Brakes developing nicely despite Blues reverse
Brakes produced another performance of promise against more illustrious opponents, but will be disappointed to have been defeated by two goals either side of half-time, the first of which came very much against the run of play, writes Paul Edwards.
Paul Holleran’s side put in a commanding opening 45 minutes against a Birmingham City development squad which contained players who had been involved with the first team at Shrewsbury Town the previous evening.
Lewis Powell went close to opening the scoring inside the opening minutes, winning and taking a free- kick on the left of the Blues penalty area after a surging run by Alex Taylor, but the ball cannoned back off the post to safety.
Leamington were in the ascendancy early on, pressuring their opponents and forcing them to defend for long periods, but Holleran was forced into two changes, Taylor being replaced after a nasty clash of heads with James Fry, and Craig Owen also being withdrawn after taking a knock.
The only effort the visitors mustered prior to their goal was a wild shot from Akwase Asante that sailed high and wide, while Brakes were cursing their misfortune again when a lovely piece of control by Lee Chilton saw him smack a shot against the same post that had denied Powell, the ball bouncing back into the grateful arms of keeper Nick Townsend.
With Blues first-team manager Lee Clark and his coaching staff looking on, the youngsters stunned their hosts with their first real attack of the game, Jake Jervis calmly finishing it off.
Dean Perrow almost provided an instant response, turning sharply with a defender at his back to fire in a shot inside the area, but Townsend had his near post covered.
The second half started as badly as the first had ended for the hosts as Jervis doubled his side’s lead with a swerving free-kick that evaded the defensive wall and found the bottom corner of Vaughan’s goal.
More changes meant that the fluency and organisation was a little less evident in Brakes’ second-half display but they still put together some sharp passing moves, as they had done in the first half.
Neat footwork from Michael Tuohy created space for a cross which was met by a firm header from James Husband, but it was too far from goal to trouble Townsend.
With the game inside the last ten minutes Leamington got a goal their performance deserved. Matt Dodd won a free-kick on the left wing and swung in the perfect ball for Joe Magunda to crash in a powerful header.
Tom Berwick flung himself at a near-post cross only to see the ball deflected behind as Brakes went in search of a late equaliser, and they very nearly got it when Liam Daly towered above a crowded six-yard box to power in a header from Dodd’s corner that was cleared off the line by James Fry.
Leamington: Nathan Vaughan (Aaron Gayle, 84), James Mace (Michael Tuohy, 46), Stephan Morley, Craig Owen (Sam Adkins, 25), Jamie Hood, Liam Daly, Alex Taylor (Matt Dodd, 17), Joe Magunda, Lewis Powell (James Husband, 54), Dean Perrow (Tom Berwick, 54), Lee Chilton (Alex Gudger, 70).
Birmingham City: Nick Townsend, Ryan Higgins, Bobby Moseley, Brice Ntambwe, Emett Delfonouso, James Fry, Liam Gormley, Reece Hales, Jake Jervis, Akwase Asante, Josh Hawker.Substitutes: Wilson Carvalho, Sam Guthrie, Charlie Adams, Reece Brown, Deqwon Banks, Dimare Gray, Nat Kelly.