LEAMINGTON continued their solid start to life back in the Southern League Premier Division thanks to a fourth win of the season at home to Bideford AFC which pushes them up to second in the league table.
A narrow 2-1 victory on a hot afternoon at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium ensured Brakes picked up their fourth win in five.
Visitors Bideford added colour and friendly banter to the occasion as their noisy band of supporters congregated under the car park terrace with the Brakes choir in the first half.
And they were celebrating after only five minutes when a free kick struck from distance by skipper Richard Groves somehow found its way into the net after it looked like Tony Breeden had it covered at his near post.
The Brakes responded in exactly the right manner however, remaining patient and enjoying the lion’s share of possession as they searched for a way back into the game.
Ben Mackey had already stung the palms of keeper Kyle Moore in the opening minute, but despite pinning Bideford back into their own half for a spell after the goal, several corner kicks came to nothing.
A spark of inspiration was required and as at Histon the previous Saturday, it came from the right boot of Lee Moore. Cutting in from the left wing to devastating effect again, he made the most of the ball being knocked back into his path to ghost past several defenders before creating the space to drive low inside the upright to bring his side level.
Mackey forced a save from Moore at his near post as Leamington attempted to force a quickfire second and Bideford threatened briefly before half time when Jordan Charran’s header flew wide of the post.
With the influential Richard Taundry withdrawn at half time as a precaution due to a tight hamstring, Ross Oulton was handed the chance to get more game time under his belt as Leamington continued to probe for a second goal.
And it arrived ten minutes in when Jack Edwards chested Ben George’s throw into the path of Rob Ogleby, who struck a beautiful first time dipping volley over Moore into the net.
Further goals could and probably should have been added to the tally, as Brakes produced some fantastic football in and around the Bideford penalty area, with the just the final ball lacking on occasions.
Mackey saw his powerful drive parried away by the keeper before he had another shot blocked moments later.
Will Green entered the fray late on and immediately began to cause problems for the Bideford defence with his pacy, direct running, drawing several free kicks from tired legs.
One such dead ball from just outside the box was struck low towards goal by Gudger but the pinged off the outside of the post.
Another free kick won by Green was played dangerously low across the face of goal by Oulton in the closing stages, with Nick Milton just managing not to put the ball into his own net at the far post.
Paul Holleran’s men were able to celebrate three points which keeps them up with the early front runners in the division.
Team: T.Breeden (c), B.George, C.Gudger, J.Magunda, J.Hood, J.Mace, R.Ogleby (J.Jones, 84), R.Taundry (R.Oulton 46), B.Mackey (W.Green 78), J.Edwards, L.Moore
Subs not used – K.Westwood, L.Fenney