Evostik Southern League Premier Division
The Greene King Stadium
Saturday 8th October 2016
Brakes picked up a point from a fractious encounter with Dorchester Town at the Greene King Stadium that came at a cost.
Having lost Jamie Hood to an injury in the corresponding fixture last season, Paul Holleran’s side were dealt a blow when Callum Gittings was stretchered off in the second half after coming out on the wrong end of a painful challenge with Lewis Morgan.
The home side were looking for a positive result after suffering a 10 goal beating at South & West Division Salisbury City in the League Cup on Tuesday night, albeit with a vastly different starting line up. They almost made a dream start when Mario Mateus skipped past Tony Breeden and fired towards goal, Jamie Hood clearing off the line. Almost immediately Morgan crashed a shot towards goal from outside the box only to see it strike the inside of the post and land in the arms of a grateful Breeden.
It took Leamington a while to feel their way into the game but they certainly perked up once Rob Thompson-Brown fired them in front on 13 minutes. The midfielder was initially dispossessed midway through the Dorchester half, but recovered well to win the ball back and move forward before hammering a low drive into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
The goal provided a perfect pick me up, and we began to see more of the neat passing football that had been evident in the previous two games. A free kick routine narrowly failed to come off, Thompson-Brown finding the head of Jack Edwards in a crowded penalty area, the ball being knocked down into the path of Ryan Rowe only for keeper Shane Murphy to get to it first. Edwards then cracked a low 20 yard drive into the arms of the Magpies keeper.
Holleran was forced to shuffle his pack when recent signing Gittings received a nasty cut just above his ankle following a full bloodied challenge with Morgan, Joe Magunda replacing him.
Hood should really have given Brakes a two goal cushion when he connected first time with a dangerous ball in from the right by Richard Taundry, but he could only direct his close range effort just over the bar, much to his frustration.
Courtney Baker-Richardson then did well to find Thompson-Brown as the hosts packed their defence, a spot of ball juggling and a shot that lacked the power to trouble Murphy was the end result.
Dorchester had barely threatened Breeden’s goal since their chances in the opening minutes, but they were handed a route back into the game when Leamington failed to properly clear a free kick into their penalty area, Hood clearing the initial attempt at goal and then hurling himself at the follow up shot, only for the ball to strike him on the arm. Magpies skipper Jake Smeeton stepped up and just beat Breeden at his left hand post with the spot kick.
The Brakes skipper had to be alert to shovel away a powerful curling effort from the home side’s new signing Tom Blair as they began to rally, but they were rocked back on their heels when Edwards was fouled in a central position some 20 yards from goal. Taundry stepped up and curled the dead ball with his right boot towards the bottom corner, the ball striking the post and rolling into the net off the back of the unfortunate Murphy.
They were unable to sit back on their restored advantage however, as Dorchester continued to cause problems with free kicks and crosses into the box, and it was from several blocked shots that the ball was crossed back into a congested penalty area, player manager Mark Jermyn heading down for Ben Wood turning well to lash into the net.
Both sides had late half hearted shouts for penalties that came more from the stands than the pitch, but over the course of the afternoon a draw was probably the right result.
Dorchester Town: Shane Murphy, Mark Jermyn, Jake Smeeton ©, Neil Martin, Matt Oldring, Chris Dillon, David Jerrard 17 Tom Blair 59), Lewis Morgan, Nathan Walker, Mario Mateus, Ben Wood.
Subs not used: 12 Dory Yates, Solomon Ayunga, 15 Billy Mitchell, 16 Nick Crittenden.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Darren Pond, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Jack Edwards, Ryan Rowe (17 Ahmed Obeng, 83), Rob Thompson-Brown, Callum Gittings (14 Joe Magunda, 52).
Subs not used: 12 Ben George, 15 Tom James, 16 Ryan Quinn.
Referee: Mr Lewis Sandoe
Assistant Referees: Mr Lee Nowacki & Mr Robert Ablitt
Brakes Man of the Match: Richard Taundry.