STAFFORD 1st XV fell to their second defeat in as many weeks as Staffordshire rivals and visitors Leek stole the honours at the Newport Road ground.
The home side started the game with a textbook play as they chased down their own kick off to force the visitors into conceding a scrum.
A solid forward drive created the platform for the backs to spin the ball and Rich Martin stretched across the line to put the home side into the lead with only five minutes gone on the clock.
The game settled into a series of attacks, launched by both sides, a missed Leek penalty closing this period of play.
However, Stafford’s afternoon took a downward turn as they were temporarily reduced to 14 players courtesy of a yellow card. Leek took full advantage, converting a penalty to narrow the scores and then a converted try to propel them into the lead.
Stafford, who lost their opening league game at Crewe and Nantwich, continued to suffer as two successive injuries in key positions unsettled the balanced team. Leek closed the half with a further penalty to stretch the half time score to 13-5 in their favour.
Stafford opened the second half with a narrowly missed penalty, but looking determined to fight their way back into the game.
Leek responded with a successful penalty and Stafford were again reduced to 14 men as they incurred their second yellow of the game.
The visitors ran in their second try of the afternoon which stung the Stafford forwards into a ferocious attack. Leek were battered back across their own line and despite grounding the ball in three separate attacks, no try was given
Missed tackles led to the third Leek try and a fourth was not far behind. When Stafford were reduced to 14 men for a third yellow of the game a response became a matter of pride, before a Leek penalty and further try closed what had become a dismal afternoon for Stafford.
This Saturday, Stafford visit division two West (South) side Kidderminster in a friendly (3pm). Pictured is Stafford’s Phil Brown against Leek.