Young Brakes progress in league cup
On a mild late October night at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium the young Brakes put in a gritty and sometimes heroic performance to overcome a useful Premier South division Worcester City.
Right from the start the Brakes keeper was in action, stifling a move on the edge of the box. Brakes' Jack Winiarski was brought down inside the box following a run onto a long through ball but the ref waved away the appeals and awarded a corner.
In the fourteenth minute a super ball from midfield right onto the penalty spot saw Winiarski out jump the keeper to head into the net. 1-0 to the Brakes. Worcester responded with the dangerous Josh Willis forcing two fine saves in quick succession from Brakes keeper Kavan Hopkinson. Brakes were counter attacking to good effect and on 20 minutes the lively Winiarski was put through by a peach of a pass from midfield to round the keeper and squeeze the ball home from a tight angle at the Harbury Lane End. 2-0 Leamington.
However Worcester went straight up the other end from the restart and Willis again forced a double save out of the Brakes stopper to deny the City a way back in. The game was developing into a real cup tie and Hopkinson pulled out yet another top drawer save from a scorching effort from City's number 2 Keasey.
Unbelievably the Brakes went further ahead in the 26th minute when Adam Peepall found himself free on the right side of the penalty area and though well placed, unselfishly squared the ball to Charlie Fitzmaurice who buried it into the right hand corner of the net to make it 3-0!
Worcester came roaring back and a good effort curled just past Hopkinson's post. It was in the 43rd minute that the Brakes keeper was finally beaten by an unstoppable shot from city's Airey Keavy to make it 3-1 Brakes at half time.
Worcester subbed their keeper who had picked up a knock,with their number 9 Arron Brett.There then began a siege on the Leamington goal with the Brakes keeper pulling out some super saves and City missing several good chances with some wild shooting. The Brakes seemed to still be in the dressing room as wave after wave of City attempts threatened the Harbury Lane End goal, and Hopkinson pulled out a fingertip save to deny Worcester sub Josh Attwood.
Brakes attacks were few but they were denied a chance after the Ref blew up for a late challenge by Worcester's number 4 after Brakes' Keavey had played a fine ball to find Connor Byrne with just the keeper to beat. Wesley Lewis was booked for his challenge by referee Mr Cox, the only card of the night.The Brakes were getting back into the game and Fitzmaurice almost caught the City keeper unaware with a scuffed effort from the edge of the box. Winiarski went close to his hat trick with a solo effort narrowly missing the far post.
It was end to end stuff and Willis blasted over for Worcester when well placed and Fitzmaurice went close for Brakes with a shot that the keeper saved with his feet. Then in the 89th minute Worcester's man of the match Josh Willis dribbled past 2 defenders to plant the ball past Hopkinson for 3-2... cue squeaky bum time!
Worcester's Devlin squandered a glorious chance to equalise in the 92nd blazing over from close range in a nervous end to the game. That final whistle still didn't come and with the last kick of the game a goal bound header was miraculously cleared off the line by Brakes Jay Morgan to the relief of the home crowd. A tough encounter for the young Brakes but they march into the third round draw.