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21st May, 2022

FOOTBALL - Leamington finish season with narrow defeat at Fylde

LEAMINGTON FC finished the season with a narrow 1-0 defeat away at promotion-chasing AFC Fylde.

Nick Haughton scored the game’s only goal on 13 minutes with the Brakes unable to find a response at Mill Farm Stadium.

The result means Leamington end the campaign in 15th place in the National League North table, with 12 wins, 12 draws and 18 defeats from their 42 league matches.

Fylde scored the decisive goal with the first chance of the match as Haughton let fly from 25-yards out and found the top corner after Dan Meredith and Jack Edwards collided with each other.

Leamington went close through Devon Kelly-Evans’ free-kick before Fylde’s Sam Osborne was denied by the offside flag after he had put the ball in the net.

Former Brakes defender Kyle Morrison almost doubled Fylde’s lead when his looped header was cleared off the line by Meredith before Leamington keeper Callum Hawkins saved Doug Taylor’s overhead kick attempt.

And Leamington were fortunate to go into the break only a single goal behind when Taylor’s header came back off the base of the post and bounced into the arms of Hawkins.

The Brakes almost drew level when Jack Lane’s header was blocked on the line with Joe Clarke off balance as he tried to force the ball home.

Charlie Williams was next to try his luck with a low drive that was initially spilled by Fylde keeper Chris Neal before the veteran stopper gathered at the second attempt.

Williams had another effort saved by Neal before Hawkins denied substitute Stephen Dobbie with an outstretched leg before pushing a header over the bar from the resulting corner as the Brakes season drew to a close.

Manager Paul Holleran said: “I’ve been doing this a long time, and this group of players over the last few months have been exceptional.

“I can take a lot of satisfaction from the performance after the game.

“We went toe to toe with them, although they were probably the better side over the course of the afternoon. We had some really good spells and some really good individual performances.

“A lot of players have clocked up a lot of minutes this week and they’ve been fantastic. It’s been a great week for us topped off with a good performance.

“We played a lot of football, made some good half chances and on another day we might have got something out of it.

“I’ve just said to the players in the dressing room that when times were tough back in February and March we had to dig in and show a lot of character, and we found a way to not get sucked in to where Guiseley, Farsley and Telford have been.

“This week has been fantastic; the performances, the results, the cup win, and I thought that was a really good away performance and we deserved to get something out of the game.

“I’m not disputing that Fylde deserved to win it but for our efforts and our patterns of play in the second half – there were some impressive performances again.”

Leamington will play in the National League North for a sixth successive season having also won the Birmingham Senior Cup last week.

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