Rowe double puts Brakes in control before Breeden keeps up his Valley penalty heroics

Brakes celebrate Ryan Rowe's second goal of the evening. Picture: Sally Ellis
Brakes celebrate Ryan Rowe's second goal of the evening. Picture: Sally Ellis
  • Southern League Premier Division
  • Redditch United 0 Brakes 2

Tony Breeden was once again the scourge of Redditch at The Valley Stadium as he saved another penalty to help Leamington to a tenth league win of the season, writes Paul Edwards.

The Brakes skipper dived low to his right to keep out Danico Johnson’s spot-kick, denying the hosts a route back into the game shortly after Ryan Rowe had netted his second of the evening to gave Paul Holleran’s side a two-goal cushion.

Richard Taundry had a free-kick saved by Bradley Catlow, while former Reds midfielder Rob Thompson-Brown volleyed over as Leamington settled well on the new artificial surface.

Redditch striker Johnson managed to get goalside of Jamie Hood and found Luke Shearer with a pass across the edge of the Brakes penalty area, but the midfielder’s strike lacked the power to trouble Breeden.

Ahmed Obeng had a shot deflected behind for a corner, while Hood was nearly caught out as his header back to Breeden fell short. However, he managed to scramble back and clear the danger.

A poor clearance from the Redditch defence was then picked up by Taundry on halfway, with the former Walsall man playing Courtney Baker-Richardson in down the right for a run into the box which ended with a shot across goal that whistled just wide of the far post.

Jack Edwards cracked a half-volley inches over the bar and Catlow claimed the ball at Obeng’s feet after Thompson-Brown had almost played him in on goal.

Unfortunately for the Redditch keeper it was his error from a backpass that led to the opening goal as he mis-kicked a clearance straight into the path of Rowe, who was not in the mood to pass up such a gift, sliding the ball into the empty net from close range.

Catlow redeemed himself somewhat as he saved from Edwards and then Obeng at close range after Hood had headed a free-kick back into the six-yard box.

Baker-Richardson headed wide on the stroke of half-time but Leamington looked comfortable against a home side who, at times, looked as though they were not completely at ease on their 3G pitch.

Brakes continued to look lively, however, and extended their advantage 11 minutes into the second half. Jack Edwards provided the assist with a darting run in from the right, evading two challenges before laying the ball into the centre to provide Rowe with a simple finish from inside the six-yard box.

The home side were then awarded a somewhat contentious penalty when Shearer threw himself to the ground in theatrical fashion as he was challenged on the left, but it mattered little as Breeden followed up his shoot-out heroics from last season’s play-off semi-final by keeping out Johnson’s strike.

Redditch laboured as they searched for a way through the Leamington defence. Jordan Jones’ shot was deflected through to Breeden, while substitute Liam Spink screwed another effort well wide.

Baker-Richardson did well to get past Jones and into the area down the left, but his curling shot was held by Catlow.

The home side’s last real opportunity came and went when Shearer headed just wide of the far post from a free-kick when he probably should have at least found the target.

Worcester City loanee Nathan Olukanmi came on for his Leamington debut in the final few minutes and showed glimpses of the lightning pace that could cause Southern League defences problems in the coming weeks as this Brakes side continue to stack up the goals and points.

And they remained in control here to complete a league double against last season’s runners-up.

Redditch United: Bradley Catlow, Jordan Jones, Jordan Brown, Max Loveridge (Pauly Apostolopoulos, 49), Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, Duane Courtney, Luke Shearer, Reece Hales (Liam Spink, 62), Danico Johnson, David McDermott (Trovarn Thompson, 88), George Washbourne.Subs not used: Javia Roberts, Cameron Young.

BRAKES: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Darren Pond, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Jack Edwards, Ryan Rowe (Tom James, 79), Ahmed Obeng (Joe Magunda, 70), Rob Thompson-Brown (Nathan Olukanmi, 87). Subs not used: Ryan Quinn, Ben George.