20th Jan, 2019

Leamington face Easter crunch time

Craig Gibbons 30th Mar, 2018

LEAMINGTON face a crucial Easter weekend as they bid to steer clear of the National League North relegation zone.

Paul Holleran’s Brakes are just three points clear of third-from-bottom AFC Telford United who they travel to on Saturday afternoon in a classic six-pointer.

United won the previous encounter 3-0 back in August and another defeat like that for Leamington would drag them ever closer to the drop.

Leamington are on the road once again on Easter Monday when they make the trip to play-off-chasing Bradford Park Avenue whom they beat 2-1 in September.

Holleran’s men go into the games on the back of two successive defeats.

Following last Thursday night’s 1-0 reverse at Spennymoor Town, Brakes were then resoundingly beaten 4-0 at Stockport County on Saturday.

With two key cogs of the defence in Connor Gudger and keeper Tony Breeden unavailable due to injury and suspension, Holleran slotted Richard Taundry in at left-back while goalkeeper Jose Veiga came in for his second start of the season and endured a busy afternoon.

His first save came as Scott Duxbury drove a shot in to the near post, but he was beaten inside the opening two minutes when Jimmy Ball crashed a low effort under his dive to put the hosts ahead and set the tone for a difficult afternoon for Leamington.

Brakes were simply unable to cope with the intensity and pace of Stockport’s attacks and the first small spell of pressure they enjoyed resulted in Kieran Dunbar forcing a corner which came to nothing.

It was Rhys Turner who bagged the second goal on 19 minutes as he was allowed to run into space before driving a low strike under Veiga into the bottom corner.

Veiga saved with his legs from the same player before Brakes fashioned their first opening on the half-hour, Daniel Udoh chesting down just outside the box for Kieran Dunbar to strike a volley well over the bar.

A minute later the ball was in the Leamington net for a third time, Ball picking up another half clearance to crash an unstoppable drive past Veiga.

Dunbar registered Brakes’ only effort of the half on target right on the whistle, but the second half began in similar fashion to the first, with Oswell’s low strike held by Veiga at the second attempt.

Jack Edwards headed down on the edge of the box for Canavan to volley well over the bar before another spell in the hosts’ half saw Sangha’s low drive held by keeper Ben Hinchcliffe, who enjoyed a very quiet afternoon.

The fourth Stockport goal looked a little dubious with Duxbury appearing to be in an offside position as he slotted home the rebound when Oswell’s shot had struck the post.

Udoh’s tireless running brought little reward, leaving him visibly frustrated.

A late effort was deflected towards goal, Hinchcliffe spooning it behind for a corner, but not even a consolation goal was forthcoming.

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