LEAMINGTON Hibs won a Midland Football League title for the first time in the club’s 42-year history after a 5-1 victory saw them crowned Division Three champions.
The score was made comfortable in the second half but only after a shaky first 40 minutes that saw visitors Perrywood look good for their 1-0 lead.
But a five-minute double salvo just before half time saw Hibs in front at the break and they never looked back as the title was secured in impressive style.
The championship had looked a long way off when a clumsy shove by defender Sam Smith led to a Perrywood penalty – and goal – midway through the first half.
Stormy clouds gathered over the Bishops Tachbrook ground to mirror the home side’s performance but when the rain cleared just before half time Hibs found themselves back on level terms.
It was Smith who stepped up and grabbed the crucial goal to redeem himself and settle any jitters after a needless Perrywood handball had led to the second spot kick of the game.
The goal pushed Hibs through the gears and two minutes later they were in front when a pinpoint Luke Swinnerton through ball fell into the path of Joe Wright, who rounded the keeper and passed the ball into the net.
The second half started as the first had finished, with a now dominant Hibs rushing forward. Jack Keeling was sure he had added to the score seconds after the restart with a powerful right-foot volley that was pushed round the post. But he did soon make it three when the ball was laid into his path and he finished with the outside of his right boot into the bottom corner.
Perrywood tried to force themselves back in to the game with a couple of decent long range efforts which the impressive Hibs’ keeper Joe Weston saved comfortably. But the match – and championship – was put beyond doubt when Swinnerton followed his earlier assist with a goal of his own.
The solo effort saw him pick up the ball on the edge of the box, carry it past two defenders and place the ball past the goalkeeper.
A fifth quickly followed when Will Pendred was played in and scored, before the final whistle sparked scenes of celebration from the men in green as they secured the title by just one point over fellow-promoted club Smithswood Firs.
The title comes at the first time of asking for the new look side, which followed a new management team into the club at the start of the season after a number of barren years in the division.