North Ferriby 4 Brakes 1: Villagers take over at the top after clinical finishing shoots down Brakes
The Villagers stunned their visitors with three goals in the opening 40 minutes and, although a smartly taken strike from Stefan Moore reduced the deficit before half-time, a fourth goal for the home side gave Paul Holleran’s men a mountain to climb with the hosts content to sit tight and protect their advantage.
Although North Ferriby are also newcomers to the Conference having pipped Hednesford to the Northern Premier League title last season, Billy Heath has been able to add to his side with proven players from the level. And it showed as they pulled Brakes apart for three first-half goals despite the visitors having competed well in the opening exchanges.
Tony Breeden had to be alert to punch out a well-struck shot from Jamie Yates while Matt Dodd was a busy figure in the Leamington attack early on, firing a shot across goal after a strong run from the right wing.
The first goal saw Breeden left exposed as a pass was played forward up the right, his team-mates stopping in anticipation of an offside flag that never arrived, leaving Liam King to sweep Anthony Wilson’s cross into the net.
Dodd headed wide from a good delivery from the left but skipper Stephan Morley had to make a superb block to deny Danny Clarke as North Ferriby almost broke through again.
The second goal arrived eight minutes before the break. Brakes lost possession in midfield and play was quickly switched out to the left to Yates who, despite the best efforts of James Mace, delivered the ball to the far post for Nathan Jarman to smash back across goal and into the far corner.
Three minutes later it was three. Wilson found himself in acres of space inside the penalty area and turned and shot at Breeden, who got a hand to the ball, but was unable to keep it out.
Dodd forced a shot into the side netting under pressure from a defender before Leamington gave themselves hope a minute before half-time when Stefan Moore latched on to a flick-on from namesake Lee to outfox his marker and lob Villagers keeper Adam Nicklin.
Breeden made a superb double save early in the second half, beating out a piledriver from Russell Fry and springing to his feet to block the follow- up from Clarke, but it was not long before North Ferriby restored their three-goal cushion, Jarman firing a free-kick through the defensive wall from 25 yards out and past the unsighted keeper.
The striker almost grabbed his hat-trick when he hooked a fine effort just past the post but little was seen of the hosts as an attacking force after this.
Content with their advantage they were able to comfortably keep Leamington at arm’s length.
Paul Holleran threw on Will Green, Ricky Johnson and Craig Owen in an attempt to shake things up and Owen came close twice in the closing stages, curling a shot just wide from a corner and then heading Johnson’s flick on from a corner just off-target.
There will be days like this in what is a tough division, but Brakes have enjoyed a good run of results in recent weeks and are still well placed to continue to climb the table despite the setback.
Attention will now turn to another long away trip to Dover Athletic tomorrow as the team bid to reach the last 16 of the FA Trophy for only the second time.
NORTH FERRIBY: Adam Nicklin, Paul Robson, Nathan Peat, Liam King (Jonathan D’Laryea, 70), Matt Wilson, Danny Hone, Danny Clarke, Russell Fry, Anthony Wilson, Nathan Jarman (Ryan Kendall, 75), Jamie Yates (Ben Hunter, 80). Subs not used: Antoni Pecora, Gregg Anderson.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, James Mace, Stephan Morley, Joe Magunda, Liam Daly, Josh Green, Matt Dodd (Will Green, 65), Josh Hawker (Craig Owen, 65), Stefan Moore (Ricky Johnson, 65), Lee Moore, Kieron Morris. Subs not used: David McNamee, Luke Bottomer.