A long Wey but trip is worth it


Leamington turned on the style in the second half to record a stunning win over fellow promotion hopefuls Weymouth and slip past long-time leaders Hemel Hempstead at the top of the table, writes Paul Edwards.

Around 40 Brakes fans made the near 340-mile round trip to the Bob Lucas Stadium to cheer on their side and were rewarded with one of those ‘I was there’ nights.

Conditions on the south coast were positively Mediterranean in comparison to the Midlands and the threat of overnight rain had subsided, allowing the game to go ahead.

The Terras were one of the form teams in the division going into the game, and the first half was an evenly matched affair.

The hosts, backed by a vocal contingent of their own, enjoyed a large slice of the possession in the opening 45 minutes as they attempted to take the game to their visitors, but despite this it was Leamington who had the better of what few chances were created.

The central defensive pairing of Jamie Hood and Liam Daly were imperious along with James Mace and Stephan Morley, and the skipper snuffed out an early threat from Mark Ford with a well-timed challenge as the striker looked to break clear on goal.

More than half an hour passed before Matt Dodd turned well on the edge of the area and drove a powerful shot just over the bar.

The Terras responded with a shot that was well held by Laurie Walker.

Stefan Moore then showed his undoubted quality by picking up a loose ball on the left edge of the penalty area and holding off two defenders before crashing in a shot that Weymouth keeper Simon Evans did well to turn over the bar.

The former St Neots frontman had another glimpse of goal just before half-time when he latched on to Dodd’s ball into the penalty area but under pressure from a defender he sent his shot off-target.

The game continued to follow the same pattern as the second half commenced, but gradually Leamington began to see more of the ball and pressed forward into attacking positions.

Walker dealt well with a difficult cross at the other end, while Craig Owen fired high and wide when well placed.

It was apparent the first goal would be key and it came from the left boot of in-form midfielder Richard Batchelor just past the hour-mark.

Keeping possession from a throw- in level with the Weymouth penalty area, Morley and Lee Chilton exchanged passes before the former found Lee Moore, whose neat footwork took him between two defenders and he cut the perfect ball back for Batchelor to sweep home first- time.

The second goal arrived just two minutes later and took the wind out of a young Weymouth side.

It came as the result of a fine ball out of defence by Craig Owen which bisected Ashley Wells and Sam Poole for Stefan Moore to run on to.

With their team-mates all upfield the defensive duo were sent this way and that by Moore, who twisted and turned to make space for himself before firing across the six-yard box where his strike partner Lee Moore simply could not miss.

With 15 minutes to go the points appeared to be in the bag as another well-flighted ball out of defence from Stephan Morley dropped between Poole and Ed Palmer for Stefan Moore again, who held off Poole, dragging him one way and then another before lashing a right-footed drive into the far corner for his fifth goal in four league starts for the club.

Dodd helped to create the fourth goal five minutes from time when his persistence saw him hauled down just outside the penalty area. Lee Moore stepped up to curl the resultant free-kick past the static Simon Evans into the top right hand corner of the net to cap a fantastic 25-minute period for the visitors.

Walker ensured he would keep his third clean sheet in a row when he sprang to his right to keep out a header late on, but this was a great display all round from every player in Gold and Black, showing that when they are on top of their game they are a match for any team in the Premier Division.

Weymouth: Simon Evans, Barry McConnell (Lewis Clarke, 80), Ashley Wells, Stephen Reed (Craig Duff, 62), Sam Poole, Ed Palmer, Dan Smith, Dan Clay (Jamie Skinner, 80), Ben Joyce, Mark Ford, Kyle Critchell. Subs not used: Matt Groves, Charlie Holland.

Leamington: Laurie Walker, James Mace, Stephan Morley, Craig Owen, Jamie Hood, Liam Daly, Matt Dodd (Martyn Naylor, 86), Lee Chilton, Stefan Moore (Ricky Johnson, 82), Lee Moore, Richard Batchelor. Subs not used: Joe Magunda, Lee Phillips, Dan Ward.

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