FOOTBALL: DETERMINED defending helped Leamington earn their first clean sheet of the season on Saturday as they drew 0-0 with Darlington.
Paul Holleran made just one change to the side that lost to Alfreton during the week as Colchester United loan signing Charley Edge made his debut in place of Ahmed Obeng, who was unavailable.
Darlington made the stronger start as Leamington struggled to retain possession in the early parts of the game.
Few chances presented themselves to either side in the opening ten minutes as only Josh Gillies went close for the home side when his effort was struck past the post.
Brakes responded with a chance of their own when Kieran Dunbar was brought down on the right.
Edge curled the subsequent free-kick into the box, but Junior English’s header went wide of the target.
English was back in action moments later, though this time down the other end of the pitch as he made a sprawling late challenge to deny David Syers as he attempted to drive the ball towards goal from the right.
Pressure continued to build for the visiting side when Terence Galbraith played a free-kick into the box from the right.
His centre back partner Dominic Collins directed a header towards goal that was well held by Breeden.
Brakes’ Stefan Moore then saw his effort go wide before both teams were forced into changes on the half hour mark as Richard Taundry replaced Joe Magunda, who was struggling with a knock he picked up before kick-off while Jack Vaulks replaced Dominic Collins for the hosts.
Despite constant pressure, Leamington saw off the first half threat as both teams ended the half level.
Moore couldn’t take a golden opportunity for Brakes to go ahead at the start of the second half when Edge looped a ball towards the far post.
Moore could only steer his effort high and wide though, when it looked easier to hit the target.
Despite the home side still applying pressure, Leamington saw another opportunity pass them when Edwards’ effort went just over the bar.
Darlington’s clearest opportunity came when Cartman latched on to a high ball into the box before Breeden snuffed out the danger.
The home side started to become more desperate as a long-range strike from Gillies was well saved by Breeden before Revan almost bagged Brakes an unlikely late winner.
Gittings then had the chance to end the game for Brakes, but his headed effort went straight into the arms of keeper Adam Bartlett.
Both teams were forced to settle for a point.
Picture: Sally Ellis.