LEAMINGTON made an immediate return to winning ways in the Southern League Premier Division after completing the double over South Warwickshire neighbours Stratford Town courtesy of a third minute penalty by Sam Austin, reports Paul Edwards at the DCS Stadium.
Brakes boss Paul Holleran made four changes to the side that drew 2-2 at home to Chippenham Town on Saturday with Callum Gittings and Daniel Dubidat coming in for their debuts, while Ben George and Joe Halsall were also recalled.
The breakthrough came with only three minutes gone after Dubidat was upended in the Stratford area with practially his first touch for his new club and Sam Austin confidently fired home from the spot for his fifth goal in Leamington colours.
The game never really had the feel or intensity of a local derby clash, despite the bumper Bank Holiday crowd at Knights Lane, but there was little happening on the pitch to whip the crowd into a frenzy.
Kemp did well to save a low drive from Jack Edwards with his legs, while Gittings shot across goal and wide for Leamington.
Dior Angus, one of four former Leamington men in the Stratford squad, came close for the home side when he cut in from the left and curled a well struck effort past the far post.
Dubidat was dismayed to see a goal chalked off when he was adjudged to have been in an offside position as he slotted Edwards’ deflected drive past Kemp, while Tyrone Fagan almost fashioned a goal for Stratford with a dangerous run in from the left that resulted in a corner being won.
After the break Fagan played in Simeon Tulloch down the right to strike a shot that sailed over Tony Breeden’s crossbar, while half time substitute Jamie Sheldon almost beat former teammate Breeden with a fierce cross-shot that the Brakes skipper pushed over the bar.
There was brief panic in the Leamington box when a corner saw the ball pinging around in front of goal before a shot was eventually held on the line by Breeden.
At the other end Kemp misjudged a shot from Edwards, the ball spinning up off his hands and behind for a corner as he stooped to claim it.
The Brakes midfielder, looking to build on his two goals in the previous game, looked to have a decent shout for a second penalty kick when he was shoved by Anthony Charles in the box which made the save easier for Kemp than it could have been.
The Stratford keeper then inadvertently helped to set up a Leamington attack which could have settled the game when his poor goal kick was picked up by Richard Taundry on half way. He played Dubidat in down the right and the striker got the better of his marker, firing a low shot across goal that flew inches past the far post.
There was one final chance for Leamington to snatch a second goal but after being played in onm goal substitute Courtney Baker-Richardson’s effort was well saved by Kemp as he attempted to slide the ball under the giant keeper.
Up next for Leamington is a trip to fellow promotion candidates Redditch United on Saturday.