Corby have the nous to knock out Brakes


Paul Holleran was disappointed his team could not take advantage of an early goal in their FA Cup second qualifying round tie at Corby Town but refused to be too downhearted after the Steelmen brought an end to Brakes’ 22-match unbeaten streak, writes Paul Edwards.

Leamington had stunned their hosts by taking a third-minute lead through Matt Dodd and their passing and movement clearly had Corby rattled in the opening stages.

But as the first half wore on, the home side eased their way into the game as their Blue Square Bet North experience began to tell.

“The disappointing thing for us is that we got ourselves into a good position and played well for the first half an hour or so, but you can’t play at this level of football and give away goals like that,” said Holleran.

“I just felt we could have gone on from the position we were in.

“I couldn’t knock the effort and the commitment though, Corby have got some good players and their league position is a false one.”

Berwick got in behind the defence to centre for Dodd to fire in off the post for Brakes’ opener and the winger had a chance to double the advantage but could only drag his shot wide.

At the other end, the pace of Avelino Vieira was a constant threat, with the Portuguese striker driving a shot just over the bar.

Ryan Semple then fired a dangerous effort across goal which was put behind for a corner.

The Steelmen levelled in the 37th minute when a ball across goal was headed back into the six-yard box for Tom McGowan to nod home from close range.

Brakes responded well and earned a corner when Corby keeper Paul Walker failed to deal with a James Mace effort, but the visitors were dealt a blow when Richard Batchelor was forced off injured.

Berwick then did superbly to spin away from his marker with the ball, finding Lee Chilton across the pitch, who set up Batchelor’s replacement Craig Owen to drive over the bar with his first touch.

Another smart forward move almost opened Corby up, but Dodd and Chilton got in each other’s way and the latter was unable to get enough power in his shot to trouble Walker.

The second half began as the first with a goal in the third minute, but on this occasion it was the hosts who found the net.

The Brakes defence failed to stop Josh Moreman from winning possession inside the penalty area and he slotted past Sawyer to swing the tie in the home side’s favour.

Joe Magunda had a header saved, while Stephan Morley fired a free- kick well wide, but Corby were finding holes in the Leamington back line with alarming regularity.

Neat footwork from McGowan engineered a shooting opportunity which Sawyer tipped over the bar, and a cross-shot from Moreman then struck the woodwork.

There looked to be some respite for Brakes as the speedy Vieira was taken off, but the hosts replaced him with Football League experience in Leon McKenzie, who counts Coventry City among his former clubs.

Sawyer was called into action again, producing a fine save to push over Moreman’s shot as Brakes were carved open once more. Semple was then left red-faced as he completely mis-kicked what looked like a simple chance to make it three at the far post.

Jamie Hood made a timely block to deny McKenzie a shooting opportunity before Moreman effectively put the tie beyond Leamington with 11 minutes remaining, drifting in from the right past two challenges before firing past Sawyer.

The hosts really should have added a fourth when steaming forward with four players completely outnumbering the retreating Brakes defenders but they somehow contrived to lose possession and were left to suffer a nervous closing few minutes when Sam Adkins’ low free-kick took a wicked deflection past Paul Walker to narrow the deficit.

Unfortunately, the chance of another late equaliser did not materialise, but Brakes were warmly applauded from the field by the sizeable travelling contingent, who had backed their heroes loudly throughout.

Corby Town: Paul Walker, Pierrick Briand, Jason Crowe (Nathan Fox, 87), Paul Malone, Stefan Galinski, Tom McGowan (Lewis Webb, 81), Ryan Semple, Nat Wedderburn, Avelino Vieira (Leon McKenzie, 72), Sam Ives, Josh Moreman. Subs not used: Tom Ingram, Greg Kaziboni, Ricky Miller, Marc Manga.

Brakes: Kevin Sawyer, James Mace, Stephan Morley, Joe Magunda (Sam Adkins, 78), Jamie Hood, Liam Daly, Matt Dodd (Alex Taylor, 73), Lee Chilton, Tom Berwick, Lee Moore, Richard Batchelor (Craig Owen, 41). Subs not used: James Husband, Michael Tuohy, Michael Quirke, Liam O’Neill.

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