Winsford United 3, Leek CSOB 0: SKILL, endeavour, entertainment and mud - lots of it - was the order of Boxing Day at the Barton Stadium.
In spite of the conditions underfoot, both teams produced a fine match. The crucial difference was that Winsford took their chances whereas Leek were foiled by a fine defensive display. The few attacks that did break through found Barry Crellin in top form.
Chris Melia was making his first start after injury and had a great chance to open the scoring on seven minutes when Mark Quinn's through ball found him with just Matthew Johnson in the visitors' goal to beat. However, Johnson managed to palm his shot onto a post and away for a corner.
Melia made amends for the earlier miss on 21 minutes by giving the Blues the lead. Danny Frost's free kick on the right was met by the striker's head with his back to the goal and the ball sailed high in the air. Johnson anticipated the ball going over the bar but it came down just under with the keeper helpless.
The Blues continued to press and were rewarded with a second goal on 36 minutes. Quinn was having an outstanding game and managed to take the ball through the mud to the right byline, his cross was cleared only as far as Jamie Williams whose shot was cleverly diverted by Chris Hutchinson.
Five minutes after the break, Dave Harper's free kick from the edge of the box was expertly saved by Crellin and efforts from Harper and Alan Nagington were also dealt with superbly.
It wasn't all one way in the second half and Ian Givin and Quinn both had chances to wrap the game up.
The highlight of the match came three minutes before the end when Stuart Wellstead collected the ball on the halfway line and, after leaving three defenders floundering in the mud, smashed the ball home from a narrow angle.