Brakes don't get the reward they deserve

Brakes boss Paul Holleran
Brakes boss Paul Holleran

Brakes could be forgiven for feeling more than a little disappointed as they made the long haul back from Spennymoor with nothing to show for their efforts.

They made their title-chasing hosts work hard for a slender but precious victory as they moved to within a point of the National League North summit.

Colby Bishop has had the season of dreams since returning at the end of last October from almost ten months on the sidelines with an ACL injury.

But as in the match against Blyth Spartans last weekend it was his penalty miss which potentially cost Leamington a point from this contest; Moors keeper Matthew Gould denying him on this occasion with a very good save as he and his team-mates displayed the kind of characteristics required to win titles.

West Bromwich Albion youngster Sam Wilding stepped up for his first start for the club with Callum Gittings sidelined after his ankle injury in the Blyth game and it was the loanee who had the first chance of the game, a low strike at the end of a neat move on the edge of the Spennymoor penalty area involving Ahmed Obeng, Jordan Murphy and Bishop which was straightforward for former Stourbridge keeper Gould to deal with.

Obeng was involved in much of Leamington’s forward movement during the opening 45 minutes, and a strong run into the box was only halted by Spennymoor skipper James Curtis, who muscled him off the ball.

This contest could have been billed as the battle of two of the league’s top scorers, Glen Taylor, who is currently out in front, certainly had a very good game here and was inches from putting his side ahead when he powered a header just over the bar from Stephen Brogan’s right wing corner.

Brakes were guilty of a few misplaced passes in the first half which denied them the chance to attack.

And they were almost punished when Taylor chased a lofted ball out to the right with James Mace, easing the centre back out of his way before lifting a shot over the backpeddling Tony Breeden but also over the crossbar.

Perhaps unsurprisingly it was the tireless Taylor who set up the only goal of the game on 32 minutes, shfting it sideways for Mark Anderson to sweep in a powerful effort which Breeden could only palm onto the inside of the post and into the net.

Taylor’s strike partner Rob Ramshaw almost scored a sublime second, connecting first time with a ball into the box to send a shot acros goal and a whisker past the far post.

Spennymoor almost carved Leamington open moments before half time with a well-worked counter-attack, the ball switching sides quickly before being played into the box only for the finish to let them down.

Brakes were far more potent in the second half as they attacked down the substantial slope at the Brewery Field but were unfortunately still unable to break down their hosts, who have now not conceded a goal in five National League North fixtures.

It was not for the want of trying however, Obeng forcing Gould into a somewhat unorthodox save early on as he almost sat on the ball to block a shot from close range.

Taylor rammed a close range drive into the side netting for Spennymoor, Joe Clarke coming close for Leamington at the other end with a powerful low drive which was straight at Gould, as was a similar effort from Murphy as he cut in from the right, the ball taking a slight deflection off Bishop on its way through.

Obeng forced the Moors defence into conceding a corner on the left from which Jack Edwards headed back towards goal at the far post, a flick of the leg from Taylor forcing his team mate Scott Harrison to clear away from the goal line.

With just under 20 minutes remaining Paul Holleran threw on Solihull Moors loan man Daniel Sweeney for his debut and he was quickly involved, darting into the box on the right before being brought down by Harrison on 77 minutes.

Bishop went the same way as he had done with his successful penalty against Blyth but Gould guessed correctly and was as delighted as his relieved team mates as he held on to the ball.

Taylor forced Breeden into a flying save with another powerful header from substitute Ryan Hall’s right wing cross as Spennymoor looked for a points clinching second but Brakes looked to have a decent shout for another spot-kick as Bishop was hauled to the ground by Curtis inside the box, but the incident did not appear to be spotted by the officials.

Wilding was left pounding the turf in frustration as he sliced Leamington’s final effort of the game high over the bar from Gudger’s inviting cross, but Holleran’s men could count themselves unfortunate to lose to a side who look set to have a huge say in the destination of the title.