Brakes take the three points but Chesham have it all to play-off for


Brakes rounded off their season by extending their unbeaten run to 12 matches, but there was an overriding feeling of what might have been at the New Windmill, writes Paul Edwards.

This is possibly the most talented squad the club has had since the resurrection and they have shown flashes of that over the campaign, but ultimately it was the disastrous run from the Christmas period to March that put an end to hopes of promotion.

While there was little riding on the outcome of the game for Brakes, Chesham arrived knowing what they had to do to secure a play-off place.

Andy Leese’s side had been in and around the top five all season, but with five teams fighting for four places the permutations were many.

Understandably, the Generals players looked a little nervy in the opening stages, despite having the first effort of the game, a shot from Danny Gudgeon that flashed past Nathan Vaughan’s far post.

With Stephan Morley, Matt Dodd and Lee Chilton also missing through injury Paul Holleran’s team almost picked itself, and Brakes made a lively start.

Chesham keeper Shane Gore failed to hold on to a ball played into his penalty area and Lee Steele nipped in to win possession, but the angle was tight and the ball was bundled out for a corner.

Further panic in the visitors’ defence led to the opening goal, the ball sitting up nicely for David Kolodynski to head into an empty net from eight yards out.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Chris Watters stabbed Chesham level moments later. Brakes failed to clear their lines following a corner, but there was a suspicion that Liam Daly was impeded in the build-up to the goal. There was little incident of note after the quick exchange of goals, but the second half started well for Leamington as they quickly increased their lead.

Great persistence by James Husband down the left saw him drive the ball back across goal from the dead ball line and Kolodynski was lurking at the far post to take a touch before driving the ball home.

Goalscorer then turned provider minutes later. A fine ball out to the right flank from Husband released Kolodynski and his first-time cross was slotted home at the far post by the incoming Steele for his third goal in four starts.

The veteran striker almost scored a comedy second shortly afterwards, a long clearance from Vaughan inadvertently bouncing off his head and sliding just wide.

The front two then linked up well again, Steele nodding the ball out for Kolodynski to take on his man on the right. He stood the cross up to the far post, but a defender got there first to head it behind.

Kolodynski was gifted the chance to grab a hat-trick when a free-kick out by the corner flag was played across goal to an unprepared Shane Gore, who recovered quickly to make a fine block. The keeper was off his line again soon afterwards to scramble the ball clear from Steele.

As the half-time scores had all been in favour of their play-off rivals, Chesham still believed they had to rescue something from the game and they pulled a goal back with seven minutes remaining, Simon Thomas thumping a header past Vaughan despite the netminder getting a strong hand to it.

There was inevitable late pressure, but the closest the visitors came to an equaliser was when substitute Josh Cooper shot straight at Vaughan from inside the box.

As it turned out, defeat was not fatal for Chesham’s play-off hopes, as Stourbridge could only draw at Frome, leaving them to face AFC Totton for a place in the final.

Brakes, meanwhile, will recharge and regroup during the summer and hopefully return stronger for another crack at promotion next season.

Brakes: Nathan Vaughan, James Mace, Michael Tuohy, Neil Barnfield, Jamie Hood, Liam Daly, David Kolodynski, Craig Owen, Alex Taylor (Jamie Sheldon, 63), Lee Steele (Ian King, 75), James Husband. Subs not used: Asa Charlton, Lee Williams, Liam O’Neill

Chesham United: Shane Gore, Danny Gudgeon (Josh Cooper, 75), Bruce Wilson, Mark Lambert, Robert Bartley, Danny Talbot (Leon Archer, 63), Dave Fotheringham, Steve Wales, James Potton, Simon Thomas, Chris Watters (Anthony Watson, 87). Subs not used: Ryan Moran, Brad Wadkins

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