LEAMINGTON found their goalscoring boots again to pick up a vital three points at home to Paulton Rovers that keeps them in the ever tightening play-off pack at the top of the Southern League Premier Division, reports Paul Edwards.
Saturday’s 2-0 victory condemned visitors Paulton to relegation, but to their credit they never stopped battling despite the setback of conceding an early goal.
The game was brought to life on 11 minutes when Leamington were awarded a penalty after Daniel Dubidat got to the ball ahead of goalkeeper Ben John on the edge of the penalty area.
The striker was left clutching his knee as the goalkeeper clattered into him, and was unable to continue. Sam Austin stepped up and slotted home the sixth goal of his loan spell from Burton Albion to give the home side the lead.
An expectant Harbury Lane End waited for the floodgates to open, but a second goal proved harder to come by.
Lee Moore lifted the ball back into the box from a half cleared corner for Jack Edwards to send a header over the bar, while the Brakes skipper came closer Joe Magunda crossed into the area and Edwards’ shot was blocked before Courtney Baker-Richardson fired a stinging first time volley that was beaten away well by John.
Paulton captain Darren Mullings lifted a shot onto the roof of the net at the other end but this was as close as the visitors would come to threatening his goal during the first half.
Joe Halsall’s shot sparked brief cries for a penalty as it struck Craig Allan, and Austin went close with a well struck drive that was parried by the goalkeeper as Leamington left the field at half-time having failed to build on their advantage.
Paulton came more into the game in the second half with Jordan Ricketts striking a first time shot over the bar, while Lee Moore’s free kick went a similar way at the other end.
Nerves were beginning to jangle slightly for Leamington as Mario Mateus saw a low shot deflected behind and Ricketts fired wide.
Allan produced a super challenge to prevent Ogleby from getting in a shot at goal as Austin played him in the left, which could have led to the striker being replaced by Mackey later on.
Tom Knighton glanced a header straight at Breeden as Paulton threatened again, and went closer still when Magunda was dispossessed on the right, poking the resulting cross just wide of the far post.
Baker-Richardson thought he had doubled Leamington’s lead as he touched Edwards’ cross into the net on 68 minutes, but a raised flag cut short his celebrations. He went close again with a shot from a tight angle after tearing clear down the right wing, but it was comfortable for Ben John.
Ben Mackey grabbed his 23rd goal of the season when he nodded Edwards’ goalbound header over the line at the far post to finally make the points safe for Brakes.