Cirencester Town 1-2 Leamington
Southern League Premier Division
FOOTBALL: BRAKES negotiated a difficult trip to a much-changed Cirencester Town to extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points.
Striker Jamie Chamberlain was one of the new faces at the Corinium Stadium and the Torquay United loanee fired in an early shot that was saved by Breeden but the striker’s afternoon was ended early through injury.
Ahmed Obeng spurned the first opportunity of the afternoon for Leamington by firing Richard Taundry’s long throw over the bar and a slick move up the right then saw Taundry do well to cut back for Courtney Baker-Richardson, who side footed just past the post.
Leamington accelerated ahead with two goals in as many minutes to leave their hosts on the back foot.
Jack Edwards headed home Rob Thompson-Brown’s free kick home for his seventh goal of the season on 24 minutes and just two minutes later Baker-Richardson expertly steered home a low shot after a fine move through the middle involving Obeng and Taundry
Jack Challis headed wide for the home side as they began to recover from the shock of going behind while Brakes came close to fashioning what would have been a superb goal. Obeng and Rowe moved the ball across the box for Darren Pond to hook in an acrobatic effort that flew over the bar.
With Leamington looking to be heading towards the break with a two goal cushion, things were made slightly more difficult when the hosts dragged themselves back into proceedings with a penalty.
Under the new rules, Jamie Hood received only a yellow card for clipping Aidan Bennett as he ran clear on goal. Will Hancox stepped up to send Breeden the wrong way from the spot.
There was further concern as Taundry limped off with a hamstring problem, to be replaced by Ben George. Thompson-Brown had to have on pitch treatment for a dislocated finger during the first half, but Leamington regrouped and emerged with more purpose in the second half.
Gill was to keep his side in touch with a string of saves, the first coming from Baker-Richardson as Obeng and Rowe linked up once more to set up the chance, Gill producing a fine block to deny the striker his second of the game.
Hood was then inches from a goal when he glanced a header just wide of the far post, while Baker-Richardson sent a low cross in which Rowe stabbed just wide.
Cirencester were not making any inroads as Leamington continued to pour forward. Obeng so nearly created a third goal when he capitalised on a slip from Ben Brown, firing a dangerous ball in from the left that looked certain to be smashed home by Rowe, only for Sindri Scheving to get there first and clear behind for a corner.
Gill saved with his legs as Baker-Richardson set up Rowe, while Diaz-Benitez’s attempted clearance looping off Rowe and dropping just past the post with Gill scrambling across his goal.
Gill pulled off a great save to deny Thompson-Brown before a slip from Diaz-Benitez saw Baker-Richardson run clear down the left in injury time, but Leamington were denied by another great interception as he tried to find Obeng in the centre.
Gill was to deny Brakes another goal one more time, another super save denying Baker-Richardson as he attempted to curl his shot into the far corner. The goalkeeper enjoyed some friendly banter with the travelling support all afternoon, and fully deserved the applause he received at full time.
Leamington: Breeden ©, Taundry (George, 43), Gudger, Pond, Hood, Mace, Baker-Richardson, Edwards, Rowe (Gittings, 69), Thompson-Brown (James, 90), Obeng.
Subs not used: Magunda, Olukanmi.