FOUR red cards were shown in a hotly-contested fixture at the Jakemans Stadium on Tuesday night, as Leamington were edged 1-0 by Boston United in National League North.
The defeat was the Brakes’ first this season, following on from Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Curzon Ashton, to leave Leamington ninth in the table after four played.
What will concern manager Paul Holleran, however, is a second red card in three days for Junior English – who sparked a melee with his challenge on Jay Rollins, who was also sent off along with Jordan Murphy and Boston’s Jay Thewlis.
Making a first start of the season was captain Jamie Hood, who joined Connor Taylor and Kieran Dunbar as the other two returning players to the squad.
The visitors threatened in the early stages and were unlucky not to take the lead, after a searing 25-yard drive from Kaiman Anderson was tipped away at the last by goalkeeper Peter Crook.
Jake Weaver was kept busy down the other end and did well to stop Simon Ainge’s deflected shot with his legs, followed by a save from Dominic Knowles’ header.
Boston continued to increase the pressure and went close through Brad Abbott’s drive and a shot nudged past the post by Rollins, while defenders Jamie Hood and James Mace had to time several challenges to perfection to deny Weaver’s goal being threatened further.
Despite the chances throughout the half, the game remained goalless at half time, though Boston retained the upper hand after the restart, with Weaver again shutting out Knowles.
He could do little to deny Thewlis from 12-yards however, after the striker was brought down by Mace five minutes into the second half, with the ball being lashed beyond Weaver despite going the right way.
A rare chance for Josh March later in the half went begging after the forward sent his header wide from a corner, while Boston substitute Shaun Tuton sent his dinked effort off target after a mis-placed pass by Mace.
Then with six minutes remaining, a challenge between English and Rollins resulted in a mass brawl involving both teams, with both shown red cards along with Thewlis and Murphy.
But after the resumption of play, Leamington were unable to find a leveller to match their stalemate three days earlier, in which Josh March’s first-half penalty was cancelled out by Curzon’s Sean Miller 86th-minute strike.
Leamington face a tough task to get back to winning ways, with a trip to top-of-the-table York City awaiting them on Saturday (3pm) – who remain unbeaten.