LEAMINGTON came away from Tuesday night’s encounter with Stockport County pointless, after a 1-0 loss at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.
Darren Stephenson’s goal before half-time was enough to give the visiting Hatters a win on the road in National League North, with the Brakes forced to rue being second best for the majority of the game.
Stockport started strongest and had Leamington keeper Tony Breeden called into action in the first few minutes when staying pro-active at a number of early corners to punch the ball to safety, with no real chances of note in the opening quarter.
A Frank Mulhern header was glanced narrowly wide of the Brakes’ post, whilst James Mace had to be called into action shortly afterwards to head the ball out for a corner, at which County continued to pose a considerable threat.
The hosts continued to weather Stockport’s dominance in possession and were thankful for the intervention of Breeden to keep themselves level in the game – as the Brakes shot stopper magnificently tipped a first-time effort from Matthew Warburton around the post.
But the resistance would end there after Stephenson gave Stockport a 37th minute lead, Adam Thomas’ cross found Warburton who cracked a shot at goal, deflecting cruelly into the path of the Hatters midfielder to head home.
Jamie Hood missed a golden opportunity for Leamington after a corner fell to the Brakes man, but he dragged wide of the mark as a first chance of the night went begging.
County’s corner threat continued in the second-half with their captain Ashley Palmer squandering a header after a run to the far-post, whilst a back-heel from Mulhern that went wide clearly showed the confidence amongst the Stockport ranks, though they could not add to their lead.
The chances continued to flow for the visitors with Leamington still on the back foot, a drilled effort from Thomas went wide of Breeden’s post followed by Mulhern’s shot that drifted over the bar.
Leamington sought to change their fortunes and looked to loanee signing Sam Wilding from West Bromwich Albion to cause an impact from the bench, but was unable to turn the Stockport tide as the visitors looked good value to make it eight wins in a row.
It was almost game over albeit for the excellent Breeden, who was forced to tip away Sam Minihan’s cross that deflected into dangerous territory, before keeping out the snap-shot from Sam Walker after the ball fell into his path.
The Brakes managed to muster a couple of opportunities to muster shots at goal, but both efforts from Ahmed Obeng and substitute Wilding were blocked as Stockport looked to close out the game and seal the three points.
Colby Bishop headed over from a corner before a stoppage-time scramble from Junior English’s throw caused the first real signs of panic in the Stockport area, but they survived and countered to earn a corner, which would be enough to signal full-time and a loss for the Brakes.
Leamington must now look ahead to Saturday’s home fixture with Altrincham (3pm), when Phil Parkinson’s promotion chasing side do battle with the Brakes.