Buildbase FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
Phillips 66 Community Stadium
Saturday 25th November 2017
Brakes made progress in the FA Trophy with a hard earned but deserved success over Vanarama National League North rivals Curzon Ashton.
The visitors started well, going in front early on, and looked for a while like they might go in at half time with a comfortable advantage but Leamington responded well and grew into what was at times a tetchy but entertaining encounter. They forged ahead while on top and then consolidated with a third goal to put the tie just out of reach for the visitors.
With Jack Edwards still injured and Colby Bishop having jarred his knee in training on Thursday Paul Holleran made two changes to his starting eleven, bringing Kurtis Revan and Liam Canavan back in.
The visitors went ahead with only six minutes played, Kieran Dunbar conceding a free kick 20 yards or so from goal and Matthew Crothers delivering the perfect ball in from the left for Niall Cummins to attack, his shot going in off the post with the Leamington defence static.
Liam Canavan was sent tumbling by an industrial challenge that led to a bit of handbags in the centre circle, ending with Chris Rowney and Joe Clarke receiving yellow cards. From the dead ball Canavan sent Leamington’s first chance of the afternoon over the bar on the volley.
Good movement just outside the Curzon penalty area saw Richard Taundry flash a low ball across goal that was deflected out for a corner which came to nothing for Leamington, but despite the constant stoppages they were beginning to settle into the game.
The visitors almost capitalised on Brakes’ failure to clear their lines when Jordan Wright found Ben Wharton just outside the box, but the striker fluffed his lines and screwed his shot well off target. Wright then did very well to outmuscle Joe Magunda down the right touchline, sending in a decent cross which Joe Guest couldn’t quite connect with just inside the box.
Kaine Felix drove at the Curzon defence and drove wildly over the bar after Canavan was allowed to turn and feed him from midfield. Canavan himself then did well to control Taundry’s low ball in, turning to poke a shot towards goal that lacked the purchase to trouble Cameron Mason.
Revan came very close for Leamington when he raced on to Dunbar’s touch in the box, driving shot into the near post that Mason shepherded behind for a corner.
Curzon came close to a second when Guest burst into the box and exchanged passes with Wharton before driving in a shot that Breeden claimed at the second attempt. Felix was then denied an equaliser at the other end by a fine block from Mason, who made up for his poor connection on the ball from the resulting corner by darting off his line to smother Canavan’s shot.
Leamington were level on 40 minutes through the most unlikely of sources, Magunda glancing a header neatly into the far corner from Dunbar’s right wing free kick to score his first goal for just over 4 years. Revan came close to a second moments before the half time whistle, outpacing his marker down the right before steering a shot just over the bar.
Buoyed by the leveller, Brakes started the second half on the front foot with Magunda seeing an ambitious strike deflected over the bar, and they were rewarded when James Ballie stabbed Revan’s dangerous right wing cross into his own net seven minutes in.
Breaking forward again, Joe Clarke fed Dunbar inside the box for a shot that was blocked, Canavan and Taundry both following up with further efforts that were charged down by the visitors defence.
Wright then forced Breeden into a great save with a powerful header at the far post, but the flag was raised for offside.
Ahmed Obeng was introduced with twenty minutes to go and made an immediate impact, bursting between two defenders on the right and coaxing a foul out of Guest to win a penalty, which Canavan crashed powerfully into the net despite the best efforts of Mason to psyche him out.
The game started to become more stretched as Leamington pushed their visitors back, the free kick count continuing to stack up. Junior English was well placed to intervene as Curzon substitute Sam Madeley threatened to break through on goal.
Ballie drilled a powerful low effort straight at Breeden in the final exchanges, but Leamington almost created a glorious fourth when Obeng won the ball inside his own half with a strong challenge, advancing forward before finding Clarke, who teed up substitute Rob Thompson-Brown for a shot which looped into the air and dropped just wide.
Cummins saw a header cleared away from the line by English as Curzon made a late push, but Brakes had done enough, and progress to the next round.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Magunda, Jamie Hood, Junior English, Kieran Dunbar (14 Ahmed Obeng, 71), Joe Clarke, Kurtis Revan, Liam Canavan (16 Callum Gittings, 82), Kaine Felix (15 Rob Thompson-Brown, 86).
Subs not used: 12 James Mace, 17 Stefan Moore.
Curzon Ashton: Cameron Mason, James Ballie, Jamie Stott, Jonathan Hunt ©, Daniel Shaw, Jordan Wright, Joe Guest, Chris Rowney (14 Ryan Brooke, 72), Niall Cummins, Ben Wharton (15 Sam Madeley, 55), Matthew Crothers (16 Luke Clark, 63).
Subs not used: 12 Matthew Regan, 17 Oliver Thornley.
Referee: Mr Sam Barrott
Assistant Referees: Mr Stuart Richardson & Mr Ian Jackson
Brakes Man of the Match: Joe Magunda.