LEAMINGTON bounced back from a 1-0 defeat against Hitchen by recording a dramatic smash and grab victory away at Hungerford Town on Monday evening.
Courtney Baker-Richardson was the hero for the Brakes at Bulpit Lane by scoring both goals on his full debut to give Paul Holleran’s side 2-1 win in the Evostik League Southern Premier Division.
Both sides started the game with attacking intent with James Mace heading an early Leamington corner off target, while James Clark got into space on the Hungerford right but his shot across goal lacked the power to beat Tony Breeden.
The breakthrough almost came on 15 minutes when Hungerford were awarded a penalty after Mace was penalised for pulling back Nat Jarvis and the striker picked himself up to fire the spot kick low to Breedon’s left but the Brakes goalkeeper guessed correctly to make a strong save.
Hungerford fought back with Mike Jones driving wide but it was Leamington who came closest to breaking the deadlock when Baker-Richardson thumped a header against the crossbar from a pinpoint left wing delivery from the busy Sam Austin.
The home side continued to look dangerous themselves however, and James Clark was afforded far too much space to drive up the left and get a cross into the middle which was volleyed towards goal by Jones, who was denied by another fine save from Breeden.
Mackey and Jarvis each saw a ‘goal’ ruled out for an offside decision and Taundry fired a free kick into the arms of keeper Paul Strudley, while another long throw from the hosts led to a headed effort being directed straight at Breeden.
Taundry curled an early second half free kick just past the post, while Clark did likewise for Hungerford, but playing up the slope Brakes seemed to lack a little of the attacking threat they had displayed during the first half, and they fell behind on 63 minutes.
Stefan Brown fired in his 11th league goal of the season from close range following good work on the left from substitute Alan O’Brien.
Holleran threw on Ben George and Rob Ogleby in a bid to salvage something from the game, and gradually Leamington began to ask questions of the Hungerford defence again.
Connor Gudger drove across goal and wide from Ogleby’s nod down on the left, while Austin saw a shot blocked after some good build up play down the same wing.
The first blow arrived with seven minutes remaining. Mace and Ogleby linked up well before the latter slipped in Baker Richardson to apply a deft finish under Strudley from close range to the delight of the travelling fans behind the goal.
And the unlikely turnaround was completed in injury time when Strudley perhaps unwisely left his goal line to try and claim a ball he had little chance of reaching, and under pressure from Ogleby it dropped for Baker Richardson to lift a delightful effort up and over the stranded keeper.