Young Brakes in Dramatic cup win.
It was a night of high drama in a high tempo encounter at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium. Halesowen Town were the visitors on a mild night (13 degrees ) for early December for this Joel Richards Memoriel cup tie, (named after the young referee who tragically lost his life to the crazed gun man on a beach in Tunisia a couple of years ago.)
The match began with the Yeltz kicking towards the Northbank in their rather resplendent white and purple away strip pushing forward with plenty of resolve but being caught offside on numerous occasions and as the pressure stacked up the Brakes defence failed to clear a good cross from the left wing for Hunter to slot home at the second attempt from the rebound. Moments later a super ball was played from midfield behind the defence for the speedy Yeltz 7 Ward to latch onto but with just the Brakes keeper to beat scuffed his shot wide.
Yeltz were really up for this and were playing the ball around with great maturity and were confining brakes to their own half with only solo efforts from a Robbins jinking run and a shot from Fitzmaurice providing some respite from the heavy pressure on the Brakes goal. Yeltz Ward went on surging run past 2 defenders before being sythed down by Brakes Kane Alexander who was immediately carded by referee Mr Joe Clarke.
Keeper Hopkinson went full stretch to his left to save the resultant free kick which beat the wall along the ground.The keeper was called upon to make another fine save from Yeltz impressive no5 Nicholos from a 25 yard free kick and moments later 17 missed a great chance to extend the lead, firing wide when well placed.
HT: Leamington 0 Halesowen Town 1.
The second half began with Brakes benefiting from a strong breeze blowing towards the North Bank End and they forced a free kick wide on the left. The free kick seemed to ghost past everyone low in the box, hit the post and fell to Robbins to slot in the equaliser. The Brakes were applying pressure and Robbins cleverly beat two defenders to fire in a cross with 2 arriving attackers gaping at the open goal as the ball eluded them. But the Yeltz were always looking likely and Ward went close again with a left foot attempt from just outside the box. The pace of the game had now picked up as wave after wave of Yeltz attacks were repelled by some stout defending by a resolute Brakes back 4. In fact it was a welcome relief for the players as the Halesowen physio was called on to treat a player down with cramp.
The break heralded a frantic finish to the game. On 83 minutes Brakes Robbins went close with a fabulous chip over the advancing keeper, Yeltz Ward lept incredibly high to get to a cross at the other end and then minutes later in the second minute of 3 additional added minutes a mix up in the Yelts defence caused the standin keeper to fumble. The ball bounced goalwards for Brakes Lewis Annals to gleefully nod into an empty net. 2-1 brakes. One minute to go, surely a leamington win! But wait ,the ball played to the edge of the box straight from the kick off and the Yeltz no7 was upended inside the box. Penalty surely! No, Mr Cox, the assistant on the night was right on the spot. A Foul outside the box. Up stepped Nicholos to fire a beauty into the far corner with the last kick of the game.
Full Time 2-2 so straight to penalties in county cup ties!. And what drama, with Haelsowen missing the first, but netting the next 4. Brakes also netted 4, so sudden death. Both keepers saved the first 2 but Yeltz 11 had a rush of blood under the pressure and blazed high over the goal. Up stepped George Ingram to calmly slot the ball home to give the Brakes an epic 7-6 win to take them into the next round. Great entertainment for the sparse crowd on a memorable night for the Young Brakes.