Vanarama National League
Phillips 66 Community Stadium
Monday 28th August 2017
It may only be the end of August but there are alarming signs that the life is already being sucked out of Leamington’s season. Despite a promising start to this game which saw them display exactly the kind of effort and endeavour that was required after Saturday’s capitulation at Nuneaton, two goals in as many minutes saw their fragile confidence seep away into the South Warwickshire countryside on a scorching Bank Holiday Monday afternoon.
With Callum Gittings and Ahmed Obeng restored to the starting line up Paul Holleran’s men set about their visitors in a positive opening period, Gittings scuffing an early effort just wide while Richard Taundry forced Telford keeper Jas Singh into a smart save as he cracked in a powerful half volley towards the bottom corner from just outside the penalty area.
Obeng then spurned a great opportunity as he somehow guided his shot onto the crossbar as Gittings played the ball in from the right. Gittings then crashed a low drive wide of the target before the sucker punch arrived, against the run of play, in the 19th minute. Elliot Newby’s shot bounced off Tony Breeden’s chest as the Brakes skipper dropped down to make what should have been a routine save. Nobody was quick enough to clear the loose ball and it fell perfectly for Anthony Dwyer to ram into the net.
As if that wasn’t enough, a further kick in the teeth arrived two minutes later as Jamie Hood misjudged a bouncing ball down the left, allowing Dwyer to charge in and drive a low shot that took a horrible bounce to whistle past the dive of Breeden into the bottom corner.
With the collective confidence drained from the players and the home crowd, the game turned a little stale towards half time with the visitors comfortably holding onto their two goal cushion.
James Mace made a timely return from the bench early in the second half, replacing Hood who appeared to be carrying a knock, while Colby Bishop replaced Obeng, who was also just returning from injury.
Junior English headed wide of goal for Leamington, but there were glimpses of the real Tony Breeden when the Brakes skipper pulled off a superb double save to deny Dwyer and Marcus Dinanga.
A further sign that this was not going to be an afternoon to remember came when Revan looked to be fouled by Jordan Gough as he bore down on the Bucks’ penalty area. The Referee gave nothing however, and just a couple of minutes later the game was over, Jordan Lussey taking advantage of a couple of ricochets around the Leamington penalty area to rifle a left footed first time drive across Breeden into the far corner for a fine goal.
Telford were not finished, Dinanga cracking in a powerful effort that Breeden got down to and parried, the skipper making another good stop from the same player later on, with Newby eventually firing the loose ball into the side netting.
Leamington failed to register a single effort on target during the second half, a sure sign of their shattered confidence, and they have now lost six games in a row, something that will quickly need to be rectified if they are to have any chance at all of consolidating in the National League North.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Clarke, Jamie Hood (16 James Mace, 56), Junior English, Rob Thompson-Brown, Joe Magunda, Kurtis Revan (12 Liam Canavan, 73), Callum Gittings, Ahmed Obeng (14 Colby Bishop, 60).
Subs not used: 15 Stefan Moore, 17 Milan Butterfield.
AFC Telford United: Jas Singh, Aaron Simpson, Jordan Gough, Ross White, Shane Sutton ©, Jon Royle, Jordan Lussey, Elliot Newby, Marcus Dinanga, Anthony Dwyer (16 Will Marsh, 87), Curtis Strong (14 Louis McGrory, 74).
Subs not used: 12 Aaron Hayden, 13 Sheridan Martinez, 15 Matthew Barnes-Homer.
Referee: Mr Scott Simpson
Assistant Referees: Mr Tim Walker & Mr Gareth Davis
Brakes Man of the Match: Callum Gittings.