Sheffield FC had a nightmare start to 2020 as they came up against one of the most potent players in the NPL, with regular tormentor Tim Grice getting all the goals, as Leek Town continued their title assault with a 4-0 win at Harrison Park.
As in their previous games, Sheffield started well by getting the hosts on the back foot, however they were soon on the back foot as midfielder Ash Grayson left the field after just ten minutes following an injury.
Charlie Walford was the first to get a shot on target, easily gathered by young keeper Sam Kelly, but the failure to clear their lines soon cost the visitors dearly.
Tim Grice started the move setting Jake Twyford on the left, he in turn put Walford in at the byline, sending in a cross that was nodded back across the goal into the far corner by Grice.
Grice could have added to his total, being left open enough to let two wild efforts sail wide, whilst Ollie Harrison headed straight at Kelly from a Louis Keenan corner.
Three minutes before the break Leek took advantage of a flat back line, Keenan sending a ball over the top, with Grice timing his run to perfection and finishing with ease to make it 2-0.
Just before the break Sheffield had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside, Cody Prior’s deflected shot was only parried out by
Danny Roberts, with Marc Newsham steaming in from an onside position to slam home – only for the assistant’s flag to wipe out the visitors’ celebrations.
The second half saw Sheffield come out of the blocks strongly once more, with Jordan Chapell getting a shot on target that was plucked from the air by Roberts, whilst Chapell sent in a free-kick moments later that Newsham headed wide of the mark whilst having acres of space.
That failure to take advantage of a rare Leek defensive lapse was to be costly, Billy Reeves won the ball in midfield, before Lewis Short picked the ball up to send the ball into the back post, where once again Grice was on hand to nod home for his hat-trick.
On 72 minutes the scoring was complete, substitute Harry Goode providing a deep ball from the right wing, with Grice showing strength and poise to head home his – and Leek’s – fourth goal and send them safely two points clear at the top.
Leek Town: Daniel Roberts, Jessy Bavanganga, Louis Keenan, Marc Grocott, Oliver Harrison, Darren Chadwick, Charlie Walford, Billy Reeves, Tim Grice, Lewis Short, Jacob Twyford. Subs: Matt Bell, Harry Goode, Jack Hurd, Christopher Baker, Aaron Bott.
Sheffield FC: Sam Kelly, Stuart Ludlam, Ben Turner, Cody Prior, Robert Darkin, Adam Chapman, Edward Cribley, Ashley Grayson, Marc Newsham, Rieves Boocock, Regan Hutchinson. Subs: Alex Wonham, Damian Magee, Matthew Roney, Jordan Chapell, Gavin Smith