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The history of Leamington Football Club 1891-2009
 
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ALVECHURCH 1 v LEAMINGTON 4
Midland Alliance
Thu 20 Apr 06
By Roger Vincent

Brakes Ring the Changes To Give ‘Church a Lesson

Scenes reminiscent of the NWG in its early years greeted the travelling faithful, a muddy pitch devoid of grass, except on the wings, and sand being barrowed to the goalmouths. A blackening sky threatened to make conditions impossible but the rain held off. With several players absent, some playing with injuries and striker, Martin Thompson, filling in as central defender on a pitch totally unsuited to Brakes’ cultured football the vociferous Brakes’ fans feared the worse.

And those fears seemed realised as Brakes fought to escape from their own goalmouth. Alvechurch hit the bar, the ball was cleared off the line and the smart money was on Alvechurch to better adapt to the conditions and take Brakes apart.

Then Brakes broke and Sidwell loped upfield. Crossing the halfway line he explored the options before him as the Church defence backed off then chose the option nobody was expecting curling a tremendous 35yd shot into the top corner of the net for his first goal of the season, 0-1 in the 7th.

But Alvechurch still had most possession with both Martin Thompson and Feely having to make saving tackles and the wing backs too busy in defence to set up any kind of attack. It was no surprise then when a period of sustained Church pressure led to a corner on the right, which was powered home by a McWilliams header for 1-1 in the 14th.

With Brakes continuing to struggle in the mud Feely left the field to change his boots and a few others looked as if they needed a longer stud as well. But there were promising signs as the half drew to a close. Adams and Care started to make inroads and the power of Herlihy stood out when weaker brethren faltered. Alvechurch were forced into two substitutions from their also limited resources and Brakes seized the initiative.

Just as with the league cup SF first leg at Chasetown Brakes changed things in the second half and it seemed to work wonders. Howell and Martin Thompson swapped roles in what looked like 4-2-4 to my untutored eye. And Steve Thompson started throwing the ball into the goalmouth onto Morgan’s head, a ploy that unsettled Church as it had Chasetown.

But though Brakes were now on top it wasn’t all plain sailing and a defensive mix-up nearly let in a Church striker on the hour with Steve Thompson saving the day with a last ditch tackle from another attack minutes later.

But Care ran through the mud to set up Martin Thompson for a superbly taken “goal” that was adjudged offside in the 64th as Brakes took control. However, it wasn’t until the last half hour that Church really crumbled and it was a superb goal from Blake, replacing McKay from the bench, as he dinked a Jon Adams chip over the ‘keeper for 1-2 in the 78th.

Now the heart had gone out of Church and Brakes ran riot. Another substitute, just off the bench, Eden, sent a long raking cross into the Church area and Jon Adams nodded in at the far post for 1-3 in the 84th. Interestingly it was Brakes’ third substitute who played a major role in setting up the final goal soon after he came off the bench as well. With Brakes playing the ball around on the grassy wings Coleman picked up a Care pass and crossed for Morgan to flick the ball to Eden who lobbed superbly over the Church ‘keeper for 1-4 in the 90th and his first league goal of the season.

Leamington: Richard Morris; David Care (Jamie Coleman 87); Mike Feely; Tom Sidwell; Martin Thompson (Paul Eden 82); Leon Morgan [Capt]; Jon Adams; Stuart Herlihy; Ryan Howell; Jody McKay (Josh Blake 72); Steve Thompson
Subs Not Used: Darran Tank; Paul Shepherd

Alvechurch: Karl Lewis; Adrian Parkes; Gareth Davies; Daniel Hancock; Simon Redhead [Capt]; Ben Usher; Callum Gittings; Jamie McWilliams; Oliver Hartill (Tom Clarke 34); Keith Rostill; Lee Chilton (Tim Houghton 40)
Subs Not Used: Rob Gregory (Only three on bench)

Attendance: 187

Players' News: Ryan Parisi possible return Saturday; James Husband, knee, uncertain; Morton Titterton, Tom Cudworth and Alex Rodman all missed because of work and should return Saturday.


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