Division to seven points as they clinically dispatched Leek Town at Oldfields.

Mark Grimley made just one change from the side which crushed Florence 4-0 away the week before, James Curley replacing Matty Redshaw in attack partnering the in-form Tommy Smith.

Oldfields was again awash with home support and 146 watched on as Uttoxeter looked to strengthen their position at the top of the table.

And the hosts were soon in gear and broke the deadlock on 16 minutes when Lee Bagley switched the play to Martin Gadsby on the right of the area.

After exchanging passes with marauding full-back Alex Woods, Gadsby played Kyle Esplin into space 20 yards out and fresh from his hat-trick the previous week, Esplin made it four in two with a thunderous left-footed finish across the keeper and into the bottom right corner.

The hosts were well in the ascendancy and a fine move doubled their advantage on 21 minutes when Liam Sowter, Esplin, and Smith exchanged passes to release Jack Holley in the box.

The playmaker rolled the ball across the face of goal for Curley to slide into an empty net and cap off a wonderful one-touch move.

The other side to Town’s attacking play was then evident on the half-hour when Alex Langridge hoisted a huge clearance down the pitch which powerful frontman Smith latched onto.

He shrugged off three challenges and took a touch before smashing the ball into the back of the net with a fierce left-footed finish.

It was another passing move that brought the goal of the game on 36 minutes as Uttoxeter defied the wet and slippery conditions to produce one of the goals of the season.

Sowter and Esplin combined with Holley in midfield as they passed around the visitors before Holley picked out Smith inside the box.

A neat ball into Curley gave the striker space and after feinting to shoot he found Gadsby in space on the right of the area with a weighted pass.

The midfielder rammed home a fine finish past the watching keeper to all but seal the points for the hosts.

Leek were not completely outplayed by Town, though, and grabbed themselves a lifeline on 43 when Dave Short found a yard before finishing well from 16 yards.

The second half was a scrappy affair as the usually pristine Oldfields surface deteriorated and it was a less impressive goal which extended the league leaders’ advantage when a cross from Esplin evaded everyone to find its way into the far corner of the Leek net.

Uttoxeter rang the changes, with Mark Hodson coming on for his home debut but the hosts were again pegged back.

This time sloppy defending from a corner saw Matt Wooliscroft head home well from 12 yards to reduce the deficit.

Smith then grabbed his second of the game with a trademark run and shot after excellent work by Curley before the introduction of Redshaw and Glyn Douglas gave the hosts another dimension in the closing minutes.

There was time for Esplin to complete his second successive hat-trick after again taking a Gadsby pass in his stride and hammering a fine effort past the Leek stopper.

Leek grabbed the last goal of the game when Short notched his second with another goal which will have disappointed Grimley after a dominant display from his side, but it was too little too late for Leek who had been outplayed for the most part.

Uttoxeter will be hoping to take their good form into two cup matches against Stapenhill reserves tomorrow and Ball Haye Green on Saturday as their fine season continues.

MOORLANDS RACING MAN OF THE MATCH: Kyle Esplin – another fine hat-trick.

TOWN: Langridge, Woods (Hodson), Bagley, Ward, Richards, Sowter (Douglas), Gadsby, Esplin, Holley, Smith, Curley (Redshaw).

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