Evostik Southern League Premier Division
Saturday 18th February 2017
Brakes recorded a vital three points in a typically fractious encounter with Chesham at The Meadow which saw both sides finish the game a man light. In a game of few clear cut chances a maiden strike from Jordan Goddard since his return to the club in first half injury time secured a first win on this ground since March 2009, and a first home league defeat for the Generals since a 2-1 reverse against King’s Lynn back in September.
Paul Holleran kept faith with the same starting eleven that had smashed five past Dorchester the previous Saturday, while the hosts came into the game in need of a positive result to boost their ambitions of a top five finish after three successive defeats.
An early booking for Brett Longden would prove to be his undoing later in the game, while the resulting free kick from Callum Powell failed to trouble Chesham keeper Ashlee Jones, a shot from Ahmed Obeng after a smart turn inside the penalty area producing a similar result.
The game was littered with stoppages which frustrated both sides, one of the more bizarre incidents being when Brakes’ physio Pete Denham was required to assist Referee Samuel Lewis after he dislocated a finger after running into a player.
Obeng’s pace got him in behind Mat Mitchel-King from a superb pass by Richard Taundry, however his ball into the box flashed across the goal mouth, just beyond the advancing Jack Edwards.
Just prior to the half hour mark James Mace received a straight red card after tussling with Drew Roberts on the edge of the penalty area. There were many inside the ground who believed the alleged offence took place inside the box and that a penalty should have been awarded, but the Referee was quick to make his decision. Roberts crashed the resulting free kick against the bar.
Holleran was philosophical on the subject, saying ‘I had a good view of the incident. I thought in the build up that Drew Roberts, who is a really good number nine, used his body and his arms well, and another Referee might have given us a free kick. After that James got a bit tight to him and there was a foul, no doubt about that, but Connor Gudger was covering. It was something we spoke about, with Blake and Roberts playing up front our full backs were tight, I knew where they’d be, and with Jamie Hood further up the pitch I kept one eye on that situation and one on the covering full back, which was Connor, and he was there. I thought the Referee did ok today but he could have given himself a little more time to make the decision, but that’s the way it is and we’ll just have to deal with it.’
Dealing with what looked an even tougher situation was something Brakes needed to do here, and they did it superbly. Powell was the unfortunate player to make way for Joe Magunda as the defence was shored up, but with the half almost into its tenth minute of stoppage time Leamington stunned their hosts by taking the lead, Courtney Baker-Richardson heading down a left wing cross from Jack Edwards for Goddard to crash a shot through a sea of bodies past Ashlee Jones to the delight of the noisy travelling support.
Leamington held firm as Chesham attempted a second half fight back, Tony Breeden saving two free kicks, but they were very close to conceding a second goal, Jack Edwards was adjudged to have pulled the ball back from behind the touchline before it was turned into the net by a home defender.
The hosts frustration was evident, assistant manager Jon Meakes being sent to the stand before Longden received a second yellow for a poor challenge as Leamington counter attacked.
Most of the play was centred around the Leamington penalty area in the closing stages, but Chesham were unable to pose any real threat as the defence stood firm to record a third successive clean sheet. The closest they came was when a shot from substitute Oran Swales was deflected over the bar by the head of Jamie Hood. Brakes substitute Richard Gregory almost squeezed a shot between the legs of Jones in stoppage time but Leamington had done just enough to secure a hard earned three points that keeps them within sight of the Southern League summit.
Chesham United: Ashlee Jones, Brett Longden, Mat Mitchel-King, Benji Crilley (12 Dave Pearce, 54), Darren Purse ©, Stephan Hamilton-Forbes (14 David Hutton, 67), Matt Taylor, Sam Youngs, Ryan Blake, Drew Roberts (16 Oran Swales, 85), Toby Little.
Subs not used: 13 Andrew McCorkell, 15 Curtis Ujah.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Darren Pond, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson (12 Richard Gregory, 84), Jordan Goddard, Ahmed Obeng (14 Callum Gittings, 77), Jack Edwards, Callum Powell (15 Joe Magunda, 38).
Subs not used: 16 Rob Thompson-Brown, 17 Ben George.
Referee: Mr Samuel Lewis
Assistant Referees: Mr Shaun Barry & Mr Matthew Paul
Brakes Man of the Match: Jordan Goddard