A FANTASTIC goal from substitute Ross Oulton rescued Leamington a point at Paulton Rovers on Saturday although the visitors were perhaps disappointed not to have come away with all three points from this Evostik Southern League Premier Division encounter, reports Paul Edwards.
The Brakes were made to settle for a 1-1 draw at Winterfield Road although manager Paul Holleran viewed it as two points dropped rather than one gained after his team had created a large number of opportunities, particularly in the second half.
Lee Chilton drove in a low shot that was saved by Paulton keeper Ben John as Leamington attempted to seize the early initiative before Jack Edwards came closest to breaking the deadlock before the break.
Edwards received a pass from Mackey inside the box and moved past a challenge before clipping a low shot that struck the post and he could fire the rebound wide of goal.
Former Truro midfielder Kyle Tooze gave notice that he was quite capable of causing problems on the left when he was afforded far too much time and space on the wing to fire in a low driven cross that was held by Tony Breeden as the two sides went in level at half time.
The hosts were somewhat hamstrung by the five yellow cards they received during the first half, none of which were particularly bad challenges, and this would come back to haunt them later in the game.
With the weather improving slightly as the second half began, Leamington continued to search for that all important opening and came close on several occasions.
Mackey had a first-time shot well saved with Chilton firing the loose ball wide and Moore got clear of his marker before dragging his shot wide of goal.
The home side then stunned the visitors by taking the lead with practically their first serious effort on goal. Leamington lost possession in their own half and the ball was played out to Tooze on the left, whose cross was then played dangerously back across the six yard box for Darren Mullings to crash into the roof of the net.
The goal filled Paulton with confidence and they almost scored a second when Tom Knighton beat two defenders before getting a shot away but Breedon was able to touch the ball behind for a corner.
Moore was left cursing his luck again as he hit the woodwork for the second time in the half, getting in on the left again only to see his lofted shot over the keeper strike the crossbar.
The pace of the game became more frantic as Brakes searched for a goal with Taundry firing a free kick over the bar before Mackey looked to have squeezed between two defenders just inside the box only for them to recover and deflect his shot behind. The striker then headed agonisingly over the bar from Chilton’s left wing cross.
Proceedings then became heated with several players receiving yellow cards with Magunda and Breedon getting booked for the visitors.
The game was screaming out for someone to show a little bit of composure to swing things, and it was emphatically provided by Oulton, who had been introduced along with Will Green with around 20 minutes to play.
Picking up the ball midway through the Paulton half he set off on a slaloming run, evading the challenges of defenders and Oulton capped his fantastic run by slotting under the advancing Ben John before wheeling off to celebrate with his relieved team mates.
Due to all the stoppages there was still ample time to find a winner but although Paulton were deflated they dug in and held out for a point.