Evostik Southern League Premier Division
The Corinium Stadium
Saturday 26th November 2016
Brakes negotiated a tricky away trip to a Cirencester Town side much changed from their clash on the opening day of the season.
New Centurions manager Charlie Griffin had recruited several loan signings from professional clubs in a bid to improve results, and the home side came into the game on the back of a 4-1 win against Dorchester. They began the game brightly, but were undone by two quickfire goals that would ultimately win the game for Leamington. To their credit they got back into the contest before half time, and though Paul Holleran’s side continued to create plenty of chances in the second half they were thwarted at every turn, particularly by some fine saves from Ciren keeper Raajan Gill, who was warmly applauded by the away support at the final whistle.
Striker Jamie Chamberlain was one of the new faces at the Corinium Stadium, and the Torquay United loanee fired in an early shot that was saved by Breeden. The strikers’ afternoon would end in frustration however as he was replaced shortly after Brakes had gone two goals ahead with an injury.
Ahmed Obeng spurned the first opportunity of the afternoon for Leamington, firing Richard Taundry’s long throw over the bar after the ball had somehow bounced through to him on the far side.
A slick move up the right then saw Taundry do well to cut back for Courtney Baker-Richardson, who side footed just past the post.
The opening exchanges had been fairly even, but Leamington accelerated ahead with two goals in as many minutes to leave their hosts on the back foot. Jack Edwards thumping home his seventh goal of the season as he met Rob Thompson-Brown’s free kick with a powerful header at the far post on 24 minutes, evading his markers in the six yard box.
In their next attack Leamington left the hosts reeling as they extended their advantage, Baker-Richardson expertly steering home a low shot after a fine move through the middle involving Obeng and Taundry saw the ball threaded in from the right once more.
Thompson-Brown’s dead balls are causing havoc for the opposition at present and another one from the right wing saw Ryan Rowe inches from connecting, Edwards did however but could only balloon his first time effort over the bar.
Jack Challis headed wide for the home side as they began to recover from the shock of going behind while Brakes came close to fashioning what would have been a superb goal, Obeng and Rowe moving the ball across the box for Darren Pond to hook in an acrobatic effort that flew over the bar.
With Leamington looking to be heading towards the break with a two goal cushion, things were made slightly more difficult when the hosts dragged themselves back into proceedings with a penalty. Under the new rules, Jamie Hood received only a yellow card for clipping Aidan Bennett as he ran clear on goal. Will Hancox stepped up to send Breeden the wrong way from the spot.
There was further concern as Taundry limped off with a hamstring problem, to be replaced by Ben George. Thompson-Brown had to have on pitch treatment for a dislocated finger during the first half, but Leamington regrouped and emerged with more purpose in the second half.
Gill was to keep his side in touch with a string of saves, the first coming from Baker-Richardson as Obeng and Rowe linked up once more to set up the chance, Gill producing a fine block to deny the striker his second of the game.
Hood was then inches from a goal when he glanced a header just wide of the far post, while Baker-Richardson sent a low cross in which Rowe stabbed just wide.
Cirencester were not making any inroads at this point as Leamington continued to pour forward, and their right back Kieran Diaz-Benitez enraged the travelling support with his embarrassing histrionics, throwing himself to the ground and somehow winning a free kick as Obeng got the better of him on the left wing and prepared to accelerate towards the box. The Brakes striker barely made contact with his opponent, never mind fouling him, but he concentrated on the job in hand and so nearly created a third goal for his side when he capitalised on a slip from Ben Brown, firing a dangerous ball in from the left that looked certain to be smashed home by Rowe, only for Sindri Scheving to get there first and clear behind for a corner.
Gill saved with his legs as Baker-Richardson set up Rowe, while Diaz-Benitez almost engineered a goal that would have delighted the Brakes support, his attempted clearance looping off Rowe and dropping just past the post with Gill scrambling across his goal.
Obeng had the measure of the Cirencester right back now, and got away from his marker once more to set up Rowe once more, but this time Brown was in well to block the shot. Diaz-Benitez was then tied in knots by Obeng as he advanced towards the box once more but was unable to provide the finishing touch, shooting over the bar.
More neat play saw Thompson-Brown wriggling between defenders to make space for a shot just inside the box, Gill pulling off another great save. The keeper recovered quickly to make an equally good one as Obeng headed the loose ball back towards goal, but the offside flag had been raised.
The home side began to sense there may still be something in the game for them, and rallied late on. Ross Langworthy won the ball in his own half and set off on a lung bursting run that ended with a shot blocked in the Leamington box, while the shot from the loose ball was well saved by Breeden.
A slip from Diaz-Benitez saw Baker-Richardson run clear down the left in injury time, but Leamington were denied by another great interception as he tried to find Obeng in the centre.
Gill was to deny Brakes another goal one more time, another super save denying Baker-Richardson as he attempted to curl his shot into the far corner. The goalkeeper enjoyed some friendly banter with the travelling support all afternoon, and fully deserved the applause he received at full time.
Brakes now look forward to two tough home fixtures against Kettering and Hitchin, with no major injury concerns other than assessing the hamstring problem which forced Richard Taundry off before half time.
Cirencester Town: Raajan Gill, Kieran Diaz-Benitez, Sindri Scheving (15 Ross Langworthy, 64), Henry Spalding, Jack Challis, Ben Brown, James Mortimer-Jones ©, Adam Connolly, Aidan Bennett, Jamie Chamberlain (16 Kalum Youngsam, 29), Will Hancox.
Subs not used: 12 Max Lloyd, 14 Robbie James, 17 Charlie Griffin.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry (15 Ben George, 43), Connor Gudger, Darren Pond, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Jack Edwards, Ryan Rowe (12 Callum Gittings, 69), Rob Thompson-Brown (16 Tom James, 90), Ahmed Obeng.
Subs not used: 14 Joe Magunda, 17 Nathan Olukanmi.
Referee: Mr Matthew Rushton
Assistant Referees: Mr Martin Batchelor & Mr Gareth Bridge
Brakes Man of the Match: Ahmed Obeng.