THE Brakes were torn apart on a miserable afternoon at Haig Avenue, after a half-time lead turned sour in a 5-1 thrashing by Southport in National League North.
A heaviest defeat of the season leaves Leamington without a win in eight games, though this will have been the biggest kick in the teeth for Paul Holleran’s side in that time by far.
Southport went into this one unbeaten in the league since October, and demonstrated how much of a threat they possessed when Dion Charles volleyed goalwards from a set-piece early on, sending it inches over.
Leamington had a set-piece chance of their own via a corner kick, but James Mace could only loop a header over and onto the roof of the net, whilst a corner from the hosts saw Andrew Parry flash narrowly wide with his head.
Bradley Bauress went closest for Southport when crashing his shot off the post, but it was the Brakes who would open the scoring against the run of play.
James Bowen’s free-kick was swept into the box which was met by Jack Edwards, who poked the ball into the net – the goal awarded by the assistant after the referee did not initially signal for the call.
The substitution of Devarn Green after the break seemed to work wonders for Southport, immediately intervening to peg the Brakes back, his driven cross was struck by Bauress, who converted the rebound after Tony Breeden had parried into his path.
Callum Gittings struck a shot wide in response to the leveller, later in the game Colby Bishop had a diving header from a corner go wide of the mark – missed chances that would come back to haunt the Brakes.
A 25-yarder from captain David Morgan was pinged into the top-corner past a motionless Breeden, a goal which paved way for Green to sweep a cross for the right to tee up Bauress for his second, picking out the bottom corner to put the result seemingly beyond doubt.
Southport’s fourth just added further woe to an already depleted Leamington, Charles knocking a Brakes clearance from the edge of the area out of his feet before whistling an unstoppable strike into the back of the net.
Charles’ second in the final few seconds rubbed more salt in the wounds, winding through Leamington’s backline and slamming home past Breeden to put an end to the Brakes misery.
Holleran and his side will hope an away trip to York Street against Boston United this Saturday (3pm) will hold better fortune for the Brakes on the road, a team that they beat in the reverse fixture 2-0 at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium in August.