FOOTBALL: BRAKES suffered injury time heartache on Saturday as former Football League side Darlington won 3-2 at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.
Despite playing more than half the game with ten men, after losing Joe Clarke to yellow cards on 40 minutes, Brakes were undone by a standout hat-trick from Stephen Thompson.
The 28-year-old netted in the first half before firing home two late goals to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for the visiting side, to the delight of the club’s travelling fans.
It means Brakes remain 16th in the National League North table, three points clear of relegation bound Gainsborough Trinity. Paul Holleran’s men do have the advantage of a -7 goal difference, a significantly better figure than the majority of their relegation rivals.
Brakes started Saturday’s game in positive fashion, Tony Breeden’s free kick from the half way line was headed on by Jack Edwards while Kieran Dunbar came close to shooting before being outmuscled by Greg Mills.
Darlington took the lead on nine minutes when Thompson confidently sent Breeden the wrong way to open a one-goal lead for the visiting side.
There was a brief pause in play following an altercation between Edwards and Quakers defender Gary Brown. Brown took his anger out on an advertisement board before moving to the dressing room, he was quickly substituted.
Leamington were handed the opportunity to level on 17 minutes when Ahmed Obeng was dragged down inside the box.
Although Pears guessed the right way and got a strong hand to the ball, the power on Gittings’ shot ensured that it hit the back of the net.
There was a strong shout for a second penalty as Udoh appeared to have his standing leg taken from under him by Brown prior to his departure, though it came more from the North Bank than the players themselves.
Things took a turn for the worst for Leamington as Clarke picked up a second booking following a midfield challenge, reducing Brakes to ten men.
Clarke’s departure did little to deter Brakes though as Jack Edwards headed Leamington ahead after meeting Dunbar’s corner from the left.
Darlington boss Tommy Wright reacted to the goal and immediately made changes.
His tactical mind paid off when Thompson netted on 74 minutes after driving a shot past Jamie Hood and Breeden into the far corner.
David Syers’ effort was then struck straight at Breeden before the game was won in the closing minutes when James Caton’s ball from the left was met by Thompson who finished from close range.
Brakes are next in league action on Saturday afternoon against bottom club North Ferriby (3pm).