|Stress ball not required as Leek win 2-0|
Leek Town 2 Boston United 0
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Day and Ground Enjoyment 10/10
A gentle drive through the stunning Hope Valley and Staffordshire Moorlands was only the beginning of a fantastic day at Leek Town.
I have driven past Harrison Park so many times on a non match day and even stopped to have a peek over the wall into this gem of a non league ground. Well the wait for a match day was well worth it and I was treated to an FA Cup special in front of a bumper crowd.
|It just gets better ! Leek players celebrate going 2-0 !|
Make no mistake this was no Boston tea party as Leek fully deserved the victory on their big day. The first half was tepid but in the 2nd half the game sprung to life and the game became more open. Leek broke out quickly and the Boston defence was in knots as a cross came in for the Leek forward to tap home into an empty net. The deciding goal came as a result of a mix up between the Boston defenders allowing the nippy Leek forwards plenty of space to pass to each other and score unchallenged.
Boston offered little after that and never looked like scoring. Talking to Boston fans before the game they arrived in a downbeat mood.One fan said as long as they had at least one attempt on target he would be happy as it would be an improvement on recent limp performances.
The welcome given by all the Club's Staff was fantastic as they could not be more helpful and friendly. They say good things happen to good people and the name of Leek Town will be in that velvet bag for Monday's 1st Round proper Draw and they fully deserve any success that comes their way. The locals want Macc Town then Port Vale and then Stoke City in the next few rounds and after that they dont mind who they get ! I always say if you are going to have dreams have big dreams and Leek's FA Cup journey is gathering pace and I will be following them all the way but I wont book my Wembley hotel just yet !
Some say the origins of Leek Town go back as far as 1876, the history of the club as we now know it begins in 1946. Starting out as Leek Lowe Hamil in the Leek and Moorlands League and progressing to the Staffordshire County League, where they still hold the record of being the only team to win the championship without the loss of a match in 1949/50. On moving into the Manchester League in 1951/52, they became Leek Town and won the championship at the first attempt. After a brief flirtation with the Birmingham League in 1954/55, they moved back to the Manchester League and eventually back to the Staffordshire County League.
It was 1968 when Leek Town started to become the club it is now. The ground was improved adding a clubhouse, small stand and floodlights. Manager Paul Ogden led the team to success in the Staffordshire County League and the Manchester League before joining the Cheshire League in the 1973/74 season and winning that championship at the second attempt. The chairman at the time was the late Geoff Harrison, after whom Harrison Park is named. Leek became founder members of the North West Counties League in 1982, but had little success. When the Northern Premier League was formed in 1987, Leek were again, founder members. After two seasons finishing third, they were promoted to the Premier Division on topping the First Division in 1989/90. This season also saw them reach the FA Trophy final at Wembley, where they lost 3-0 to Barrow. This was a historic achievement, as no other side from that level of the pyramid had ever done so previously. The success, all under the guidance of manager, Neil Baker, continued in the following season in the form of an FA Cup run where they defeated Scarborough in the First Round Proper and forced a replay against Chester City in the Second Round.
Leek’s second place finish in 1993/94 should have been enough to see them promoted to the Vauxhall Conference. Instead, they were rewarded by being shunted sideways to the Southern League, as they were denied a place for financial reasons.
It is fair to say that in the early part of the new millenium Leek's fortunes wobbled and success on the pitch was hard to come by. But to their credit in recent years they have restructured. The high turnover of Team Mangers has slowed down and today they seem on a much better footing. The loyal band of Staff and volunteers are a credit to the Club. From the Chairman down , everybody has a smile , professional and caring. Making sure that your visit to Harrison Park is an enjoyable experience and the football on the pitch is equally as enjoyable. It can only be a matter of time before they rise up the leagues once more.