Evostik Southern League Premier Division
Phillips 66 Community Stadium
Saturday 1st October 2016

Brakes bounced back from their midweek defeat at leaders Slough Town in devastating fashion as they put newly promoted Cinderford Town to the sword at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.

The visitors came into the game bottom of the table but on the back of a decent point in their previous fixture against Weymouth. However, they had no answer to a Leamington side who produced one of their best performances of the season so far, and were buried under a late avalanche of goals in the ten of the final twelve minutes of the match.

The visitors created the first chance of the afternoon, busy striker Gethyn Hill almost getting the better of Jamie Hood, his central defensive partner James Mace chasing back to assist him and deflecting the ball back to skipper Tony Breeden.

Ryan Rowe came close with Leamington’s first opportunity, a super ball played over the last defender by Courtney Baker-Richardson saw him go in on goal, only to be denied as keeper Ben Fletcher getting down well to block his first time shot.

The opening goal was a thing of beauty - a well crafted move started from defence by Richard Taundry and moved through midfield by Rowe and Callum Gittings, making his second debut as a late replacement for Zak Lilly, who was injured in the warm up. He found Connor Gudger, who tore up the left wing, Rob Thompson-Brown receiving his pass and returning the ball to Gittings, who played Gudger back in to cut it back for Thompson-Brown, who let the ball roll a little to beat the defender before striking it powerfully past Fletcher into the net.

Rowe could count himself unfortunate not to add his name to the scoresheet over the course of the afternoon, none more so than when Jack Edwards played him in again and he clipped a shot past the advancing Fletcher, only for the ball to strike the outside of the far post.

The visitors felt they had a shout for a penalty when Hill displayed some neat skills, pirouetting twice to almost get clear on goal, but he was muscled off the ball fairly in the eyes of the match officials, and in fairness the screams of protest came from the bench rather than the player, who was perhaps too honest in not going to ground.

Rowe was left frustrated once more as Fletcher palmed his goalbound effort over the bar following Gudger’s cut back, and Leamington had to settle for just the one goal advantage at half time.

Edwards went close when Fletcher just managed to hold his looping header from a left wing corner, and the two were involved in an altercation when going for the ball as the Brakes midfielder tried to stab into the net after bringing down a pass inside the box. At first glance it appeared nothing more than a tangle of legs but the Cinderford keeper went down theatrically, and continued to point the finger at his opponent even after both were spoken to by Referee Sarah Garrett. Edwards was to have the last laugh in emphatic fashion, however.

A second finally arrived just before the hour mark, Darren Pond netting his first for the club as he picked up a pass from Thompson-Brown some 20 yards from goal, driving in a low shot that seemed to lack the power to beat Fletcher but evaded the desperate dive of the goalkeeper to nestle in the bottom corner.

Fletcher was grateful for the opportunity to redeem himself as he mis-kicked a routine clearance from a back pass, Thompson-Brown picking up possession and steaming into the area only for his touch to let him down, allowing the keeper to reclaim the ball.

Rowe was unlucky again when he screwed a first time effort wide following a driving run down the left from Gittings, while Baker-Richardson felt he had a shout for a penalty as Lewis Fletcher challenged him inside the box. Thompson-Brown set up Gudger for a shot that was blocked, while Baker-Richardson then did well to tee up the former Redditch man for a drive that Cinderford keeper Fletcher did well to push to safety. He was beaten for a third time however when Baker-Richardson drove home at the second attempt, Fletcher having blocked his first effort as he collected the ball at the far post from Gudger’s left wing cross.

Three swiftly became four as Thompson-Brown picked a half clearance from another Gudger cross and curled a shot beyond the diving Fletcher.

Edwards then added his name to the scoresheet in truly stunning style with a goal fit to grace any game. Cinderford’s Karnell Chambers fouled Thompson-Brown as he stretched to try and reclaim the ball following a poor first touch from a clearance by Breeden, but it was picked up Edwards, who advanced with a couple of touches away from the centre circle and launched a sumptuous effort that soared over the stranded Fletcher and into the top corner.

There was further punishment for the beleaguered visiting defence as Baker-Richardson netted his second and Leamington’s sixth with two minutes remaining, latching onto a lovely pass down the right from Gittings before nicking it past the advancing Fletcher and firing into the empty net.

Gittings played substitute Ben George through for a seventh which was very harshly ruled offside, while Cinderford were denied a consolation goal at the death, Breeden saving well from substitute Callum McConie after an enterprising run from Chambers, Hood then doing superbly to acrobatically head off the line as Hill fired the loose ball towards the net.

The visitors were no doubt relieved to hear the sound of the final whistle, but for Leamington it was the perfect riposte after Tuesday’s defeat as they started a busy month of fixtures in the best possible fashion.

Attendance: 402

Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger (16 Tom James, 82), Darren Pond (14 Joe Magunda, 80), Jamie Hood, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Jack Edwards, Ryan Rowe (12 Ben George, 69), Rob Thompson-Brown, Callum Gittings.

Subs not used: 15 Zak Lilly, 17 Ryan Quinn.

Cinderford Town: Ben Fletcher, Miles John, Matt Long (12 Callum McConie, 82), Sammy Hunt, Lee Hartsbourne ©, Lewis Fletcher, Jack Camm (15 Billy Guest, 82), Ben Hands, Gethyn Hill, Jaye Bowen, Karnell Chambers.

Subs not used: 14 Harry Burns, 17 Chris Burns.

Referee: Sarah Garrett

Assistant Referees: Matt Foden & Dan Stokes

Brakes Man of the Match: Jack Edwards.

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