Evostik Southern League Premier Division
Phillips 66 Community Stadium
Saturday 5th November 2016
Brakes secured a seventh home win from nine matches this season in an entertaining contest with first time visitors Basingstoke Town at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.
There had been some concern pre match that this would be a stern test for Leamington, with the full timers from Hampshire having picked up after a slow start to their first season in the Southern League for 30 years. Indeed, it was the visitors’ thumping of Slough Town two weeks earlier that had paved the way for Paul Holleran’s side to move to the top of the table, so there was little chance that they would be taken lightly.
A couple of half chances came and went, while Ahmed Obeng signalled his intentions for the afternoon when he raced onto a pass from Jack Edwards and dragged a low shot just past the post. Courtney Baker-Richardson looked lively too, and poked a shot wide while off balance following Richard Taundry’s free kick.
The pair then combined to produce an eleventh minute opener for Leamington, Obeng tearing at a retreating Basingstoke defence and spraying a pass to his right for Baker-Richardson to fire in a first time drive that ‘Stoke keeper Alex Tokarczyk could only parry into the path of Obeng, who gratefully snapped up his sixth goal in gold and black.
Basingstoke responded, Richie Whittingham testing Tony Breeden with a low shot that the Brakes skipper held down at his near post. Baker-Richardson then attempted an overhead kick but under pressure from central defender Matt Partridge, the ball lacked the pace to trouble Tokarczyk.
The goalkeeper was unfortunately directly responsible for the second goal his side conceded on 24 minutes, slicing a routine clearance straight to the feet of Rob Thompson-Brown on the edge of the penalty area. The midfielder was forced wide by Charlie Kennedy and Tokarczyk as he looked for space to shoot, but had the vision to pick out Baker-Richardson with a delicate floated cross from which the striker executed a stunning scissors kick effort that flew past the dejected stopper into the net.
Obeng was clearly enjoying his afternoon despite being heavily outnumbered every time he received the ball, and he saw another effort blocked as he was played in by Ryan Rowe. Tokarczyk then did well to save Thompson-Brown’s low drive through a crowd of players just outside the box.
Edwards added the clinching third goal ten minutes into the second half, stooping to head home Taundry’s curling free kick at the far post. The visitors looked to be in with a chance to respond quickly as Aaron Redford latched onto a short back header from Jamie Hood, but the striker miscued his shot so badly that it rolled out of play off the corner flag for a throw in.
Both sides were playing some neat football at times, and Darren Pond touched a free kick to Connor Gudger to send in an inviting cross that Edwards missed by a whisker at the far post.
Leamington continued to probe for further goals, Obeng cutting in from the left again and seeing his shot blocked, while Baker-Richardson set up Rowe to clip a shot just wide of the upright.
A scrappy few minutes saw the visitors pull a goal back, substitute Aaron Jarvis firing clinically past Breeden as the Brakes defence hesitated. This was the only thing to spoil the game other than a spate of bookings for the hosts in a game that didn’t contain a single bad challenge. Gudger would have probably regretted his as he was pulled up for smashing the ball into the Harbury Lane End terrace in frustration at losing the clean sheet.
Rowe saw another shot blocked and a Basingstoke free kick was struck into the arms of Breeden by Nana Owusu. Obeng had another good effort saved after he blocked a clearance and advanced towards the edge of the box, but Leamington were almost home and dry by that point as continued their good home form with another victory.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Darren Pond, Jamie Hood (12 Callum Gittings, ), James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Jack Edwards, Ryan Rowe, Rob Thompson-Brown, Ahmed Obeng (15 Tom James, 90).
Subs not used: 14 Joe Magunda, 16 Ben George, 17 Nathan Olukanmi.
Basingstoke Town: Alex Tokarczyk, Marcus Johnson-Schuster, Robert Atkinson, Michael Atkinson, Matt Partridge, David Ray ©, Nana Owusu, Charlie Kennedy, Romone Rose (16 Aaron Jarvis, 46), Aaron Redford, Richie Whittingham (15 Dan Collier, 46 (14 Joe Gater, 55) .
Subs not used: 12 George Hallahan, 13 Kieran Green.
Referee: Mr James Bell
Assistant Referees: Mr Tom Bowkett & Mr Ryan Haynes
Brakes Man of the Match: Ahmed Obeng.