Southern League Challenge Cup Round 2
DCS Stadium
Tuesday 8th November 2016

Brakes slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season so far at the hands of South Warwickshire neighbours Stratford Town as they were dumped out of the Southern League Challenge Cup at the DCS Stadium on a miserable wet November evening.

Those who made the short journey down the A46 hoping to see their side make further progress in at least one cup competition were left bitterly disappointed as after a bright start from Leamington, Stratford took a firm hold on the game and rattled in three unanswered goals before half time.

Both sides made changes from their recent league lineups, with Paul Holleran opting for an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation at kick off. Brakes had the better of the opening exchanges but there were no clear cut chances created by either side until the hosts scored their opener on 19 minutes.

Leamington believed they had been denied a clear penalty when Ben George was deemed to have been fouled outside the penalty area when the offence looked to have taken place two yards inside it.

Stratford took full advantage of this and returning striker Mike Taylor put them ahead when he capitalised on slips by Richard Taundry and Tony Breeden, taking on a pass from Edwin Ahenkorah before firing in a shot that found the net under the dive of Breeden.

Leamington were inches from a leveller when Courtney Baker-Richardson’s shot was deflected just past the post from 20 yards, but almost immediately they found themselves two goals behind, Will Grocutt rounding Breeden to slot into an empty net.

The same player scored a second soon afterwards when Breeden saved Taylor’s shot, the ball falling nicely for Grocutt to fire home once more.

Baker-Richardson set up Ryan Rowe for a shot which was easily held by former Brakes keeper Niall Cooper, before Rowe was forced off injured after a challenge from behind, being replaced by Connor Gudger.

Ryan Quinn also went off injured at half time, and things went from bad to worse for Leamington when they conceded again soon after half time, Ahenkorah being clipped by Taundry as he raced onto a long diagonal ball into the box. Half time substitute Richard Gregory stepped up to finish emphatically from the penalty spot.

Brakes lost a third player to injury when Baker-Richardson was forced off, and though Stratford came close to a fifth goal when Gregory touched Ahenkorah’s shot onto the post, Leamington never looked like troubling the scoresheet, and now have a week to lick their wounds before their next fixture, a Birmingham Senior Cup tie at home to Nuneaton Town.

Attendance: 232

Stratford Town: Niall Cooper, Simeon Tulloch, Kieren Westwood, James Fry ©, Liam Francis, Donnell Benjamin, Charlie Evans (16 Ben Ellicott, 70), Trey Brathwaite, Mike Taylor (12 Richard Gregory, 46), Will Grocott (14 Callum Ingram, 62), Edwin Ahenkorah.

Subs not used: 15 Kyle Jaynes, 17 Rob Ormston.

Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Tom James, Ben George, Joe Magunda, James Mace, Nathan Olukanmi, Callum Gittings, Ryan Rowe (16 Connor Gudger, 43), Courtney Baker-Richardson (Ahmed Obeng 57), Ryan Quinn (14 Jack Edwards, 46).

Subs not used: 15 Rob Thompson-Brown, 17 Darren Pond.

Referee: Mr Matthew Smith

Assistant Referees: Mr Ruebyn Ricardo & Mr Michael Scriven

Brakes Man of the Match: Callum Gittings.

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