FOOTBALL: BRAKES slipped further behind the relentless pace of Southern League Premier Division leaders Chippenham after they were held to a goalless draw away at Hitchin Town, reports Paul Edwards.
Paul Holleran’s side remain in with a chance of snatching that priceless automatic promotion spot despite being written off by the doom and gloom merchants.
It was a match they tried desperately hard to win, but defences were king in what turned out to be disappointing fare for a an important top five clash.
A healthy Brakes support made the journey down to Hertfordshire, making their usual racket in an attempt to spur their team on.
A short corner from the right nearly paid dividends for the hosts in the opening exchanges as a shot was cleared away from the Leamington goal, but this was as close as they would get until almost the end of the game.
Ahmed Obeng’s off target effort from a half clearance by Lewis Rolfe was the first at goal for Brakes but the the constant squawking at the officials by the home players to try and force decisions was a throwback to the Midland Alliance days, when it seemed to be an almost weekly occurrence.
Thompson-Brown had a great chance to get a shot in just before half time when the ball found its way out to him in space on the left side of the penalty area, but he swiped at the ball and it rolled harmlessly wide.
The game continued to fragment with countless stoppages but there was far more football played in the second half, and Leamington came close as they carved out several decent opportunities.
Jack Edwards glanced a header across goal and just past the far post from Thompson-Brown’s left wing corner, and he was handed another opportunity as substitute Kurtis Revan superbly flicked the ball into his path, but his first time drive was deflected behind for a corner.
Revan then provided the chance of the game for Leamington when he robbed Jay Dowie by the right touchline before delivering a pinpoint cross for Gregory, who held his head in his hands as he nodded agonisingly wide.
Tony Breeden was forced into his first save of the game as injury time approached, pushing a powerful shot behind from Jonny McNamara. Both keepers were largely redundant all afternoon, a testament to the efforts of those in front of them.
Despite the challenges of both Leamington and Hitchin now being written off in some quarters, there is still plenty of football to be played in the final month of the season, and neither side will be giving up until it is mathematically impossible.
Leamington: T.Breeden, R.Taundry, C.Gudger, D.Pond, J.Hood, J.Magunda, C.Baker-Richardson (K.Revan 72), C.Gittings, A.Obeng (R.Gregory, 57), J.Edwards, R.Thompson-Brown (J.Goddard, 84).
Subs not used: J.Mace, T.James.