FOOTBALL: A PAIR of second half goals from Connor Gudger and Colby Bishop helped lift Leamington off the bottom of the National League North table with a 2-1 win over FC United of Manchester.
Following a losing streak of six games, Paul Holleran’s men desperately needed points in what was the club’s first visit to Broadhurst Park.
More than 2,300 fans packed into FC United of Manchester’s stadium with both teams looking to kick-on from what has been a poor start to the season.
Following defeat to AFC Telford, Holleran made several changes to his side with Junior English moving into defence while James Mace returned. Telford loanee Kieran Dunbar made his debut and Stefan Moore was handed a first start of the season.
Brakes made a positive early start with efforts from Dunbar and Thompson-Brown going close.
Thompson-Brown was then booked following a challenge on Lowe – who curled a low free kick wide of the far post.
Both teams struggled to create chances throughout the first half as Callum Gittings went closest when driving a low shot into the arms of Allinson.
The game’s tempo started to pick up towards the end of the first half when Connor McCarthy forced Tony Breeden into a good save before Leamington had a chance of their own when Dunbar’s well struck free kick was held by Allinson.
FC United almost broke through seconds before the half time whistle, but a header from a well placed free kick was directed tamely into Breeden’s hands.
Clever play from Brakes forward Obeng saw Leamington go close at the start of the second half while Lowe drove a powerful effort just over the bar for United.
United then hit the post when Gilchrist beat Tony Breeden, though to Leamington’s relief the ball bounced back into play.
Brakes then stunned the hosts when taking the lead on 70 minutes after Connor Gudgers’ low drive from the left saw Gittings divert the ball past Allinson to the delight of the travelling supporters.
Colby Bishop helped Brakes double their lead just seven minutes later when he pounced on an initial save from Gudger’s free kick to score his first goal for the club.
Efforts to put the game beyond doubt went begging when Obeng’s attempted pass to Bishop was blocked.
United brought themselves back into the game with seven minutes remaining when a right wing cross was cushioned back for Scott Kay to side foot a first time volley firmly past Breeden into the net.
A nervy end to the game ended in celebration for Brakes though as Paul Holleran’s side picked up their first league points since defeating Gainsborough on the opening day of the season.
FC United of Manchester: Lloyd Allinson, Danny Brady, Danny Wisdom, Scott Kay ©, Jordan Fagbola, Matthew Hughes, James Hooper (12 Tom Greaves, 71), Nathan Lowe, Jason Gilchrist (15 Joel Senior, 71) Michael Connor (16 Steve Irwin, 56), Connor McCarthy.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Clark, Junior English, James Mace, Rob Thompson-Brown (15 Joe Magunda, 62), Kieran Dunbar, Stefan Moore (12 Colby Bishop, 74), Callum Gittings, Ahmed Obeng (16 Kurtis Revan, 81).
Picture: Sally Ellis.