Vanarama National League North
Phillips 66 Community Stadium
Tuesday 23rd January 2018
Not for the first time this season Brakes’ bouncebackability came to the fore as they consigned the disappointing defeat at Alfreton to memory by recording their first win in six games and the first of 2018 against Gainsborough Trinity.
The two sides went into their fourth meeting of the season with a win each and a draw, but Leamington gained a modicum of revenge for their FA Cup replay exit at the hands of Dave Frecklington’s Holy Blues, and although they posed problems at times in this contest the visitors finished well beaten.
Paul Holleran’s men started the game at a blistering pace, clearly out to make up for Saturday, and they were rewarded with an early goal for their endeavours. Loan signing Daniel Udoh had made a good impression in his opening two performances for the club and reacted smartly to stab home his first goal in Gold and Black from close range after a right wing corner led to panic in the Gainsborough penalty area.
Callum Gittings was a tireless presence in midfield once more, and he drilled in a low shot from outside the box which was saved by the visitors’ keeper Henrich Ravas. The on loan Derby County youngster had been superb in the two cup ties earlier in the season but looked shaky at times in this game. He got a fist to the ball after Kaine Felix had pushed it forward down the left and outpaced his marker to send in a dangerous ball, Kieran Dunbar seeing his shot blocked from the rebound.
Brakes were simply not allowing their visitors any time to settle in the opening exchanges, biting and snapping into every challenge and pouring forward at every opportunity, but hesitancy at the back almost let Gainsborough in, Nathan Jarman’s shot bouncing over the diving Tony Breeden but wide of the far post.
Some great battling by Udoh and Gittings set up Dunbar for another blocked shot, while Udoh’s hold up play was once again superb as he nodded down Breeden’s free kick from half way for Jack Edwards to take a touch and fire over the bar.
Breeden was presented with his first problem of the game when a shot from outside the box found its way to Tom Davie at the far post, the Brakes skipper looking back to his old self as he made a superb block at his near post.
The visitors were coming more into the game now but Leamington continued to look the more threatening, Connor Gudger charging into the box and miscuing a shot that was pounced on by Gittings, whose low drive was parried by Ravas before the keeper claimed at the second attempt. The same player rampaged forward once more and cracked another effort wide from 25 yards.
Craig King was at the heart of most of Gainsborough’s promising play, and he weaved his way into the Leamington penalty area, seeing his blocked shot fall nicely for namesake Liam King, whose effort was deflected behind.
Udoh was proving a real handful for the Trinity defence and he caused havoc once more before going to ground in the area, the ball rolling perfectly to Dunbar, who probably would have scored had he hit it first time but hesitation meant the chance was lost.
Jarman curled a free kick over the bar and Ashley Worsfold saw his dangerous cross cleared away as Gainsborough pushed for an equaliser before half time but they almost went in two down as Ravas miskicked a back pass into the path of the lurking Udoh, but regained his composure just in time beat the striker to the ball and clear.
It did not take long for Leamington to double their advantage as the second half commenced however, and they were given a huge helping hand with it as Liam King somehow deflected Felix’s left wing cross over a despairing Ravas, the ball looping down into the net.
Worsfold tried his luck with a hopeful but powerful effort from a very tight angle on the right but Breeden was alert at his near post and covered it well.
The Brakes skipper confirmed that the Alfreton game was merely a blip when he displayed fantastic reactions to tip Liam King’s shot onto the bar after Trinity substitute Curtis Bateson had created the opportunity with his first involvement in the game. This was the prelude to Gainsborough’s best spell of the game as they launched an intense bombardment of the Leamington penalty area, sending the ball into the box numerous times without any real success.
Udoh looked to be in with a chance of a second goal of the game as he was played in on the edge of the box but his low shot was deflected behind for a corner which Junior English headed on to Edwards on the far side, who produced a sweet turn to beat his marker before driving low into the six yard box, the striker failing to connect by a whisker as Michael Jacklin hurriedly cleared it away from danger.
Nathan Stainfield saw his powerful header cleared off the line by Joe Magunda late on, the substitute also clearing the follow up effort away from goal, before some superb footwork from the effervescent Dunbar and a neat reverse pass from Udoh saw the midfielder almost played in on goal.
Late substitute Liam Canavan then bisected the Gainsborough defence with a fine through ball for Dunbar, who snatched at his shot which flew first time high and wide of goal.
The result was capped off in the last minute when Udoh charged down an attempted clearance from Ravas, the ball ricocheting into the unguarded net. Opposite number Breeden would no doubt have had some sympathy for his counterpart, but there was barely concealed glee on the terraces as the home fans celebrated a welcome three points.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, James Mace, Connor Gudger, Joe Clarke, Jamie Hood, Junior English, Kieran Dunbar, Callum Gittings (14 Joe Magunda, 73), Daniel Udoh, Jack Edwards (12 Liam Canavan, 82), Kaine Felix (15 Ahmed Obeng, 75).
Subs not used: 16 Kurtis Revan, 17 Stefan Moore.
Gainsborough Trinity: Henrich Ravas, Ioan Evans (14 Ellis Storey, 7), Michael Jacklin, Liam King, Nathan Stainfield, Simon Russell, Craig King, Jordan Richards, Nathan Jarman © (17 Alex Simmons, 60), Ashley Worsfold, Tom Davie (15 Curtis Bateson, 55).
Subs not used: 12 Shane Clarke, 16 Bradley Wells,
Referee: Ben Cooke
Assistant Referees: Mr Scott Tallis & Mr Richie Watkins
Brakes Man of the Match: Daniel Udoh.