AN OUTSTANDING performance from goalkeeper Neil Collett ensured Brakes had their name in the bag for the FA Cup fourth round of qualifying after drawing 1-1 with Worcester City.
Collett produced a series of saves to keep Worcester at bay on Saturday afternoon at the New Windmill Ground.
And the hosts came within inches of scoring a dramatic late winner but Richard Batchelor’s header sailed agonisingly wide.
As it is a trip to Aggborough is next on the agenda for the replay on Tuesday and it was certainly something Leamington had to work hard for after a poor first half performance.
The game was dominated by the visitors after they had taken a somewhat fortunate 18th minute lead but nobody could argue that they didn’t deserve to be ahead by half time with Collett making several fine stops to keep the deficit to one while at the other end Nathan Vaughan barely saw the ball on his return to the New Windmill Ground.
A quiet opening period on the pitch at least was punctuated by the opener. Daniel Nti feeding strike partner Nick Wright from the right wing, Wright cutting inside before firing in a shot that did not even look to be on target until it took a hefty deflection off Richard Batchelor to wrong foot Collett and spin into the net.
Worcester grew in confidence with this goal with skipper Ellis Deeney forcing two saves from Collett, who did superbly to deny Wright when he bludgeoned his way into the box on the left and looked all set to give his side the lead again.
Stephan Morley registered Leamington’s only real effort at goal just before half time but his long range drive sailed over the bar.
Brakes came out firing in the second half and soon levelled the tie when the ball was headed back into the centre from a free kick, leaving Danny Newton with plenty of time and space to steady himself and smash a volley into the net from close range.
Despite this the visitors so nearly regained the advantage immediately, George Williams seeing his shot well saved by Collett, the rebound being hacked off the line.
Lee Chilton shot straight at Vaughan while Batchelor’s lofted effort from distance drifted past the upright, but despite the distinct improvement from Leamington it was Worcester who continued to create the better chances, substitute Jordan Murphy’s low drive forcing a scrambled save from Collett, who denied Wright yet again when the striker looked certain to score, pushing his shot over the bar.
After all these chances it was Leamington who so nearly snatched it late on, Batchelor diving to head Chilton’s cross just past the post after some good hold up play from Stefan Moore on the edge of the box. There was still time for Collett to deny Wright’s smart turn and shot, but Brakes did enough to earn a replay, when the next round opponents will be known and watching with interest.
Leamington Brakes have an effort on goal. (s) Photo by Sally Ellis