Brakes’ long stint as Southern League Premier Division leaders came to a shuddering halt as they were humbled by a Slough Town side who emphatically ended their poor recent run of results to firmly re-establish their own promotion credentials, writes Paul Edwards.
Red cards for Ryan Rowe and Jack Edwards merely heightened the misery for Paul Holleran, who acknowledged after the game that his side got what they deserved as their impressive goals against tally took a massive hit.
“I think when we look back at the video analysis we’ll see that the bread and butter things that we normally do so well, we didn’t do them today and they’ve punished us with clinical finishing,” said Holleran.
“When you concede two and three goals as quickly as that the momentum swings.
“Slough are a good side, we were well aware of that.
“They may have had a blip recently, but as I’ve said to the players in the dressing room, they have come and have done a proper job on us, and we had no answers.
“Our answers were throwing the dolls out of the pram, getting involved in silly situations.
“One or two people are blaming the referee but listen, it’s all our own fault, we totally deserved what we got today, and were probably fortunate to come off only six goals down.”
The game sparked into life in the 14th minute after an uneventful opening, Chris Flood curling a great effort into the top corner past Tony Breeden, who was rooted to the spot.
There was barely time for Leamington to get back into the game before they found themselves two goals behind, but they hardly helped themselves, wasting numerous opportunities to get the ball clear and allowing Gavin James the chance to dig the ball out of the crowd of legs and into the bottom corner.
Jack Edwards saw a header cleared away from goal before cutting inside to fire in a shot that lacked the power to trouble Rebels keeper Mark Scott.
Joe Magunda then conceded a free-kick from which Flood curled in a low shot that was saved by Breeden.
Matters became considerably worse for Leamington when a challenge from Jack Edwards sparked an unsightly melee, resulting in a red card for Ryan Rowe, who shoved Nathan Webb to the ground during the fracas. Edwards also picked up a booking which he would come to regret later on.
The game was practically over as a contest before half-time, Flood bagging his second of the game with a thunderous header at the far post from Simon Dunn’s precise free-kick.
Edwards headed well over from first-half substitute Darren Pond’s free-kick after Ahmed Obeng was brought down.
However, Leamington were rarely getting into threatening positions and almost conceded a comical fourth when Breeden’s clearance from the left wing went straight to the feet of Slough skipper Sean Fraser, who lifted it back towards goal. Flood’s header was going in until Connor Gudger hooked the ball off the line.
Holleran threw on his last two substitutes as Richard Gregory and Jordan Goddard replaced Callum Gittings and Obeng, and Gregory forced Scott into his only real save of the game when the keeper came off his line well to block as the former Stratford Town man attempted to nick the ball past him.
The game really was up when Flood completed his hat-trick with just over 20 minutes to play, crashing the ball in at the near post from Webb’s cross from the touchline. Edwards was shown a second yellow card in the aftermath for an offence committed in the build-up.
Six minutes later, Dunn set up a simple tap-in for debutant Ashan Holgate to score with almost his first touch after coming on.
Webb forced Breeden into a save and Courtney Baker-Richardson fired well wide at the other end, but there was further pain to come for Brakes, which incensed the home support.
Taundry had been off the pitch receiving treatment, but despite several pleas to the officials to be allowed to re-enter the field of play as Slough attacked once more he was ignored, and Rebels substitute Charlie Moone was played in to set up Dunn to apply another close-range finish.