Gloucester City claimed a vital three points at Whaddon Road on Saturday to ease their own relegation fears while plunging Brakes even deeper into trouble at the bottom end of the Vanarama Conference North, writes Paul Edwards.
This was always going to be a nervy encounter with so little between the two sides and while there was nothing for either to shout about in the opening exchanges .
However, it was Gloucester whose forward moves looked more threatening and they went in front with just over 20 minutes played following successive corners, Sam Avery powering in a header at the far post that Jonny Maddison got a hand to but was unable to keep out.
The young keeper produced a superb double save soon after to prevent the hosts from going further in front, getting down to block Nick Wright’s firm drive from a square ball across the box and then scrambling to his feet to keep out a follow-up effort from James Bowen with the help of a team-mate.
Richard Taundry fired Leamington’s first chance wide of the target before Brakes had a great chance to level on the half-hour.
Jordan Goddard’s slide-rule pass bisected the Tigers defence and found Lee Chilton inside the area on the right, but while the angle looked good for a shot, he chose to pull the ball back for Lee Moore, only for a timely block to end the move.
Nathan Hicks was left pounding the turf in frustration after Moore was unable to play him in, with only the keeper to beat .
Adam Connolly curled a shot into the bottom corner to give Leamington an even bigger mountain to climb early in the second half but the large band of travelling Brakes fans, now behind the goal, continued to belt out their support for the team.
A free-kick into the Gloucester box glanced off a defender before Delroy Gordon diverted it behind but Brakes were unable to create any clear-cut chances against a Tigers side whose tails were firmly up.
And the hosts extended their lead when Harry Williams, on loan from landlords Cheltenham Town, received a right-wing pass from skipper Tom Webb inside the box and coolly stepped inside a challenge before firing past Maddison.
Ashley Worsfold, on as a substitute, took a pass from Moore before firing across goal, while Moore saw two shots blocked in a brief penalty-box scramble, but Gloucester provided Leamington with some hope by scoring a 79th minute own goal, a defensive clearance crashing off Wright into the back of the net.
Tigers substitute Chris Knowles stabbed a first-time shot wide as the hosts looked to exploit the gaps left as Leamington pushed forward, but they were caught out by the offside flag on several occasions.
There was a raft of late bookings as frustrated challenges began to fly in from the visitors, some of which may have been punished further on another day.
The disappointment was encapsulated in one moment late in the game, however, after a corner was not properly cleared. Bilal Yafai did well to drive wide and get a cross in which spooned into the air, but Worsfold somehow directed his header over the bar from a yard out.
It proved too much for a small number of the away support, who headed for the exits.
Gloucester City: Paul White, Mike Green, Billy Jones, Matt Williams, Sam Avery, Adam Connolly, James Bowen, Tom Webb , Nick Wright (Nathan Modest, 90), Harry White (Harry Williams, 45), Femi Orenuga (Chris Knowles, 66). Subs not used: Ross Staley, Harvey Rivers.
Brakes: Jonny Maddison, James Mace, Connor Gudger, Joe Magunda (Jack Edwards, 60), Jamie Tank, Delroy Gordon, Jordan Goddard, Richard Taundry, Lee Moore, Nathan Hicks (Ashley Worsfold, 56), Lee Chilton (Bilal Yafai, 56). Subs not used: Matt Warner, Lewis Fenney.