Buildbase FA Trophy First Round
Phillips 66 Community Stadium
Saturday 16th December 2017
In the first competitive fixture between these two old rivals for almost five years Stourbridge proved their cup pedigree once more as they edged Leamington out of the FA Trophy.
With three former Brakes men in Matty Dodd, Stuart Pierpoint and Leon Broadhurst in their line up Gary Hackett’s men made the kind of strong, high octane start long time Brakes fans would have come to expect, but despite that it was Leamington who threatened first, Connor Gudger forcing a corner from which Matt Gould was forced to push a swerving delivery from Kieran Dunbar out from under his crossbar. When it was played back in Jack Edwards nodded back across goal to seemingly present Jamie Hood with a tap in, but between them Gould and Aris Christophorou somehow managed to keep the ball out.
There was precious little in terms of entertainment in the first half an hour, Stourbridge possibly shading things in terms of possession as the freezing rain began to ease off. Broadhurst saw a shot deflect out for a throw in on the far side, while another wild first time effort just before half time ended up in the hedge on the North Bank as the visitors struggled to break down a well organised Leamington defence.
Kaine Felix and Tom Tonks exchanged yellow cards as the game petered out towards the interval. There was little to warm the crowd but this changed three minutes into the second half, for the sizeable visiting contingent at least, as Dodd nodded in a right wing corner, Tony Breeden just unable to keep it out as the ball went in off his palm and the inside of the post.
Stourbridge had a gilt edged opportunity to quickly double their advantage moments later, Luke Shearer picking up possession midway through his own half and tearing towards the Leamington penalty area, crossing low for Aaron Forde who only had to direct his shot either side of Breeden to score, but the Brakes skipper produced a great stop with his legs to deny him.
The pressure continued as the rain began to fall once more, the Brakes defence blocking several shots as the Glassboys looked for second goal.
Junior English stabbed an effort at Gould as Leamington forged their first attack of the half, but with Paul Holleran throwing Colby Bishop and Ahmed Obeng into the fray the two substitutes had an immediate impact, Bishop knocking on for Felix, whose first shot was blocked by Gould, the second by Christophorou. Connor Gudger then curled a free kick just over the bar.
It was Leamington’s turn to be frustrated in the closing stages, but they never came close to breaching the Stourbridge defence, and the Black Country cup kings march on once more.
‘There’s no disputing Stourbridge are the cup kings in the Midlands,’ said Brakes boss Holleran after the game. ‘I watched them beat Bradford Park Avenue in the last round so I knew what was coming. They were very good, but I thought we dealt with them really well in the first half. We didn’t start the second half well though, we were sloppy, and they’ve won two headers in our box and we didn’t deal with the set play.’
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Magunda (17 Ahmed Obeng, 71), Jamie Hood, Junior English, Kieran Dunbar, Joe Clarke, Kurtis Revan (14 Colby Bishop, 63), Jack Edwards (12 Callum Gittings, 79 ), Kaine Felix.
Subs not used: 15 Liam Canavan, 16 James Mace.
Stourbridge: Matt Gould, Darryl Westlake, Aris Christophorou, Tom Tonks, Stuart Pierpoint ©, Aaron Forde, Matt Dodd (14 Brandon Hague, 78), Leon Broadhurst, Kyle Perry, Luke Shearer (12 Josh Cooke, 90+3), Josh Green.
Subs not used: 15 Jake Evans, 16 Louis Hall, 17 Peter Hawk.
Referee: Mr Garreth Rhodes
Assistant Referees: Mr Ed Stapleton & Mr Martin Parker
4th Official: Mr Mariusz Tomon
Brakes Man of the Match: Jamie Hood