Vanarama National League North
Phillips 66 Community Stadium
Saturday 4th November 2017
It is one of those well worn football cliches that teams often suffer after their manager wins an award, and it turned out to be just one of those days for Leamington as they fell to their first defeat in eight league games against a Boston side who put in an almost perfect away performance to collect a first win on their travels this season.
Paul Holleran was deservedly crowned October’s Vanarama National League manager of the month on Friday after his side had picked up some stunning results given the calibre of their opponents to pull themselves clear of the relegation places, but that had to be put to one side as they kicked off November’s fixtures against a Boston side in desperate need of points themsleves.
With Joe Clarke fit to take his place on the substitutes bench he was joined by new signing and former Pilgrims player Kaine Felix, along with another former Boston man in Colby Bishop. Paul Holleran named the same eleven that started against North Ferriby United.
The visitors started the game at a blistering pace and were rewarded when they took the lead inside the opening five minutes. Tony Breeden came off his line to meet Sam Muggleton’s long throw into the box and Brad McGowan took full advantage, firing the loose ball into the net.
It took over twenty minutes for Leamington to register an effort on goal, keeper George Willis getting right behind a firm drive from Rob Thompson-Brown. Jack Edwards then headed over the bar from Kieran Dunbar’s right wing corner.
Junior English looked to have a decent shout for a penalty when he was sent crashing inside the box by one of the Boston central defenders, but Referee Thomas Kirk was unmoved. English then laid the ball back for Callum Gittings to stab a first time effort over the bar.
Brakes were becoming frustrated on and off the pitch at some of the decisions going against them, English going into the book as he conceded a free kick on the edge of the box which was fired high above Breeden’s goal by Ashley Hemmings.
Just as it looked like Leamington might be starting to gain a foothold in the game they found themselves two goals behind. The ball somehow found its way to the feet of Harry Vince after it ricocheted around on half way, and in acres of space he motored down the left into the box before going to ground as James Mace attempted to challenge. There were protestations but the only man who mattered pointed to the spot, and Hemmings stepped up to fire the ball low into the bottom corner and double Boston’s lead.
Edwards sent another header across goal and wide from Thompson-Brown’s free kick after Kurtis Revan had been fouled, but Leamington were fortunate not to go in three goals down at half time when they had a huge let off. James Clifton danced into the penalty area on the right past at least two desperate sliding challenges before laying the ball off to Vince for what looked like a certain goal, only for the Boston man to balloon his shot high over the bar.
Leamington needed to improve in the second half if they were going to get anything out of the game, and though they did, they were simply unable to unlock a resolute visiting defence who were determined to hold on to their advantage.
Boston skipper Jamie McGuire conceded a free kick inside his own penalty area with a back pass which Willis picked up, but Connor Gudger crashed his shot into the side netting after the ball was touched to him. Revan then got clear down the left but Willis was off his line quickly to make a good block.
Liam Canavan glanced a header wide from a free kick after Revan was brought down on the right before Kieran Dunbar latched onto a long ball into the box on the right and lifted a shot across goal and wide.
The Referee was unmoved once more as Revan went down in the box before the Brakes number 9 did well to keep his feet in box to tee up Dunbar for a drive which Willis beat away. The ball wasn’t fully cleared and the former Telford man picked up possession once more, hammering a shot towards the near post which Willis did well to beat away.
Gregg Smith forced Breeden into a save with his legs at his near post as he turned English on the touchline inside the box before lashing a low drive towards goal.
English volleyed wide as Leamington attempted to build up the pressure on their visitors. Revan then did superbly to win the ball back while on the deck inside the box, and while Dunbar’s initial effort was blocked Revan dug out a shot that forced Willis into a flying save at his near post.
Felix came on for his debut with around 20 minutes remaining and gave a glimpse of what is to come from him with a swift touch past his marker and a whipped in cross that fellow substitute Bishop was just unable to control.
The Brakes newcomer was then denied a goal as Canavan headed on a long clearance from Breeden, Willis saving with his legs at his near post. Joe Clarke then crashed a volley well wide from the resulting corner.
Boston came close to a third when a quick break upfield saw Jack Broadhead denied by a fine last ditch block from Jamie Hood, Breeden forced to save with his legs again from the corner.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, James Mace, Connor Gudger, Callum Gittings (15 Colby Bishop, 83), Jamie Hood, Junior English, Kieran Dunbar, Jack Edwards (17 Joe Clarke, 78), Kurtis Revan, Liam Canavan, Rob Thompson-Brown (14 Kaine Felix, 67).
Subs not used: 12 Richard Taundry, 16 Joe Magunda.
Boston United: George Willis, James Clifton, Sam Muggleton, Jamie McGuire ©, Brad Beatson (17 Jan Yeomans, 63), Brad McGowan, Jay Rollins, Jordan Keane, Gregg Smith (12 Kabongo Tshimanga, 78), Ashley Hemmings, Harry Vince (16 Jack Broadhead, 83).
Subs not used: 14 Morgan Penfold, 15 Liam Adams.
Referee: Mr Thomas Kirk
Assistant Referees: Mr Andy Hendley & Mr Scott Chalkley
Brakes Man of the Match: Kurtis Revan.