DREAMS of cup glory will have to wait for Leamington after they slipped out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle on a frustrating afternoon at Bradford Park Avenue.
A third goal of the season for captain Stephan Morley was the only high point for the Brakes who were reduced to ten men following the sending off of Jamie Tank on his 21st birthday as Paul Holleran’s men fell to a 3-1 defeat at the Horsfall Stadium on Saturday.
Bradford Park Avenue has not been a happy place to visit for Leamington in recent years and that proved to the case again on an afternoon where little went their way against their Vanarama Conference North counterparts.
Neither team was particularly on top in the opening exchanges but the hosts were still able to take an early lead through Lamin Colley were scrambled the ball home from close range after Leamington had failed to clear a long throw into the penalty area.
James Fry fired over from long range and Danny Newton also saw a couple of efforts saved during the half as Leamington enjoyed the bulk of possession in search of an equaliser.
Lee Moore went close early in the second half but saw his shot saved by Avenue goalkeeper John Danby, while Joe Colbeck blasted an effort high over the bar with team mates better placed in the box.
Newton then set up Lee Chilton for a deflected shot that earned Brakes a fruitless corner, before Danny Frost drew a save from Connal Trueman as the hosts broke clear.
But he was more clinical in the next attack however, wrong footing the young keeper to double Bradford’s lead.
Brakes’ task became even harder two minutes later when Tank saw red for bringing down Colley as he went clear on goal. Colbeck fired the resulting free kick over the bar.
Despite this Leamington clawed a goal back on 72 minutes. Morley did well to find the back of the net with a well struck shot through a crowd of players on the edge of the box.
But unfortunately a revival was not forthcoming despite Brakes’ best efforts and Bradford substitute Richard Marshall forced a good save from Trueman down at his near post before Colbeck headed home a cross inside the final ten minutes to make the game safe for the hosts.