On a bitterly cold night with a chilling northerly wind Brakes took on table toppers and much fancied Nuneaton Griff at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.

In a tactical move Brakes boss Gary Ingram moved winger George Robbins to left back to counter the wide threat from Griff's speedy wingers, a move which proved its worth as Robbins was outstanding in a solid defensive back four.

Right from the start Griff's number 9 Lewis Collins was showing his pace and strength, outstripping the defence and forcing two quick corners from which the number 9 fired in a warning shot that skimmed the cross bar. On 17 minutes Griff's Adam Ale fired a similar shot which was well saved by the confident Hopkinson in the Brakes goal.

Chances were few for Brakes but the defence stood firm, playing deep but in so doing relying on brief counter attacks as the midfield was overrun by the lively Griff side. But,in the 20th minute a bit of genius from Lewis Annuls saw the Brakes number 11 round two defenders to place a perfect finish low and hard past the despairing keeper. 1-0 Brakes.

Two minutes later the keeper was forced to make a fine stop from Winiarski from 10 yards. However Griff continued to pressure the Brakes defence, going close, hitting the bar and post and but for an outstanding tackle from Robbins, Collins would surely have hit the equaliser. From the counter good work by Annuls set up Fitzmaurice who blazed wide from close range.

Half time: 1-0.

The second half began with Nuneaton Griff still pushing forward and the Brakes keeper was called into action early on, saving a stinging shot from Collins, a Webb header from a corner and making a confident clearance following a run by Collins into the box. On the hour the Brakes midfield put together five passes to send the speedy Winiarski on a rare run into the penalty area but excellent covering by Ale forced a corner. From the resultant corner Fitzmaurice unleashed a shot which was cleared off the line at the far post.

On 66 a super cross from the lively Collins split the Brakes defence to pick out Johnstone whose 10 yard effort was brilliantly saved by Hopkinson. The hardworking Collins missed the best opening of the game following a peach of a ball from Ale into the 6 yard box, mistiming his shot and the ball went out for a goal kick. Brakes however swept forward and a thumping effort from Fitzmaurice on the counter attack was brilliantly saved by the keeper diving low to his left to tip the ball past the post.

Griff still were not finished and Hopkinson was called on to make a decisive clearance as the luckless Collins threatened in the dying seconds.The referee finally brought the game to a close after adding 6 agonising minutes for the 30 or so Brakes followers. The win lifts Brakes into second place in the league. Next up for the youth a home game v Coleshill Town next Wednesday night.

Keith Hancock