LEAMINGTON FC won the Birmingham Senior Cup with a 3-1 win against at Stourbridge at Villa Park on Wednesday night.
Paul Holleran’s side struck through Devon Kelly-Evans, Dan Turner and James Mace with Reece Styche’s stunning overhead kick proving in vain for Stourbridge.
Victory means Leamington have now lifted the trophy on eight occasions and have retained the cup having also won the competition in 2018/19 before a two-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Leamington’s first chance fell to Steph Morley who fired straight at Stourbridge goalkeeper Charlie Price from 20-yards out.
The Brakes went close soon after when Adam Walker’s effort zipped past the post after good work between Joe Clarke and Jack Edwards.
And Leamington took the lead on 26 minutes when Kelly-Evans drilled a fine shot past Price from just outside of the penalty area.
Southern League Premier Central side Stourbridge were denied a leveller by Brakes keeper Jake Weaver who produced a fine save to keep out Styche’s driven shot.
Leamington broke straight up the other end and almost doubled their advantage when Turner lifted the ball over Price only for Lee Vaughan to clear the ball off the line.
The last chance of the half went to Morley who curled a free-kick just past the post as Leamington headed into the break with a one-goal advantage.
However, the Brakes eventually doubled their lead on 56 minutes when Turner rounded Price and slotted into an empty net after he pounced on some hesitancy in the Stourbridge defence.
And the game was almost put to bed when Turner headed against the inside of the post from Joe Parker’s cross as the boll rolled along the goalline before being cleared to safety.
Stourbridge halved the deficit on 78 minutes when Styche scored a sublime overhead kick from a corner to set up a tense finish.
However, Leamington secured the trophy on 87 minutes when Mace, the club’s record appearance holder, stabbed home after Price parried the ball into his path to ensure The Brakes retained the cup.
Manager Holleran said: “I think for any team going into a season, it’s hard to win trophies – especially when you move into the elite level.
“So for us to win it again, in such an iconic stadium in front of such great followings, it was a special moment.
“Everybody at the club has worked hard. It’s been tough for us – we’ve had to dig deep at times, so for it to almost finish like this is wonderful.
“With the schedule we’ve had, the injuries we’ve had, there are lots of players who, if this was a normal game, you wouldn’t have played them tonight. We were limited with choices because of injuries and cup tied players, so the players have had to play through it.
“I think the performance dipped a little bit but we just ran out of steam; but the will of the likes of James Mace, Steph Morley, Adam Walker, Joe Clarke, Dan Turner – the will of those boys to get the job done is phenomenal.
“The icing on the cake is Mace getting the third goal. When you think of his journey through COVID – at 35 and he’s done his ACL – there isn’t a sports scientist or a physio in the land that will say ‘you’re going to come back,’ but he’s come back with a bang hasn’t he?
“And it was fitting for him to get the goal that clinched the win for us. He’s super human!”
Leamington finish their season with a trip to AFC Fylde on Saturday, May 7 with kick-off at 3pm at Mill Farm Stadium.