Here are all the match reports in our database:

2009-07-11 @ The New Windmill Ground Charity Match vs Touch Radio XI 6-2

On a humid afternoon when the New Windmill Ground was attacked by a swarm of annoying little black flies, a sparse crowd was treated to the somewhat surreal sight of a selection of players who have turned out for the club in the last 9 years, to take on a team from Touch Radio. It was great to see some of the lads who were around in the early stages of Brakes' journey back to the higher echelons of the non league game, donning the gold and black once more. Josh Blake remains a symbol of those heady early days, and he must have enjoyed turning out with his old team mates. With a mixture of aging legs and a few younger players, this team was more than a match for the lads from Touch Radio, who looked like they might be submerged by a barrage of goals, early on. It was Josh Blake who opened the scoring around the ten minute mark, taking a pass from Ian Billington and striking a firm shot into the net. It was no suprise that Blake was one the best players on the park, and he notched a second when he was played in on the left, his pace taking him clear of a trailing defender, and he clipped his shot past the keeper.

Glen Webb was unfortunate not to score on the few occasions he featured for Brakes last season, and he appeared determined to make up for it with a goal in this game. Three good opportunities came his way during the first half, two of which he made a bit of a mess of, but he was unlucky with a third, which was struck just over the bar. His team mates on the bench were shouting for him to be taken off!

Just after the half hour, the Touch Radio boys grabbed an unlikely goal back to halve the deficit. They had not troubled Paul O'Keefe in the Leamington goal up until this point, but with the defence caught out by a quick break, a pass across the box was tucked home by the number 9, just in front of the Brakes keeper. It did not take long for the Leamington All Stars to extend their advantage again though, and Paul Eden played Josh Blake in again, and he cleverly deceived both goalkeeper and defender by stopping for a second and delaying his shot, to claim his hat trick goal. A minute later, Ian Billington was tripped as he moved into the penalty area on the left, and Darren Timms stepped up to take the penalty, but the midfielder could not add to the many goals he scored for Brakes during his time at the NWG, as he struck his shot against the post. Glen Webb was still busting a gut to get his goal, and flummoxed his marker with an excellent turn, but dragged his shot wide of the far post, much to his disgust.

Chris Hanrahan scored some cracking goals during his couple of seasons at the club, and he stung the hands of the Touch goalkeeper with a long range effort, before Neil Stacey slammed in a close range shot following a corner. Tom Friend added the 'old five' just after the hour, with a shot from the edge of the area after a cross from Steve Thompson was only half cleared. The keeper was to make another fine save from a close range header by Thommo.

There were rolling substitutes throughout the game, and Josh Blake had barely been back on the pitch when he took a pass from Hanrahan, and with far too much time to control the ball, rolled his shot into the corner. This was the end of the scoring for Leamington, but they could have had at least a couple more. Chris Hanrahan thumped the bar with a header, and Brian Agar was also unfortunate to see an astute shot strike the bar. The Touch Radio team bought some respectability to the scoreline in the last ten minutes, when they put together their best move of the game to grab a second goal (Sorry, nobody had a clue who scored it!). Both sides looked as though they enjoyed the game, and hopefully the afternoon has helped to raise some much needed funds for British Blind Sport, and has helped to raise awareness of it. MotM n/a! .

2009-07-19 @ The New Windmill Ground Pre Season Friendly vs Sutton Coldfield Town 0-1
Saturday July 18th, 2009

The line up for this first pre season friendly was always likely to be an experimental one, and it presented an opportunity for the 226 present at a sunny New Windmill Ground to try and figure out who the new faces were out on the pitch. Of the summer arrivals, Jay Denny and Leon Broadhurst played the 90 minutes, while Dan Pirvu, who turned out for Southam United last season, and young 16 year old trialist and local lad George Sweeney also played the majority of the match. Reis Ashraf started up front alongside Josh Blake.

The first opportunity of the game came from a free kick, but Leon Broadhurst, with his first effort at goal in Leamington colours, sent the dead ball kick along the ground and into the arms of Royals' keeper Tony Breedon. James Husband sent in a good cross from a Jai Stanley corner, from which Blake flicked a header just wide, and Guy Sanders tracked back well to make a fine saving tackle on Nathan Lamey, after Sam Wilson had robbed Adam Cooper, and played his team mate through on goal.

Husband struck a shot over the bar after a free kick from Sanders had hit the defensive wall, and Josh Blake tried to connect first time with a cross, but his effort was straight at Breedon. Jamile Matt did well for Sutton at the other end, but blazed his shot well over. James Husband very nearly played Josh Blake in with a ball across the defence, but Tony Breedon was smartly off his line to shepherd the ball away to saftey. A smooth passage of play involving Jai Stanley, Leon Broadhurst and Marcus Jackson, saw the latter send in a cross that Reis Ashraf headed over under pressure. George Sweeney replaced Guy Sanders, who had taken a knock, just after the half hour, and he took on two Sutton defenders on the left, before blasting in a shot that flashed just over.

The second half saw more of the same, with both sides feeling their way back into competitive action after the summer break. Steve Palmer floated a perfect free kick into the Sutton penalty area that was somehow missed by three Brakes players, and Nathan Lamey hacked a shot high and wide for Sutton. Chris Kiely was forced into his first real save of the game from a well struck free kick, before we began to see signs of what young George Sweeney was about. He kept posession superbly on the left, firing in a centre for Mark Bellingham, who turned and shot inches over from a tight angle. An absolute peach of a pass across the park to Marcus Jackson had the crowd applauding.

Nathan Lamey turned smartly to fire in a shot at the North Bank end which had Chris Kiely leaping across to save, and the Brakes keeper also claimed the resulting corner. The only goal of the game was scored on 67 minutes, when a free kick was turned onto the bar by Kiely, and Neil Davis was on hand to turn in the loose ball. It could have been two soon after this, but Kiely reacted quickest to make the save.

Luke Corbett sent another Leamington free kick into the hands of Tony Breedon, and then ran into a blind alley as he attempted to make space for a shot inside the area. The ball ran loose to George Sweeney, whose first time shot was pushed over the bar by Breedon. The youngster then slung over a fine cross for Leon Broadhurst, who missed his kick in front of goal. Nathan Moran was then penalised for bringing Sweeney down, and Mark Bellingham arrowed a powerful free kick just over. Last season's top scorer was then presented with another chance from a perfect ball over the head of the chasing defender by Sweeney, but his smashed his first time volley straight at Tony Breedon. The youngster then played a cheeky pass down the left for Bellingham again, and the striker turned Sutton skipper Phil Male, but saw his shot clawed away from the top corner of the goal by Breedon. There were no real clear cut chances for either side after this, but it was decent work out, with some promising performances.

Leamington: Chris Kiely (Richard Anstiss), Marcus Jackson, Dan Pirvu, Adam Cooper, Guy Sanders (George Sweeney), Jay Denny, Jai Stanley (Steve Palmer), Leon Broadhurst, Josh Blake (Luke Corbett), Reis Ashraf (Mark Bellingham), James Husband.

Sutton Coldfield Town - from: Tony Breedon, Nathan Moran, Phil Male, Michael Batchelor, Ed Booth, Jake Murrall, Jimmy Quiggan, Nathan Lamey, Jamile Matt, Graham Deakin, Sam Wilson, Matt Jackson, Richard Robinson, Neil Davis, Jordan Smith.

Attendance: 226. MotM George Sweeney.

2009-07-21 @ Sphinx Drive, Coventry. Pre Season Friendly vs Coventry Sphinx 0-1

Brakes produced a patchy performance against their Midland Alliance rivals at Sphinx Drive, but with a number of players yet to feature, there was not too much for Jason Cadden and his staff to be concerned about. Two pre season games, two defeats and no goals scored may not look good on paper, but it is gaining fitness and momentum that is more important for the players, at this early stage. Coventry Sphinx are already into their sixth week back in training, and after the opening period, looked sharper than Brakes for long spells in the game, which was to be expected. They have won all of their matches so far, and must be pleased with how their preparations for the new campaign are going.

Of the summer recruits, Leon Broadhurst was the only player on show in this game, and he put in another hard working display, certainly enough to show that he will be an asset in the coming months. Ryan Parisi has allegedly been turning out elsewhere in warm up matches, but he started here, and put in a good display.

Luke Corbett saw an early shot cleared away from goal, and had the first shot on target in the game, but Scott Furlong had his near post covered, and made a comfortable save. The home side went in front in their first threatening attack, on 22 minutes. The ball was half cleared from inside the area, the player furthest forward for Sphinx looked to have a clear shot at goal, but the ball rebounded to Callum Woodward, who struck a low shot that may have taken a deflection on the way through, but it beat Chris Kiely and nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

There had been signs of the two division gap between the sides in the early stages of the game, but this now vanished, as Sphinx set about their opponents, giving them little time to settle on the ball. Sphinx Drive has never been a particularly happy hunting ground for Brakes in the past, something which was to continue in this game.

Chris Kiely saved another low shot at goal, before Leon Broadhurst tried his luck from long range, but his shot was straight at Furlong. Brakes carved out probably their best chance of the half when Guy Sanders cut out a pass on the edge of the box. His clearance was nodded on by Luke Corbett for Mark Bellingham, who sprinted after the ball, but with a defender in close pursuit, opted to try and beat Furlong by placing his shot around him from distance, but although the keeper had strayed from his line, he managed to parry the ball behind for a corner. Bellingham later smashed a free kick high over the crossbar from a good position, but he certainly couldn't blame the playing surface, which looked superb, despite the rainfall throughout the day.

Brakes started the second half with intent, and Leon Broadhurst played a ball over the top for Chris Murphy, but Scott Furlong came out well to clear the danger. Kyle Rhodes struck an excellent shot from distance that just cleared Chris Kiely's crossbar, before Chris Murphy met an excellent cross from the left at the back post, but directed his header wide when perhaps he should have found the net.

Jerome Murdock looked lively throughout for Coventry Sphinx, and a mazy run that took him past two Brakes defenders and Chris Kiely ended with him shooting into the side netting. This was a good spell for the home side, and they looked odds on to double their lead when, with the Brakes defence in disarray, a shot was blocked by a Sphinx player on its way towards goal. A raft of substitutions followed, and Brakes composed themselves a little. Josh Blake headed over from a corner, and from another dead ball on the right, Reis Ashraf saw a close range shot blocked, Marcus Jackson lashing the rebound high over the bar. A free kick from a similar area evaded a packed penalty box in the closing minutes, and Sphinx so nearly capped their success with a stunning goal. Iyseden Christie, the former Coventry City striker who played in the Blue Square Premier for Stevenage, Kettering and Torquay United last season, and is turning out for Sphinx while looking for a new club, tried to find his way through on the edge of the Leamington area, before turning and lifting a pass into the path of Tom Haywood, who cracked in a stunning first time volley that only just cleared the bar. Brakes could not really have complained, had it gone in, but this was another useful workout for them.

Coventry Sphinx - from: Scott Furlong, Craig Goodbody, Anthony Beavas, Kyle Rhodes, Terry Ward (C), Liam Kay, Tom Muldoon, Callum Woodward, Luke Hopkins, Jerome Murdock, Aaron Donaldson.

Substitutes: 12 Jamie McAteer, 14 Adrian Fisher, 14 Paul Green, 15 Gary Mead, 16 Tom Maguire, 17 Iyseden Christie, 17 Tom Haywood.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Mark Bellingham (George Sweeney, 77), Ryan Parisi, Adam Cooper, Guy Sanders, Steve Palmer, Jai Stanley (Marcus Jackson, 57), Leon Broadhurst (Reis Ashraf, 72), Chris Murphy, Luke Corbett (Josh Blake, 61), James Husband.

Attendance: 126.

*Footnote: For anyone not at the game who thinks I am going mad, Mark Bellingham was wearing the number 2 shirt, and Sphinx had two substitutes wearing 14, and two wearing 17 on the back of their shirts! MotM Leon Broadhurst.

2009-07-26 @ The New Windmill Ground Pre Season Friendly vs Tamworth 2-3
Saturday July 25th, 2009.

Brakes fell to a third consecutive pre season defeat, but showed up well against a Tamworth side preparing for life back at the top table of Non League football. Alex Rodman returned to the New Windmill Ground for the first time since he left the club in 2006, and showed what a player he has developed into by scoring a stunning equaliser after Leon Broadhurst had scored Leamington's first goal of pre season.

A low early cross from the right was put behind for a corner, with James Husband waiting to pounce on any slip, but there was not long to wait for the first goal, and what will hopefully be the first of many from Leon Broadhurst, on 7 minutes. The prolific ex Stourbridge midfielder picked up the ball in space, and fired in a low shot that beat Lambs keeper Danny Alcock at his near post.

Alex Rodman has grown in both appearance and stature since his season at the New Windmill, back in 2005/2006. He is fondly remembered by Brakes fans for his part in the FA Cup run that took us to the First Round, and he showed his quality here with a stunning strike to level the scores after a quarter of an hour. Cutting in from the left, he curled a shot out of Chris Kiely's reach into the far top corner of the net.

Tamworth became the highest ranked side to visit the New Windmill Ground for a game since the renaissance in 2000, and at times it showed, as their quick short passing and movement made Brakes work hard to prevent more goals. One impressive passage of play saw Tom Shaw play a ball towards the Leamington area that was flicked on by Nick Wright to Jake Sheridan, but under pressure, he steered his shot wide of the far post. Guy Sanders fired a free kick from a central position into the arms of Alcock, while Nick Wright looked to have a chance, one on one with Kiely, as he controlled a cross, but Sanders was in well to take the sting out of his effort, and the ball rolled back to Kiely.

The pace of the game was impressive, given the warm conditions, and the players stopped to take on fluids before half time, but with the predictable flow of substitutions during the second half, it inevitably slowed a little. However, this did not affect the quality of football on show. Nick Wright won the match for The Lambs, putting them ahead early after the restart, and then scoring their third after Broadhurst had hauled Brakes back into contention when his shot from the left was deflected in by the unfortunate Michael Wylde.

Chris Murphy curled a shot just wide of the post in the dying seconds as Brakes sought another equaliser, but it was not to be their day and Tamworth ran out worthy winners.

After defeats to lower level opposition in Sutton Coldfield Town and Coventry Sphinx, a third reverse by the odd goal was not the result that the Brakes faithful would have wanted, but not all opponents will be as tough as Tamworth and the side is still bedding in after a number of new arrivals over the summer. The pacy Reis Ashraf showed a willingness to take on defenders and has a powerful shot on him, while Jermaine Palmer provided a different threat to the other strikers, with his height and presence. He was a late addition to the squad for this game, and was at Halesowen Town last season. He has not signed as yet, but Assistant Manager Morton Titterton said after the game that the club would be talking to him.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy (Jai Stanley, 61), Josh Blake, Simon Travis (Jermaine Palmer, 56), Guy Sanders [C], Chris Murphy, Steve Palmer (Marcus Jackson, 46), Leon Broadhurst, Luke Corbett (Reis Ashraf, 73), Mark Bellingham (Mykel Beckley 64), James Husband.

Tamworth: Danny Alcock, Des Lyttle (Gary Mils, 85), Michael Wylde, Chris Smith, Michael Briscoe, Neil Mackenzie (Stuart Nicholson, 56), Nick Wright (Seb Lake-Gaskin, 62), Tom Shaw, Jake Sheridan (Tyrone Emery, 46), Alex Rodman, Bradley Pritchard.

Attendance: 313. MotM Leon Broadhurst.

2009-07-28 @ The Greene King Stadium, Hinckley, Leicestershire Pre Season Friendly vs Hinckley United 1-1

Leamington made their first visit to the Greene King Stadium, home of Blue Square North side Hinckley United, and returned from Leicestershire with a well earned draw and a solid performance. Every player took part, and contributed to a fully committed display from Brakes.

Andy Gregory made his first appearance for the club since September 2007, and showed that he still has the quality to feature for Brakes this season, despite only playing twice during our time in the Midland Division. He did not look out of place at all during the hour or so he was on the pitch, and he headed Leamington's first effort at goal, which went wide, early on.

Brakes were coping well as the Knitters attempted to attack swfitly down both wings in the early stages of the game, and Mark Bellingham turned well and shot wide of the far post from out on the right, after Marcus Jackson had fed the ball in to him. Jacko perhaps had a point to prove to Hinckley boss Dean Thomas, as he spent last pre season with them before returning to Leamington, and played a major role in our title win. He nipped in to intercept a dangerous ball across the six yard box, before playing it clear.

Mykel Beckley enjoyed a battle with Hinckley's right back all evening, and the two seemed well matched for pace, but Beckley almost scampered clear of his marker, only for a last ditch punt to put the ball behind. The Referee however, signalled a goal kick! Hinckley almost went in front with their first effort on target, Matt West meeting an inviting cross from Andy Hall, but Guy Sanders was on hand to clear his shot away from the goal line.

Andy Gooding then had an even better chance inside the area, but his shot was straight at Chris Kiely, who nevertheless, did well to spread himself and save. The home side were having the better of things at this point, but Brakes were standing up to it well. A quick break from defence, and a clever pass from Leon Broadhurst to Mykel Beckley on the left, saw another straight sprint for the ball. Beckely charged into the area, turned his marker, but shot into the side netting.

On 33 minutes Leamington went in front with sublime piece of skill from new recruit Leon Broadhurst. Receiving a lay off from Mark Bellingham 25 yards from goal, the midfielder spotted Chris Mackenzie off his line and lifted a precise effort that dropped over the goalkeeper and into the net.

Hinckley responded, and Andy Gooding cut in from the left following a free kick, but his curling effort was blocked by Andy Gregory. Chris Kiely punched the resulting corner high into the air, but was in the right place to clear with his boot as the resulting header was directed towards his near post. The home side drew level on 45 minutes, Richard Lavery stealing in unmarked to head home a left wing corner.

The second half began with a good effort for Hinckley, Adam Webster rifled a shot wide from a good position to the right of goal. Leon Broadhurst is already showing signs of a good understanding with ex Stourbridge team mate Mark Bellingham, and the latter provided another good lay off for Broadhurst to smack in a shot that forced Chris Mackenzie into a flying save before he cleared the ball. Guy Sanders then almost embarrassed the former Hereford and Shrewsbury keeper with a well struck effort from the half way line that just cleared the crossbar. Brakes were enjoying what was their best spell of the second half, and Bellingham and Broadhurst combined once more for another shot that flashed wide.

A relatively untried defence was looking solid, even after Gregory went off and Josh Blake moved back. Michael Tuhoy and Simon Travis were performing well, as was Guy Sanders. Travis nipped in to whip the bal off the foot of Chukki Eribenne, one of several former Coventry City players in the Hinckley line up, as the striker shaped to shoot inside the area. Alex Taylor had two good efforts for Hinckley, one from distance that flew wide, and another that was cleared off the line by Guy Sanders, as he lifted the ball over Chris Kiely. Daniel Barker smacked another shot from distance wide of the far post, and Mark Bellingham did well for Brakes at the other end, as he stayed in front of his marker to receive a ball into the area, before lifting his shot wide of goal.

The Knitters had further chances to win the game, with Josh Blake scrambling back to hack another shot away from the goal line, while Eribenne outmuscled Simon Travis to hit a shot which Chris Kiely held well at his near post. Having been defeated in the first three friendlies, another in this game would have been harsh on Leamington, as they showed up well, and held their own against their Step 2 counterparts.

Hinckley United: Chris Mackenzie, James Mace, Stuart Giddings, Richard Lavery, Lee Collins, Connor Franklin, Andy Hall (Neil Cartwright, 76), Andy Gooding, Adam Webster (Chukki Eribenne, 76), Matt West (Alex Taylor, 67), Dan Dillon (Daniel Barker, 81).

Subs not used: Paul Lister, Nick Jupp.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuhoy, Simon Travis, Andy Gregory (Luke Corbett, 66), Guy Sanders, Marcus Jackson, Steve Palmer (Jai Stanley, 71), Leon Broadhurst (Reis Ashraf, 76), Mykel Beckley, Mark Bellingham, Chris Murphy (Josh Blake, 57).

Attendance:248. MotM Michael Tuhoy.

2009-08-01 @ The New Windmill Ground Pre Season Friendly vs Chasetown 0-1

Brakes have never managed to overcome Chasetown in any fixture at the New Windmill Ground, and that record was to continue on a very wet afternoon in Harbury Lane. The Scholars have become something of a bogey side for Leamington over the last season or so, and as the two sides will not be facing each other in league fixtures this season, Charlie Blakemore's side travelled down from Staffordshire for this latest warm up game.

Chris Kiely was forced to make an excellent save when he tipped a well struck free kick over his crossbar early on, while Marcus Jackson shot wide after a good Leamington break. Simon Travis was pushing forward at every opportunity, and tried his luck from distance, but his low shot was also wide of goal.

Neither goalkeeper was troubled too much, as both sides were putting the effort in, but not finding the target with the chances that were being created. Mark Branch sent a good effort past the far post after a dangerous run, and Leamington had their first effort on target when Mark Bellingham pulled the ball back to the edge of the area for Chris Murphy to lash in a shot that Ryan Price couldn't hold on to, and with Marcus Jackson about to try his luck with the loose ball, Ben Steane dashed in to put it behind for a corner.

The game was not being played out in the spirit of a pre season friendly, with plenty of hard tackles flying in, one of which forced Andy Gregory off after 40 minutes.

The only goal of the game came moments after half time. Chris Kiely could only parry an in-swinging free kick from the right away from his goal, and Gary Birch put away the loose ball to give Chasetown the lead. The same player could have doubled the advantage soon afterwards, but he headed narrowly over the bar from a right wing cross. The few efforts at goal were all coming from the visitors, and they struck the outside of the right hand upright with another free kick. Mark Bellingham fired in a firm shot from just outside the box, but it was straight at Price.

Simon Travis tried to curl a shot in following a left wing corner for Leamington, but hit it wide, and Craig Marshall struck the frame of the goal again for Chasetown when his volley from outside the box took a slight deflection on the way through. Steve Palmer was booked by the Referee, who had let everything go up until this point.

Chris Murphy had Leamington's best chances to score over the ninety minutes, and he was found in space on the right edge of the area by a super cross field pass from Marcus Jackson, but after cutting, he skewed his shot well wide.

Leon Broadhurst entered the action as a second half substitute, joining his brother Nathan, who was trialling at right back, and he linked up with Bellingham to set up a shot for the latter on the right that went behind for a corner. Bellingham later chested down a cross from the left that presented Murphy with perhaps Brakes' best chance of the game, but Price spread himself superbly to block the midfielders first time shot. Reis Ashraf screwed a shot horribly wide from a good position at the end, which summed up Leamington's luck in front of goal in this game.

Player news: Nathan Broadhurst is the brother of Leon, and is likely to play again at Stratford so that Jason and the coaching staff can have another look at him. Chris Kiely has signed up for the coming season after today's game, and the keeper who replaced him for the final five minutes of the game, Arthur Byrne, is a 17 year old local lad. More information when we have it...

Leamington: Chris Kiely (Arthur Byrne, 85), Nathan Broadhurst, Simon Travis, Andy Gregory (Guy Sanders, 40), Ryan Parisi, Liam Reynolds (Steve Palmer, 53), Chris Murphy, Marcus Jackson, Luke Corbett (Reis Ashraf, 77), Mark Bellingham, Jai Stanley (Leon Broadhurst, 64).

Sub not used: Michael Tuohy.

Chasetown Ryan Price, Ross Miller (Craig Holland, 70), Mark Branch, Chris Slater, Vaughan Thomas, Richard Teesdale, Ben Steane, Lee Greenway (Dave Woodvine, 55), Craig Marshall (Gary Birch, 46, Craig Marshall, 64), Danny Smith (Dave Egan, 77), Richard Batchelor (Harry Harris, 64).

Subs not used: John Birt [gk], Lee Smith.

Attendance: 275. MotM Nathan Broadhurst.

2009-08-05 @ Knights Lane, Stratford upon Avon Pre Season Friendly vs Stratford Town 3-1
Tuesday August 4th, 2009.

Brakes made their annual trip to Stratford and returned with a first pre season win under their belts. Having taken a first half lead, they were pegged back by a Town side eager to show that they could match their local rivals, but with a two division gap between these clubs now, Leamington seemed to step up a gear in the final stages of this match at a rain soaked Knights Lane, and finally gave the supporters something to cheer. Steve King, manager of our first league opponents Farnborough, was in the crowd to do some scouting ahead of the big kick off on Saturday week.

Josh Blake played Luke Corbett into space on the left of the Stratford penalty area early on, but he slipped on the greasy turf and when he managed to get a shot in, keeper Chris Mole was able to save comfortably. The rain seemed to make conditions ever more treacherous as the game wore on, with several Brakes players losing their footing at inappropriate moments.

The first half was punctuated by free kicks and offside decisions, the latter usually being awarded against Mark Bellingham as he attempted to play off the back of the Town defence. The striker was played in by a curling ball out to the left by Leon Broadhurst, and he steamed past Mark Faulds before just managing to get a cross in before the ball went out of play.

Faulds played a searching ball out left for Jozsef Jakab to chase, but Michael Tuohy, who has impressed during his pre season appearances, made a cracking challenge to put the ball out of play. Brakes moved in front on 28 minutes following a challenge by Faulds on Tuohy. Guy Sanders launched the free kick towards the area, and Mark Bellingham rose highest to steer the ball into the net with his head. However, the home side were back on level terms within 10 minutes, as a free kick from the left wing by Mark Faulds was headed home by Mark Smith, who celebrated wildly with his team mates.

Stratford were presented with an excellent opportunity to go in front when a ball in from the left was not cut out, and it found Lee Palmer at the back post, with a clear shot at Chris Kiely, but the Brakes did excellently to block the shot with his legs and put the ball behind. There was no quarter asked or given from either side during the first half, but there were some rather rash challenges going in, not least one from Faulds, who sent Tuohy tumbling as he surged from defence, with an ill timed lunge.

There were multiple changes from both sides after the break, but the game continued to be played at a good pace, despite the conditions. Tom Cross was a new face between the posts for Leamington, and he was rescued by his skipper Guy Sanders when he failed to close down Carl Motteram inside his area, and Sanders was back to clear the ball away from goal. Aside from this the tall custodian dealt ably with anything else that was thrown at him. Motteram then flashed a shot across goal and wide of the far post for Stratford.

Reis Ashraf was thrown on for the last half an hour, and he chose to shoot early as Bellingham played him into a good position, but Chris Mole saved. Stratford substitute Simeon Williams was presented with a gift, with the Brakes defence at sixes and sevens, but snatched at his shot and sent it wide. Guy Sanders sent a free kick from 35 yards into the hands of Mole, before Brakes suddenly began to find more space, and the overall pattern of the game began to change. Bellingham slide a pass into space from midfield that was intended for Ashraf, who had moved away from his initial position, but the covering defender lost his footing, leaving Ashraf with a clear run at goal. The striker attempted to lift a clever shot over the head of Mole, who was off his line, but the keeper second guessed him, and made the save. Stratford then hit back with a fine strike that pinged off the crossbar, but this was the last serious effort they had on goal, as the final period of the game belonged to Leamington.

Mark Bellingham capitalised on a hashed clearance that was played back towards the Stratford goal to set up Leon Broadhurst, but Mole produced a smart save to thwart the midfielder. However, on 82 minutes he was finally beaten, as Reis Ashraf controlled a high ball out to the left wing, skipped past his marker on the edge of the area, and lashed in shot that bounced once and beat Mole at his near post before he had time to move. There was obvious delight on the face of the young striker as he was congratulated by his team mates, as he appears desperate to impress, and the fans are certainly warming to him.

Brakes were starting to look the part now, and they tore into Stratford again. Chris Murphy made several dangerous raids from midfield, and both he and Ashraf tried to get shots in on goal, before Murphy slid the ball across the goalmouth, and Leon Broadhurst was inches from stabbing it into the net at the far post.

A third goal did arrive, on 87 minutes, as Ashraf split the home defence with a pass that saw Mark Bellingham and Chris Murphy tearing into the area on the left, but the former took charge and rammed his shot high past Chris Mole into the net. The ace goal poacher should really have been celebrating a hat trick, but after he had profited from a defender losing his footing, and moved into the area, he delayed his shot long enough for Laurence Hardie to get a saving tackle in. Chris Murphy saw another dangerous cross hacked away, while Leon Broadhurst would have been celebrating a few goals of his own on another night, but after tricking his way past a couple of challenges inside the area, he saw his shot superbly saved by Mole, who had a fine game for his side. Brakes now travel to Bishops Cleeve on Saturday for their final warm up game in good spirits.

Stratford Town: From: Chris Mole, Lee Palmer, Mark Smith, Chris McHale, Barry Woolley, Mark Faulds, Lee Colkin, Jozsef Jakab, Kevin Brookes, Carl Motteram. Substitutes: Simeon Williams, Rich Masters, James Hardie, Laurence Hardie, Ben Judd, Alan Barrett, Dan Hicks.

Leamington: Chris Kiely (Tom Cross, 46), Michael Tuohy (Steve Palmer, 66), Josh Blake (Ryan Parisi, 46), Guy Sanders, Adam Cooper (Nathan Broadhurst, 46), Chris Murphy, Liam Reynolds, Leon Broadhurst, Luke Corbett (Reis Ashraf, 60), Mark Bellingham, Marcus Jackson.

Attendance: 301. MotM Chris Murphy.

2009-08-08 @ Kayte Lane, Bishops Cleeve. Pre Season Friendly vs Bishops Cleeve 1-1
Brakes completed their warm up for the new season with a battling draw at Kayte Lane against Bishops Cleeve, going in front just before the hour mark, but were pegged back inside the last ten minutes by a determined home side.

Mark Bellingham was heavily involved from the first whistle, and inside the first couple of minutes he latched onto a clearance down the left wing and advanced into the penalty area before trying to pick out the in rushing Reis Ashraf with a low cross that was just in front of the young striker. Bellingham is starting to find his range again after a lean pre season on the goal front, and he he had two good chances to put Brakes in front, the first coming when he judged a bouncing ball better than the two defenders that were marking him, which saw him through on the keeper, but Tom King made a good save with his legs. Bellingham then got a boot to a high ball on the edge of the area, and tried to nick it past King, but the keeper got both hands to the ball to deny him.

Steve Jackson sent in a good strike from outside the box that Chris Kiely dropped down to his left to save. Good movement on the right saw Leamington almost go in front when Bellingham cut the ball back from the touchline to Marcus Jackson, who back heeled it into the path of Chris Murphy, who in turn tried to back heel it towards goal, but it was touched past the post by a defender. Kevin Slack was almost gifted a goal when Chris Kiely under hit a return pass to Simon Travis, but the young keeper recovered well to help shepherd the ball away from goal.

Reis Ashraf sent a shot wide, as Brakes continued to create, and he then displayed his pace when swapping passes with Michael Tuohy and accelerating down the right, before whipping a cross in that Chris Murphy headed over. There was a moment of concern when Steve Jackson went in hard on Chris Kiely as he attempted to turn in a cross from Kevin Slack, and the Brakes keeper stayed down momentarily, but he was soon back on his feet. Richard Mansell saw a shot deflected for a corner for the home side, before Bellingham was in the thick of the action once again at the opposite end, forcing King to save with his legs at his near post after the striker had cut in past two defenders before shooting. Bishops Cleeve retaliated, and played the ball around well on the right before creating the space for substitute Ben Maguire to send a good low effort towards the bottom corner, but Chris Kiely dived to push it behind.

Dan Pirvu returned to the side after missing all but the first pre season game, and despite this, he looked impressive. He drove forward from defence, hurdling a challenge from Nick Williams before spreading the ball out wide for Marcus Jackson, whose shot from outside the box was deflected into the path of Mark Bellingham, but yet again Tom King was equal to the shot. Moments after this, Guy Sanders found himself out of position on the left, as he collected a high ball, and lofted a high shot towards goal that dropped past the far post. Maguire was booked for the home side just before half time for his second late challenge, this time on Steve Palmer, who went off early in the second half.

On 57 minutes, after a scramble in the Cleeve penalty area, Brakes players screamed for a penalty following a handball. The assistant on the far side kept his flag down, but the Referee eventually awarded the spot kick. Mark Bellingham stepped up to strike a low shot to the left of substitute keeper Martyn Pearce, who guessed right and saved, but he could not hold onto the ball, which squirmed from his grasp to allow Bellingham to atone for his miss by thrashing the ball home from a couple of yards out.

Dan Pirvu soared above everybody in a crowded penalty area to meet a Jai Stanley corner kick from the right, and powered a header towards goal which was hacked away. Luke Corbett replaced Reis Ashraf for a run out against his former club, and came close when cutting in from the left, but his shot from a tight angle was deflected behind. The Cleeve keeper, Pearce, almost conceded an embarrassing own goal when he let a back pass roll under his boot, but the ball rolled the right side of the post, much to his relief, and out for a corner. Corbett looked to be in with a good chance of a goal when he was played through by Bellingham, but he took the ball wide of Pearce and shot over the bar. Marcus Jackson played a corner out to Liam Reynolds on the edge of the box, but he took too long to strike the ball, and his shot was charged down, but Dan Pirvu steamed on to the loose ball and hammered in a shot that knocked Cleeve player Sam Avery off his feet. The ball came back to Pirvu, and he advanced and struck another equally powerful effort that Martyn Pearce had to push behind for a corner.

Chris Kiely saved a low shot from Nick Williams, as Cleeve searched for the equaliser, but Mark Bellingham looked to have a good chance to grab a second for Brakes, as he controlled the ball on the edge of the box, but he was stopped in his tracks by a firm tackle. A good cross from Simon Travis out on the right saw Luke Corbett direct a header wide of goal.

With eight minutes remaining, the home side got their goal, as Dan Pirvu attempted to clear for the second time inside the area, the attempt was blocked, and Gareth Hopkins hooked a shot past Kiely into the far corner. Cleeve could have won the game when John Routledge headed goal wards following a corner, but a combination of Chris Kiely and Ryan Parisi kept the ball away from goal. It was disappointing not to finish pre season with a win, but as we all know, these results count for little, once the real action begins, and that commences with the trip to title favourites Farnborough, next Saturday.

Bishops Cleeve: from - Tom King, Sam Avery, Steve Jones, John Routledge, Michael Jackson, Gareth Hopkins, Nick Williams, Steve Jackson, Kevin Slack, James Vercesi, Richard Mansell. Subs: Lorcan Sheehan, Martyn Pearce, Ben Maguire, John Meadows, James Pickup, Lloyd Arkell, Jamie Lock.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy (Josh Blake, 66), Simon Travis, Dan Pirvu, Guy Sanders, Marcus Jackson, Jai Stanley (Stuart Herlihy, 63), Steve Palmer (Liam Reynolds, 50), Mark Bellingham, Reis Ashraf (Luke Corbett, 60), Chris Murphy (Ryan Parisi, 52).

Sub not used: Richard Anstiss.

Attendance:109. MotM Dan Pirvu.

2009-08-16 @ Cherrywood Road, Farnborough, Hampshire Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Farnborough 1-3
Brakes show endeavour but fall to late Boro' blast
Saturday 15th August 2009

Welcome to the Premier Division! We may not be travelling to grounds quite as good as Cherrywood Road, and playing sides the calibre of Farnborough, every week, but Steve King's team showed why many have tipped them to storm the division this season, overturning a half time deficit with 3 fine second half strikes, to give Leamington a harsh lesson about life at this level of the game. However, the application the Brakes showed during the opening forty five minutes, and for periods in the second half, indicates that they will have what it takes to keep their heads fully above water in the Zamaretto League Premier Division. While there were not too many goal scoring opportunities, the defence looked comfortable against the home side's imposing attack, and it was not until Dan Pirvu, probably our most impressive player on the day, was off the pitch being treated for a facial injury, that Farnborough fashioned their equaliser.

Mark Bellingham was assigned a lone role up front as the game kicked off, with plenty of assistance from midfield, as Jason Cadden prepared his team for the expected onslaught, but as the first quarter of hour ticked by it became apparent that Brakes were not here merely to make up the numbers, and were competing well against their hosts. Dean McDonald curled a free kick onto the roof of the net, and Chris Kiely saved an ambitious effort from out on the right. Guy Sanders rose well to head goal wards from a corner, but it lacked power, and Simon Wormull was able to move the ball away from the goal line unchallenged.

McDonald looked to be the main threat for Farnborough, and lofted a shot towards goal that landed on top of the net again, but generally Leamington were closing down well and preventing them from getting any clear cut efforts on goal. The one golden chance that did materialise in this opening half fell to Mark Bellingham on 29 minutes. Leon Broadhurst intercepted a clearance from defence by Simon Wormull, and the ball looped into the air and dropped perfectly for Bellingham to move in on goal and plant a shot past Richard Barnard, despite a desperate last ditch lunge from a chasing defender. The goal was perhaps a little unexpected, but was the perfect start to life in the new division, and the noisy travelling support saluted their team as they celebrated.

The goal clearly increased confidence among the team, and they continued to battle well for the rest of the half. There were no real shots at goal of any note from either side, although Guy Sanders struck a free kick against the defensive wall after Chris Murphy had been fouled. Murphy's follow up effort was also blocked.

The second half began in a similar fashion. The movement and quality of the Farnborough side was evident, and they had a perfect pitch to display it on, but Leamington were resolute. Leon Broadhurst tried his luck from distance, but his shot was well saved by Barnard. The equalising goal arrived on 54 minutes, and it came while Dan Pirvu was on the touchline, receiving treatment for a kick in the face. This clearly unsettled Brakes, and Pirvu was replaced by Ryan Parisi soon afterwards. Simon Wormull sent a perfect low ball across goal to the back post, where Kezie Ibe had far too much time and space to shoot past Kiely to level things up.

Brakes could have been behind almost immediately, when a quick move saw Bradley Bubb in acres of space on the right, and he charged towards goal with only Kiely to beat, but the young keeper saved the vicious shot superbly. He then punched the resulting corner kick out from under his crossbar, and was forced to save again during a scramble in the area.

Brakes needed to steady the ship, and Broadhurst saw two powerful shots blocked outside the box as Farnborough got men back behind the ball. Guy Sanders was booked for a challenge in midfield, and Daryl McMahon saw a free kick from the right strike the Leamington wall. Chris Kiely was also booked, for apparent time wasting. Brakes moved the ball around outside the Farnborough penalty area, but there was very little space, and Marcus Jackson saw a shot blocked. Kiely made another fine save, this time from Ibe, as Boro' broke quickly.

Leamington were still getting forward when they could, but were finding the home defence just as hard to break down. Simon Travis did well to force a throw in after losing possession, and engineered space for a cross on the left which saw Chris Murphy head over. Disaster struck on 79 minutes, however, as the number 9, McDonald, finally got his goal from the edge of the area, after combining well with his strike partner. Brakes were behind for the first time in the game, and did not have a lot of time to redress the balance. Mark Bellingham almost robbed keeper Richard Barnard as the ball was passed back to him, and substitute Luke Corbett saw an audacious shot from distance clear the bar.

Dean McDonald went into the book for bringing down Liam Reynolds on the right, and from the resulting free kick, Barnard came off his line for the ball and got nowhere near it, but with nobody in a blue shirt close enough to capitalise, the danger was cleared. The icing on the cake for Farnborough, which was perhaps a little harsh on Leamington, given how they had competed during the game, came as it moved into stoppage time. Substitute Anthony Thomas became the third player to score on his debut in this game for his side, and scored the pick of their goals, firing a shot that looped over Kiely to finally extinguish the challenge of the visitors.

There were plenty of positives to take from this game, and it gave a good indication of the level Brakes would need to be at to be competing at the right end of the table, come the end of the season. Farnborough are clearly a club set up to go places, and Leamington did not let themselves down at all in this game, despite the result. The welcome we received was friendly, and not too many teams will leave Cherrywood Road with three points this season.

Farnborough: Richard Barnard, Jamie Stevens, Sacha Opinel, Simon Wormull (Jack King, 84), Steve Robinson [C], Adam Doyle, Daryl McMahon, Gary Holloway, Kezie Ibe, Dean McDonald (Nic Ciardini, 90), Bradley Bubb ( Anthony Thomas, 77).

Subs not used: David Ray, James Smith.

Leamington Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Simon Travis, Guy Sanders [C], Dan Pirvu (Ryan Parisi, 75), Marcus Jackson, Jay Denny, Leon Broadhurst (Luke Corbett, 75), Liam Reynolds (Jai Stanley, 87), Mark Bellingham, Chris Murphy.

Subs not used: Josh Blake, Richard Anstiss.

Attendance: 1,009. MotM Dan Pirvu.

2009-08-19 @ The New Windmill Ground Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Evesham United 4-1
Brakes off as Robins routed!!

Brakes displayed their bouncebackability to the full, following the opening day reverse at Farnborough, despite Jason Cadden having to make several changes to his side. Leon Broadhurst, Simon Travis and Dan Pirvu were all unavailable for the clubs' first home fixture in the Southern League Premier Division for some 24 years. Ryan Parisi, Luke Corbett and James Husband replaced them.

A healthy crowd of 717 saw Leamington make a lively start to the game, Luke Corbett heading Guy Sanders' free kick into the ground to try and catch out Robins keeper David Adey, but the ball bounced over the bar. Michael Tuohy intervened to cut out a pass into the Leamington area, as the visitors attacked the Harbury Lane End. Mark Bellingham looked to have a reasonable shout for a penalty, when he was dragged to the ground by Steve Hands inside the Evesham area as he attempted to connect with a right wing centre from Liam Reynolds, who himself went close when heading a cross from Jay Denny onto the roof of the net.

Simon Fitter bent a free kick just wide of Chris Kiely's right hand post, and shortly after this the visitors went in front, somewhat against the run of play, when a shot from Danny Scheppel just outside the box appeared to clip a defender before it looped over Kiely and into the net. Brakes went route one in search of an equaliser, and it very nearly paid off, as Luke Corbett nodded on a huge kick up field from Kiely, and Bellingham swivelled to crack a stunning first time volley that flashed over the bar.

With half an hour played, everything seemed to be swinging in the visitors favour, and Brakes had lost their impetus a little, but it was evident that they could work their way back into this game, and the equaliser arrived on 35 minutes, from a familiar source. Guy Sanders found James Husband out on the left with a ball out of defence, and the winger took on and beat Anthony Watson with close control, before whipping in a superb ball to find Mark Bellingham, who was lurking a matter of inches from the goal line, and he had the simple task of heading home. Husband had a remarkable game, considering he missed the majority of pre season.

Brakes did not rest on their laurels after evening things up, and went in front three minutes before the break. From a free kick won on the right touchline, Jay Denny planted a dangerous cross into the six yard box, which was not dealt with by the Evesham defence. Liam Reynolds saw a shot blocked, and Guy Sanders had his legs taken from under him by Steve Luckett, as he shaped to shoot. The North Bank screamed for a penalty, but it was not needed, as Liam Reynolds picked up the loose ball and stabbed home from six yards.

Evesham boss Paul West was forced to use two of his substitutes either side of Leamington's second goal, and they very nearly conceded a third before the half time whistle, as Marcus Jackson latched on to a header from Reynolds on the right, and hit a first time shot across the face of goal which whistled past the far post.

There were moments of gamesmanship which annoyed the crowd during the match, one such occasion being when Husband was shown a yellow card by Referee Mr Barney, for having the ball knocked from his hands as he went to throw it behind him back to an Evesham player. Leamington were building up enough momentum to overcome anything that was thrown at them now, and went further in front on 56 minutes. Reynolds went down in midfield after a hard challenge, but with James Husband advancing down the left as Brakes moved quickly from defence, the advantage was played, and it paid off, as Husband provided another fine cross, this time low into the centre, and it picked out Luke Corbett, who saw Adey block his first effort, but was on hand to prod the loose ball over the line.

Husband so nearly crowned his first appearance of the season with a goal, as a blistering effort following a corner just cleared the Evesham crossbar. The best the visitors could muster in response was a shot that was screwed well wide. Josh Blake, who was making his 400th appearance for the club, Mykel Beckley and Jai Stanley were all introduced to proceedings, and Beckley forced the Robins keeper Adey into giving a corner away, from which a Guy Sanders header was cleared away from the goal line by their skipper Steve Lutz.

Michael Tuohy was booked for preventing an Evesham break up field, and one of the visiting players, who was wearing a different shirt to the rest of his team mates, that had no number on it, was also cautioned. The more eagle eyed amongst the crowd noted that the visitors red and white shirts looked distinctly red and pink, although it could have just been the glare of the floodlights. Chris Kiely was forced into a flying save from substitute Chris Cornes' rising drive, but Leamington were not going to be denied, and the final goal of the evening arrived with four minutes to play. Luke Corbett impressed all evening, with a performance full of running and endeavour, and he scored a deserved second when he picked up a pass on the edge of the box and drove a low curving shot around David Adey into the net.

Assistant manager Morton Titterton was understandably pleased with the result, saying 'We are very happy to get our first points on the board and we were particularly pleased with the work rate of everyone. We asked the forwards to stop their defenders from having time to launch quality balls onto their two big centre forwards, and I thought the work rate of Corbs and Bello was first class. We asked the whole team to pressure Evesham all over the pitch and they did that very well. When we had the ball we wanted to keep it and pass whenever possible.'

Player news: Dan Pirvu, Simon Travis and Adam Cooper will all be available for Saturday's game against Banbury United. Leon Broadhurst was missing last night, and will also be away for Saturday's game. James Husband had to come off last night as he was suffering from cramp. I passed on a question to Morton, regarding Nicky Gordon, and he said that the player will be returning from America some time in October, but they are not sure exactly when, at present.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Chris Murphy, Guy Sanders [C], Ryan Parisi, Liam Reynolds (Jai Stanley, 76) Jay Denny, Marcus Jackson, Mark Bellingham (Mykel Beckley, 61), Luke Corbett, James Husband (Josh Blake, 64).

Subs not used: Reis Ashraf, Richard Anstiss.

Evesham United: David Adey, Anthony Watson, Michael Hayden, Steve Hands, Steve Luckett Chris Cornes, 43), Steve Lutz [C], Simon Fitter, Danny Scheppel, Mark Owen (Robert Agger, 64), Jermaine Clarke, Wayne Dyer (Joseph Cole, 39).

Subs not used: Jamie Hyde, Joe Perry.

Attendance: 717. MotM Luke Corbett.

2009-08-22 @ The New Windmill Ground Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Banbury United 3-3
Brakes snatch a draw from the jaws of victory!

Leamington were denied six points from their first two home games in the Premier Division, as visitors Banbury United snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat in a topsy turvy, but entertaining match at the New Windmill Ground. After leading, and then going behind on the stroke of half time, Brakes levelled and then went in front, in the space of two second half minutes, before learning a harsh lesson and conceding an last minute equaliser.

There were some landmarks in this game for three of our players. Josh Blake was presented with a memento for making his 400th appearance for the club against Evesham United, and received applause from both sets of supporters. A true Brakes legend, not too many players at any level stay with one club for so long, in this day and age. Marcus Jackson was making his 100th appearance for the club, and Mark Bellingham his 50th. What was even more remarkable, was that Bello scored his 50th and 51st goals for the club, an astonishing record.

Befitting a local derby, the match began at a frenetic pace. A shot in the first couple of minutes from Mark Bellingham forced a smart stop from visiting keeper Joe Murrell, and Bellingham then set up Marcus Jackson, who blazed over the bar. David Stone screwed a shot well wide after working himself into a promising position, and Declan Benjamin headed a good chance wide for Banbury, before Leamington went in front on 14 minutes. Mark Bellingham controlled a high ball into the penalty area. The Banbury defence allowed him far too much space, and Murrell came off his line to try and close the striker down, but Bellingham lifted his shot over the keeper and into the net.

Much of the play during the first half was squashed into the middle of the park, with neither side seeming to want to use the wide areas. Banbury were level on 29 minutes when the Brakes defence stood off David Stone and allowed him to skip through and plant a low shot into the far corner that Chris Kiely couldn't quite get his hand to. It was evident that the Puritans were up for the battle, though Brakes looked more comfortable when they started playing the ball to feet, as they were being out fought in aerial challenges.

Mark Bellingham was looking dangerous when he received possession in good positions, and he did well to turn his marker on the left before delivering a low cross in that was half cleared as far as Chris Murphy, who thumped a shot wide. Liam Reynolds was clattered by a heavy challenge in the middle of the park, but picked himself up to nod Guy Sanders' free kick on to Luke Corbett, who headed just over the bar. Declan Benjamin missed an even better chance to put Banbury in front at the other end, when he headed wide again at the far post from a Marvin Martin cross.

As half time approached, Bellingham forced Murrell into another good save, but Banbury moved the ball down field quickly, and Chris Kiely made a fine stop from the initial shot on goal, but could do nothing about the follow up, which was bundled into the net by Joe Coleman, to send Brakes into the dressing room 2-1 down.

Within 60 seconds of the restart, Brakes fashioned an excellent chance to level the scores. Mark Bellingham played a pass back to Michael Tuohy on the right, and he placed a fine cross onto the head of Luke Corbett, who powered his header agonisingly over the bar. Chris Kiely saved a shot from David Stone with his legs, and the Harbury Lane End crowd were screaming for a penalty when Bellingham looked to be pulled down inside the box. Referee Graham Law incurred the wrath of both sets of supporters during the game with some bizarre decisions, one of which was to book Tuohy handling as he was hit by a clearance.

On 66 minutes, the pendulum swung back in Leamington's favour. Jack Ashton was cautioned for scything down Marcus Jackson to the right of goal, 25 yards out. Mark Bellingham stepped up to strike the kick, and a slight deflection off the shoulder of George Redknapp was enough to deceive Joe Murrell, and the ball ended up in the far corner of his net.

The celebrations from the equaliser had hardly died down when Brakes went in front for the first time in the game, two minutes later. A right wing corner was placed perfectly into the heart of the Banbury penalty area, Ryan Parisi appeared to miss his shot in front of goal, but the ball landed at the feet of Liam Reynolds, who for the second time in four days was perfectly placed to stab the ball home.

During the last twenty minutes, there was little threat to Chris Kiely's goal, as Leamington looked for a fourth to kill the game off, but with the clock ticking down, they decided to hold the ball up by the corner flag, something which would come back to haunt them. Ryan Parisi exchanged passes with James Husband on the left, and put a good ball across which was just to high for Bellingham. Ben Milner hit a curving shot away from goal for Banbury, before Jay Denny played Bellingham in on the right, but his cross was travelling to fast for substitute Mykel Beckley to get on the end of. Beckley had an opportunity to put the game to bed when he was played clear on the left by Husband, but he hesitated, and with no shout from a team mate, the ball was put behind for a corner before he had time to shoot. This was to prove costly, in their next attack, Banbury levelled things up. Veteran striker Howard Forinton has played in the Football League for several clubs, and he was to be hero, his strike taking a slight deflection to fox Chris Kiely, and the ball nestled in the far corner, to the delight of the travelling fans behind the goal.

This match perhaps highlighted that the step up from the Midland Division will not be all plain sailing for Brakes, as they were left to rue 2 points dropped. Banbury have a mixture of experience mixed with young talent, much like we do, but more importantly, they have experience as a team, of playing at this level. This is something that will come in time, for Leamington, as the new players bed in to the squad, but the first three games have shown that they should be able to hold their own comfortably at this level.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Chris Murphy (Dan Pirvu, 53), Guy Sanders [C], Ryan Parisi, Liam Reynolds, Jay Denny, Marcus Jackson, Luke Corbett (Mykel Beckley, 66), Mark Bellingham, James Husband.

Subs not used: Jai Stanley, Josh Blake, Richard Anstiss.

Banbury United: Joe Murrell, George Redknapp (Howard Forinton, 72), Marvin Martin (Anton Sambrook, 73), Ben Milner, Adam Learoyd, Nathan Haisley [C], Joe Coleman, Declan Benjamin (Jon Gardiner, 82), David Stone, Jason Taylor, Jack Ashton.

Sub not used: Steve Davis. Attendance: 766. MotM Mark Bellingham.

2009-08-26 @ The Eyrie Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Bedford Town 2-0
Brakes bag there first away win
Tuesday August 25th, 2009

Brakes recorded their first away win of the season with a commanding performance at The Eyrie against Bedford Town, and they could have racked up several more than the two first half strikes from Liam Reynolds and James Husband, were it not for some heroic goalkeeping from Eagles keeper Mike Armitt.

Simon Travis replaced the injured Chris Murphy in the starting eleven, and slotted in seamlessly as Brakes started the match at great speed. With only 4 minutes played, a cross into the Bedford penalty area was only cleared as far as Liam Reynolds, and from just outside the box, he cracked in a half volley that flashed into the bottom corner for his third goal in a week. The young midfielder appears to be adapting to life in a higher division with some ease, and is now adding goals to his game.

The whole team appeared determined to make up for Saturdays' disappointment against Banbury, and were working their socks off to deny their hosts time and won the ball back at every opportunity. Marcus Jackson epitomised this spirit, and it was his cut back into the area that saw Simon Travis strike a shot wide. The front two were also toiling hard to create openings for each other, and Luke Corbett hit a perfect pass over the chasing defenders for Mark Bellingham to loft a first time effort over the bar.

At the other end, Bedford were struggling to break down a stubborn Brakes rearguard. Chris Kiely came out well to claim a cross into his penalty area, and was impeded. Leamington were soon back on the offensive, and James Husband combined with Corbett to set up Bellingham, whose excellent first time volley was bettered by a superb one handed save from Mike Armitt to push the ball behind for a corner.

A free kick routine that looked to have been practised on the training ground saw Guy Sanders shape to take a dead ball kick, some 35 yards from goal, but instead he left it for Simon Travis, and then sprinted into the area to meet the ball, heading it wide. Aaran Cavill fired in the first shot of the game for Bedford, but Kiely was behind it all the way.

Marcus Jackson refused to give up on any challenge, and despite the attentions of two Bedford defenders, he managed to whip in a cross for Luke Corbett which Armitt was forced to punch clear. It was then Mark Belllingham's turn to try his luck on goal, and he turned with very little space to fire in a low drive that saw Armitt down at his near post to save again. The home side were not having much luck either, Stuart Wall lashing a shot high over the terrace behind the goal, following a corner.

The home support were screaming for a red card when Chris Kiely stumbled as he attempted to claim the ball on the left edge of his area, but to the relief of the young Brakes custodian, a free kick was the only punishment administered by Referee Mr Knowles. This was struck straight into the hands of Kiely.

Brakes were on top in every area of the pitch at this point, and the only thing missing was more goals to confirm their superiority. Guy Sanders launched a superb ball out to Marcus Jackson on the right, but Armitt darted off his line to block the cross at source. Covering every blade of grass, Jackson then gave away a free kick in a dangerous looking position out on the left, but it did not reach Chris Kiely's goal. Mark Bellingham lashed in another shot that was saved by Armitt, while Bedford's Dan Walker displayed great pace to burst from midfield with the ball, but his cross did not find a blue shirted player inside the Leamington box.

The second goal of the game arrived on 45 minutes, and owed much to the persistence of Liam Reynolds, who did superbly to hold up the ball as it looked to be going out of play, and he held off his marker before whipping a low ball across the area for James Husband to slam into the net. It was a well deserved goal, but the half time scoreline did not really reflect the pattern of the game.

The second half did not see Brakes play at quite the pace they had done during the first, but they were still in the ascendancy for long periods. Graham Clark was lucky not to concede a penalty as he appeared to handle the ball just inside the area as Michael Tuohy tried to knock it past him, but the referee adjudged it to have taken place on the other side of the white line. Mark Bellingham smashed the resulting dead ball past the far post.

The Leamington defenders continued to push forward to support their team mates in attack, and Simon Travis latched onto an excellent back heel to fire in a cross which saw Jay Denny have a shot blocked. The same player then shot over the bar, as Brakes continued to dominate, and he was later booked for the heinous crime of taking a free kick too quickly. When the kick was eventually allowed to be taken, Luke Corbett thumped a header against the crossbar, and Dan Pirvu somehow headed the rebound over from almost under the bar.

A member of the Bedford staff was ordered from the dugout, as the hosts became frustrated with their attempts to get back into the game. They applied some late pressure, Chris Kiely having to get down quickly to a low shot, and there was also an effort cleared from the goal line, but Leamington broke quickly, and a ball over the last defender saw Corbett crack in a shot towards the far post that was parried by Mike Armitt. Substitute Mykel Beckley looked almost certain to snaffle up the rebound, but the Eagles keeper completed an amazing double save by blocking his shot. He then foiled Jay Denny as he charged into the area to try and get a cross in. It was a true man of the match performance from the goalkeeper, and his team mates must surely have thanked him for keeping the score respectable.

There was another late burst of pressure from Bedford, but Brakes were resolute. Beckley shot wide as the game drew to a close, but Leamington were worthy winners. Next up is the visit of Chippenham Town to the New Windmill Ground, and having recorded a thumping 6-1 win over Hemel Hempstead Town, they will be no pushovers for Brakes.

Bedford Town: Mike Armitt, Jamie McGuinness, Graham Clark, Rob Miller [C], Jonathan Darby, Stuart Wall, Craig Daniel, (Callum Lewis, 58) Aaran Cavill, Dan Walker, Ian Draycott, Jonathan Woolf.

Subs not used: Jamie Cole, Joe Power, Lewis McBride.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy (Ryan Parisi, 60), Simon Travis, Guy Sanders [C], Dan Pirvu, Marcus Jackson (Jai Stanley, 75), Jay Denny, Liam Reynolds, Luke Corbett, Mark Bellingham (Mykel Beckley, 66), James Husband.

Subs not used: Josh Blake, Leon Broadhurst.

Attendance: 375 MotM Marcus Jackson.

2009-08-29 @ The New Windmill Ground Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Chippenham Town 4-4
Brakes and Bluebirds serve up a cracker
Those who decided against a trip to the New Windmill Ground to begin the August Bank Holiday missed out, as another rip roaring encounter saw Brakes and Chippenham share eight goals. It was a tale of potent attacks and defensive uncertainty which left both sets of fans fully entertained, but wondering whether their side could maybe have snatched all three points.

Jason Cadden fielded the same side which had played so well at Bedford the previous Tuesday, while Chippenham arrived at the New Windmill off the back of a 6-1 hammering of Hemel Hempstead Town. The stage was set, and the players did not disappoint. Inside the first minute Mark Bellingham tested Bluebirds keeper Chris Snoddy with a firm drive following a lay off from James Husband, which the keeper pushed behind. Dan Pirvu headed towards goal from the corner, but the ball was cleared. Shaun Lamb fired in a low free kick for Chippenham which Chris Kiely was unable to hold, but the danger was also cleared.

Chris Snoddy was off his line quickly to deny Bellingham the space to knock the ball past him, as the striker attempted to latch on to Luke Corbett's knock on from a huge kick by Chris Kiely. Bellingham was involved again as he sent the ball across the edge of the penalty area for Liam Reynolds, who switched it further left to the incoming James Husband, whose fierce first time shot was palmed behind. From the resulting corner, a spot of head tennis ensued. The visiting defence could not get the ball clear, and it was headed back towards goal by Shaun Lamb, and inside the post past his keeper to give Leamington a fortunate, but deserved lead on 16 minutes.

Lewis Powell headed wide from a corner, but Brakes were still in the ascendancy, and moved further in front on 24 minutes. Luke Corbett, full of energy and running as usual, robbed a Chippenham defender on the left hand side of the area, moved in on goal and placed a shot through the legs of Snoddy, before racing off down the touchline twirling his shirt above his head, which led to the obligatory yellow card from Referee Mr Hollidge.

Chippenham produced exactly the kind of response to going two down that their manager Adie Mings would have wanted. Within two minutes, Lewis Powell had pulled a goal back, before Brakes had chance to consolidate their lead. The ball was played in from the right, and Powell strode through to plant a shot wide of Chris Kiely. Dan Pirvu tried his luck from a half cleared free kick, but his first time shot did not trouble goal. Jan Klukowski saw a shot deflected behind for a corner, which saw the ball scrambled away from goal. Brakes were clearly uncomfortable dealing with the aerial power of the Chippenham attack. Pirvu was off target with a header of his own at the other end.

Mark Bellingham looked to be in with a good chance to fire in a third for Leamington, as he disposessed Stephen Casey and homed in on goal, only for the same player to make a superb saving tackle as Bellingham was about to take aim. The ball was soon back at the other end of the pitch, and on 39 minutes, the lead was wiped out, as Shaun Lamb rose highest at the back post to head home the equaliser for Chippenham.

Losing a two goal advantage would have seen many teams capitulate, but Brakes came roaring back, and incredibly went ahead again a minute before half time. Mark Bellingham kept posession well on the left, played James Husband into space, and he attempted a square ball for Liam Reynolds. The pass did not find its target, but Michael Tuohy, who had pushed up from the back, nipped in and steered a well placed shot into the far corner, his first goal for the club. A fitting end to a good first half for Brakes.

It was evident from the first forty five minutes that any advantage earned in this game was going to be tough to hold on to, and Brakes were undone again within a minute of the restart. Further hesitancy in defence saw Powell grab his second of the game with a deflected shot that wrong footed Kiely. The Bluebirds now had the wind in their sails, and were continuing to cause havoc in the Leamington defence at set pieces. Shaun Lamb headed just wide from a corner. Guy Sanders then whipped in a low free kick which was held by Chris Snoddy. Brakes looked far better when they were going forward and playing the ball on the ground. Quick passing and movement fashioned a half chance for Luke Corbett, which he was forced to snatch at by Snoddy, and the ball went harmlessly wide of goal.

Substitute Ben Highmore had already slammed a shot on the turn just wide before he stunned the New Windmill Ground crowd by putting his side in front on 66 minutes. However, Brakes were not going to be denied, and showed the character required to bounce straight back into the game. Mark Bellingham's strength kept him in front of his marker as he advanced into the area on the left, and his shot forced a smart stop from Snoddy, who used his legs to see the ball out for a corner. The delivery was perfect, and Guy Sanders was lurking unmarked to power home a 68th minute header, levelling the scores once again.

Perhaps understandably, the game petered out for a spell after this. Chris Kiely made a couple of saves from half chances, but as the game drew to a close, Brakes looked the more likely to snatch a winner. Jay Denny was unfortunate to see a good shot hit the roof of the net, and substitute Leon Broadhurst looped in a header from a free kick that was held by Snoddy. Dan Pirvu powered in a header from a corner which Liam Reynolds almost forced home, but Ashley Williams cleared the ball from the goal line.

Leon Broadhurst had the perfect opportunity to mark his home debut with the winning goal, following a good run from Marcus Jackson. Jay Denny played the ball into the 6 yard box, but Broadhurst directed his header agonisingly over the bar, and the chance of a winner was gone. Both managers were philosophical about the game, and took good and bad points from it. Chippenham boss Adie Mings commented: 'It was a great game for the spectators, but from a defensive point of view, I thought both sides were shocking. Each time either side attacked, it looked like they were going to score. The wind may have been a factor, but it was a poor defensive display from both teams.' Jason Cadden was happy with a point, but thought that both sides would perhaps have felt they could have won it. 'I told the lads that I don't think we'll come up against another side that is as strong and physical regarding set plays. We've conceded four poor goals, really, we've not cleared our lines properly. Leon's gutted that he hasn't scored there, but we've just got to work on our mistakes. Rugby will be no pushovers, but we've just got to make sure we defend better.'

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Simon Travis, Guy Sanders [C], Dan Pirvu, Marcus Jackson, Jay Denny, Liam Reynolds, Luke Corbett (Mykel Beckley, 80), Mark Bellingham (Leon Broadhurst, 84), James Husband.

Subs not used: Jai Stanley, Ryan Parisi.

Chippenham Town: Chris Snoddy, Ross Adams [C], Shaun Lamb, Ashley Williams, Stephen Casey, Jan Klukowski, Scott Lye Charlie Clough, Lewis Powell (Shaun Benison, 84) Sam Allison (Jon Davies, 77).

Subs not used: Luke Gullick, James Martin.

Attendance: 655. MotM Michael Tuohy.

2009-08-31 @ Butlin Road, Rugby. Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Rugby Town AFC 4-1
Brakes bounce back to batter Town

Brakes roared back from an uncertain start to this Warwickshire derby to record a convincing victory at Butlin Road. The defensive uncertainty which littered the performance against Chippenham two days previously led to a sixth minute opener for the home side, but two goals from Mark Bellingham, a goal of the season contender from Marcus Jackson, and one from James Husband capped another enjoyable away day.

Although Brakes had a fierce rivalry with the old Rugby Town side, back in their Midland Combination days, it had been some 22 years since they had visited Butlin Road to play the side then known as VS Rugby, back in the Southern League Midland Division. The two sides were travelling in different directions back then, and this was a derby match that was long overdue, but for some reason it didn't have the feel of a local derby, despite there being a healthy 688 inside the ground.

Although Mark Bellingham got an early shot on the turn in that went just wide, the match got off to a bad start for Brakes, when Simon Travis was forced off with only minutes on the clock, to be replaced by Ryan Parisi. Matters were made worse on 9 minutes, when the ball was played back towards Chris Kiely on the right, inside the penalty area, and the young keeper missed his kick, leaving Jason Ramsey with the simple task of walking the ball into the net to give his side the lead.

This gift visibly lifted the home side, and Kiely was forced to make a superb save to push a point blank header from David Kolodynski over the bar following a corner. Rugby were well on top for the first twenty minutes or so, and it took a while for Brakes to regain their composure. Luke Corbett registered the first effort on goal with a firm header from a Marcus Jackson cross, but it was straight at keeper Andrew Stevens. Another header from Corbett from a left wing cross dropped wide of the far post. Kolodynski then showed why he was the division's top scorer last season, as he went on a mazy run past several players, but his low drive was gathered by Kiely.

Brakes were still struggling to make any headway as the half hour mark approached, but it only takes a second to score a goal, and one moment of opportunism turned this game in Leamington's favour. It came, as it so often does, from the boots of Mark Bellingham. Pouncing on a stray ball inside the Rugby penalty box, the ace marksman managed to get a low shot away past his marker and out of the reach of Stevens into the far corner of the net to bring Leamington level.

This was the spark needed to bring Brakes to life, and they were close to going in front when an excellent deep cross from Parisi was met by the head of Leon Broadhurst, but Andrew Stevens was off his line well to block. The Town keeper denied Broadhurst again, pushing out a powerful drive at his near post. The home side forced a corner when Chris Kiely failed to gather a right wing cross, but David Staff directed his header high and wide.

The goal of the game arrived on 40 minutes. Marcus Jackson was picked out by Jay Denny in central midfield, more than 30 yards out, with nobody nearby to make a challenge, and unleashed a rocket of a shot the that flew past Stevens into the top right hand corner of the goal. Leamington had enjoyed a good spell of play prior to this, and went in at the interval with their tails up.

Luke Corbett was again presented with the first chance of the half, as he found space to advance down the right wing towards the area, but with a defender tracking back he was forced to shoot. His low drive across Stevens forced the keeper to push the ball behind. Another enforced change saw Chris Murphy replace Michael Tuohy.

A right wing corner from Jay Denny saw Leon Broadhurst head powerfully towards goal from the edge of the area. Mark Bellingham was blocking the keeper's view, and tried to back heel the ball past him, but Stevens made a good block. Jason Ramsey blazed a shot over the bar for Rugby after Steve Purton's initial effort rebounded to him.

Ryan Parisi pushed forward and exchanged passes with Bellingham on the left of the area, but his low shot was gathered by Stevens at his near post. Bellingham saw a low drive of his own saved by the Town goalkeeper, before Purton saw a shot saved by Chris Kiely. His huge kick down field led to a quick Leamington break, and Bellingham got into a super position to get a cross in for substitute Mykel Beckley, but Stevens made a nuisance of himself enough to see the ball run harmlessly across goal.

Steve Purton sent a curling effort from the left just past the far post, while the only cards of the afternoon were yellow, shown to Jay Denny and Town substitute Neil Melvin, for some pushing and shoving. Following another Leamington attack, on 80 minutes Marcus Jackson won the ball back again on the right, cut into the box and sent the perfect centre in for Mark Bellingham to almost apologetically knock it in from a yard or two out, to bring his perfect goal a game ratio back level.

Rugby were a beaten side by this stage, and a wild shot sailed over the cavernous terrace behind Chris Kiely's goal. Brakes so nearly had a fourth when Bellingham broke clear, and with Marcus Jackson on his own in the 18 yard box, screaming for a pass, Bello opted to go for his hat trick, but was denied by a fine stop from the Rugby keeper.

Jackson produced the kind of consistent performance that has made him a fans favourite, and he beat two defenders on the right touchline before pulling his cross back to Guy Sanders in the box, but the skipper saw his shot blocked. Leon Broadhurst then fired a powerful free kick through the defensive wall, only to see Stevens save well, and the Rugby keeper denied the Brakes midfielder yet again, when he wriggled free of a challenge in the box to get a shot in.

The second half pressure merited more goals, and one finally arrived in the 90th minute. Another dangerous cross in from the right was only parried by Stevens, and James Husband was left with a simple header into an empty net. Four goals conceded was harsh on the Rugby keeper, who produced a man of the match performance for his side, while Brakes assistant boss Morton Titterton was happy with the victory, saying 'We perhaps should have killed the game off sooner, but overall we're happy with the three points.'

Rugby Town: Andrew Stevens, Harry Donaghey, Liam Nicell, Marcel Simpson (Neil Melvin, 62), Delroy Gordon [C], Craig Herbert, Matt Gearing (Allando Davis, 62), David Staff, Jason Ramsey, David Kolodynski, Steve Purton.

Subs not used: Shawn Richards, Sean Castleton, Danny Bell.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy (Chris Murphy, 49), Simon Travis (Ryan Parisi, 6), Guy Sanders [C], Dan Pirvu, Marcus Jackson, Jay Denny, Leon Broadhurst, Luke Corbett ( Mykel Beckley, 69), Mark Bellingham, James Husband.

Subs not used: Liam Reynolds, Richard Anstiss.

Attendance: 688.

*Player news: (With thanks to Morton Titterton) Simon Travis had to come off with a calf strain today, and could be out for up to two weeks. Michael Tuohy took a bang to the knee, but it is too early to tell how serious this injury may be. Contrary to rumours, Josh Blake has not gone on loan to Barwell. It was planned, but in the end did not work out, so the club are looking for Josh to get some game time in elsewhere. Reis Ashraf started for Stratford Town today, in their 2-0 home loss to Causeway United. Adam Cooper has been getting some match practice, following his suspension at the start of the season, and has played a couple of games for Nuneaton Griff, but turned out for Shepshed Dynamo today, and scored the winner with a last minute diving header in a 3-2 success at Loughborough Dynamo! Steve Palmer will be playing at Tipton Town for the foreseeable future, while Stuart Herlihy is now available for selection, and Andy Gregory returns from holiday this week. MotM Marcus Jackson .

2009-09-06 @ The New Windmill Ground Zamareto League Premier Division vs Oxford City 1-2
City slickers force Brakes failure

Saturday September 5th, 2009.

Brakes slipped to their first defeat of the season on home soil with a disappointing performance against Oxford City, who effectively wrapped up the points with two strikes early in the second half. A very late rally almost rescued a point, but after a quiet first half with little goalmouth action, although Leamington looked more likely to score, they struggled to find a way past a well organised visiting line up in the second half.

The early minutes of the game looked promising, with Leamington pushing forward, but both sides were giving away possession. The first chance of the game arrived on 13 minutes, from a corner, as Leon Broadhurst attempted a strike at goal inside the box, but was unable to get any purchase on his shot. Mark Bellingham tried to head the ball goal wards, but Oxford keeper Richard Knight was off his line to block.

Marcus Jackson began the game in his usual tigerish fashion, and won the ball back for his side on at least three occasions, biting into the tackle and setting off up the right in search of a pass to set up an attack. A free kick delivered into the penalty area from out on the left sailed over most of the players, bounced over one Oxford defender, and past Luke Corbett, who was clearly not expecting it to reach him, as he was in a promising position in the area.

Neither side seemed to have the cutting edge required to spark this game into life. A swift, one touch move down the left involving James Husband and Luke Corbett set up Leon Broadhurst on the edge of the area, and his powerful first time drive whistled past the upright and pinged off the stanchion behind the goal.

The visitors registered their first effort on goal ten minutes before the break, but Chris Kiely dealt with Liam Malone's shot easily. James Husband worked a good position on the left, but dragged a shot across goal, and Luke Corbett nodded down a free kick for Jay Denny to strike at goal, but it was off target.

A last ditch intervention by Ryan Parisi saw the ball loop past Chris Kiely and strike the Leamington bar, as Oxford caused panic in the Brakes defence, but it was Mark Bellingham who came closest to breaking the deadlock, when he poked a header from Liam Reynolds past keeper Richard Knight towards goal, but the City custodian reacted quickly to scramble back and paw the ball away from the line. Reynolds directed a header over the bar from the resulting corner.

The second half almost began in the perfect fashion for Brakes, when Luke Corbett swept the ball out left for James Husband, who controlled before smashing a shot across Richard Knight towards the far corner, but the ball struck the outside of the post and went out of play. After this, Oxford quietly took control of proceedings, and went in front on 50 minutes. A cross fired in from the right was headed back across goal by Jamie Brooks, and Darren Pond was there to head home at the far post.

There was further frustration for the home faithful within four minutes, as from a scrappy patch of play in midfield, the visitors suddenly broke quickly up field. Lee Steele advanced into the open space on the left, and steered a low shot past Kiely into the far corner, leaving Brakes with a mountain to climb.

Guy Sanders fired a free kick over the bar, and Marcus Jackson did well on the right before firing in a dangerous low cross that was claimed by Knight as Husband tore into the box to try and meet it. The game became scrappy for a spell. The visitors were well organised, and stopped Brakes from playing, forcing mistakes and making them play the ball back up the pitch on more than one occasion. Mark Bellingham and Luke Corbett were being very well marshalled stifling Leamington's attacking threat.

Lee Steele broke away again for Oxford, and was unlucky to see his shot cannon back off the inside of the post and away from goal. Chris Kiely was forced to move off his line to block another shot soon after this, as Oxford threatened to overrun Leamington completely. However, with time running out, Brakes mounted a comeback, and Jay Denny floated in a perfect right wing centre for the in rushing James Husband to volley past Richard Knight and set up an interesting final few minutes.

The visitors continued to defend well and prevented any further shots on goal, before Mark Bellingham forced a corner on the left. The ball was floated in, and after several attempted shots and clearances, Guy Sanders headed into the back of the net to seemingly win an unlikely point for Leamington, only for the celebrations to be cut short by the raised flag on the far side. This was a bitter pill to swallow, as it ultimately spelt defeat for Leamington, but the decision appeared to be correct.

It was nice to see some of the visiting players reciprocate the applause they received from the Brakes fans as they walked off the pitch at the end of the game. Those who stay behind to applaud both sides from the pitch, no matter what the result, are often met with looks of bemusement from the opposition, but the Oxford players seemed to appreciate it, and they worked hard for their victory.

For Brakes, a free midweek before the next fixture could be just what is needed. There are cup ties to focus on during September, and this will hopefully give some members of the squad who have not yet been involved, a chance to get some game time.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Marcus Jackson (Mykel Beckley, 70), Ryan Parisi (Chris Murphy, 80), Dan Pirvu, Guy Sanders [C], Liam Reynolds ( Michael Tuohy, 58), Jay Denny, Leon Broadhurst, Luke Corbett, Mark Bellingham, James Husband.

Subs not used: Adam Cooper, Richard Anstiss.

Oxford City: Richard Knight, Andy Balford, David Perpetuini, Dave Savage, Darren Pond, Andy Gunn [C], Mark Bell (Alex Fisher, 82), James Clarke, Lee Steele (Mark Janes, 86), Liam Malone, Jamie Brooks (Michael Alexis, 71).

Attendance: 721. MotM James Husband.

2009-09-12 @ The New Windmill Ground The FA Cup (Sponsored by E-on) vs Market Drayton Town 0-2
Total Brakes failure, as Drayton coast through
Since reaching the First Round proper back in 2005, Brakes have only won two ties in the FA Cup, and that statistic was lengthened today, as they limped out of the competition with barely a whimper. Market Drayton Town equalled Leamington's feat of winning all three Midland Alliance trophies last season, and aside from an opening day thrashing at home to Grantham Town, they have picked up where they left off, taking to life in the Unibond Division 1 South like a duck to water, winning every other game so far. That kind of red hot form made it clear that this was a potential banana skin for Brakes, and slip up they most certainly did.

The visitors were in front on 3 minutes, thanks to some generous defending from Leamington. Dan Pirvu attempted to let the ball roll behind Chris Kiely's goal, but was dispossessed, and it was poked across the goal mouth. A miscued clearance fell straight to Nicky Porter, who could barely believe his good fortune as he netted from close range, to the delight of the travelling followers in the stand.

Brakes attempted to get level, and Marcus Jackson floated a good looking cross over from the right wing, which James Husband headed back across goal and wide. Dan Pirvu's shaky start to the game continued, when an attempted clearance in the penalty area spun high into the air, and was dropping into the back of the net until Chris Kiely pushed it over the bar.

There was already a mountain to climb, but it was made even steeper on 15 minutes, when with the Brakes defence standing off their opponents, a clever pass was threaded across the penalty box from the right wing for Martyn Davies, who slotted a second goal past Chris Kiely. The visitors themselves must have been startled at how easily they had built up an advantage in the game. Brakes looked shell shocked and devoid of ideas, as they struggled to find a foothold in the game. Mark Bellingham held the ball up well for Jay Denny on the edge of the box, but the midfielder shot wide.

On 28 minutes there was a glimmer of hope, but only for a nanosecond, as the flag went up to signal an offside decision against Bellingham when he attempted to follow up James Husband's shot from the edge of the area. Jay Denny netted, but the infringement had been signalled. However, a minute later, Liam Reynolds had his legs taken from under him by a challenge from behind, and referee Mr Sheffield pointed to the penalty spot. Mark Bellingham stepped to strike the kick, but was denied by a fine save from Andrew Pryce who ably dealt with anything that was thrown at him, all afternoon.

After this disappointment, it was very nearly game, set and match before half time, as Kiely rushed from his line to try and blot out an attack up the right, but didn't get anywhere near the ball, which was played into a gaping goal mouth. The initial shot was blocked, and an almost certain goal was prevented by a superb block tackle from Dan Pirvu, who after his uncertain start, was probably one of Leamington's best performers on the day, along with James Husband.

Mark Bellingham turned well onto a low ball in from Jackson, but sent his shot straight into the arms of Price. A couple of moments towards the end of the half summed up the way the game was going for Leamington. Luke Corbett won a free kick on the right, which did not even get past the first defender, and Michael Tuohy ended up having to play the ball back to Chris Kiely. Then, a Town defender was fortunate not to receive further punishment for handling right on the left edge of the penalty area, but Guy Sanders failed to exact any punishment, curling his free kick so wide it almost cleared the clubhouse.

Martyn Davies was causing plenty of problems for Sanders and Pirvu when the visitors attacked, playing right off the shoulder of the two central defenders, and he made a nuisance of himself again from a high ball forward, almost playing in strike partner Tom Rogers, but Ryan Parisi used his strength well, and rolled the ball across his man before making the clearance.

A brief flurry of attacking just before the break bought faint hope that Leamington might make more of a game of it in the second half, and with Simon Travis replacing Parisi at the break, they certainly started the brighter of the two sides. Michael Tuohy sent a good cross in for Luke Corbett to head wide.

Liam Reynolds was replaced by Leon Broadhurst after picking up an injury making a challenge, and after a dreadfully scrappy period of play, the midfielder caused a few problems for the visiting defence, when he rose at the back post to loop a header towards goal from a Mark Bellingham cross, and the ball was heading for the back of the net until Grant Goodhead rushed in to head it behind. Broadhurst then struck a powerful shot from distance, but it was straight at Andrew Pryce.

Marcus Jackson tried his luck from distance, firing wide of the target on two occasions either side of a gilt edged chance for Tom Rogers, who should really have capitalised on more hesitancy in the Leamington defence, but he somehow fired his close range shot the wrong side of the post. Some cracking hold up play, and an equally good shot from Bellingham on the left bought no reward, with Pryce saving again, before Leon Broadhurst skipped through, as the Market Drayton defence left their keeper exposed for only time in the game, but having rounded Pryce, Broadhurst was left cursing his misfortune, as the ball cannoned back off the upright. The follow up shot from Bellingham was blocked.

As the game entered its final moments, the majority of an extremely disappointed New Windmill Ground crowd had already filed out of the stadium, and were not around to see Michael Tuohy blaze a shot high and wide from a good ball back by Husband. It is to be hoped that the last two performances are just a blip, and that confidence can be restored in time for the trip to Swindon Supermarine next Saturday, as the FA Cup hopes are consigned to the bottom drawer for another 12 months.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Ryan Parisi (Simon Travis, 46), Guy Sanders [C], Dan Pirvu, Jay Denny, Liam Reynolds (Leon Broadhurst, 56), Marcus Jackson, Luke Corbett (Mykel Beckley, 64), Mark Bellingham, James Husband.

Subs not used: Chris Murphy, Richard Anstiss.

Market Drayton Town: Andrew Pryce [C], Jason Francis, Gary Anslow, Jamie Haynes, Paul McMullen, Grant Goodhead, Nicky Porter, Duncan Horler, Tom Rogers (Steve McCormick, 83), Martyn Davies, Jay Lawrence (Matthew Biddle, 69).

Subs not used: Darren Beech, Andrew Spooner, Daniel Griffiths, Stuart Timmis, Kieran Garratt.

Attendance: 527. MotM James Husband..

2009-09-19 @ Hunts Copse, Swindon, Wiltshire Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Swindon Supermarine 3-2
Brakes back on track to sink Supermarine..

Changes to the starting line up bought a much improved showing, as Brakes snatched the points in an entertaining game at Hunts Copse, but there will still be concerns that the 'goals against' figures continue to increase. The home side were left to rue some very good chances to win the game, but Leamington were guilty themselves of missing good opportunities, and the goalscoring prowess of Mark Bellingham proved the difference between success and failure.

In all there were four changes to the starting line up, with Andy Gregory, Stuart Herlihy and Adam Cooper all making their first Premier Division starts, while Mykel Beckley replaced Luke Corbett up front. The pacy striker almost got on the score sheet in the opening moments, but his low drive was gathered by Supermarine keeper Matt Bulman.

Guy Sanders required treatment after going over on his ankle making a challenge in defence, but soldiered on admirably through the 90 minutes. The first real chance of the game fell to the home side, Alan Griffin rising to meet a pinpoint right wing cross and power a close range header towards goal, but he was thwarted by a fine reaction stop from Chris Kiely. Stuart Herlihy rose well for a Brakes corner, and headed over, and Mark Bellingham did the same from a high ball in from Michael Tuohy.

The best chance of the half for Leamington came when Tuohy slipped a ball into the box for James Husband, but the winger couldn't quite dig the ball out from under his feet enough to get a clear sight of goal, and with defenders in close proximity, he shot just over the bar. It was only in the final five minutes of the half that the goal action began. First blood was drawn by the home side on 41 minutes. Chris Kiely saved the initial shot , but the goal was unguarded as the ball was played into the centre to Alan Griffin, and he shot into the net off the leg of a Brakes defender.

There was barely time for Swindon to consolidate their lead before Leamington drew level two minutes later, Andy Gregory playing the pass through for Mark Bellingham on the left, and he drew Matt Bulman from his line before slotting the ball through the keeper's legs.

Leamington should have been in front within a minute of the restart, when good work down the left by Beckley saw him plant an inch perfect cross onto the head of his strike partner, but Bellingham directed it over the bar from close range. Swindon then applied the pressure in a good spell, which resulted in their second goal. Ashley Edenborough put the ball over from the right, and Alan Griffin headed across the goal mouth, trying to set up a team mate, but the ball was put behind by Adam Cooper. From the resulting corner, Sam Morris was left unmarked to put his side back in front.

Brakes were clearly struggling with the aerial threat posed by Supermarine, and the home side forced a string of corners as they looked to extend their lead. Jason Cadden decided to switch things around, and introduced Chris Murphy in place of Andy Gregory, who lasted for nearly an hour, and did well. Murphy had an immediate impact, seeing a shot blocked, and then playing Mark Bellingham into space on the left, and he crashed a low shot across Bulman into the far corner of the net to drag Leamington level again.

James Husband stabbed a shot in that was parried by Bulman, as Brakes looked to gain the upper hand for the first time in the game, but again it was Swindon who looked more likely to add a third, as substitute Mark Barnes missed a glorious chance with almost his first touch. Adam Cooper put in his usual no holds barred shift on his first start of the season, and was yellow carded for a flailing arm as he held his opponents at bay.

Swindon looked almost certain to score again as Alan Griffin got through on the left and moved across the penalty area, but instead of shooting himself, he squared the ball to his right to Barnes, but once again the substitute got his shot horribly wrong, and Leamington breathed a sigh of relief.

Another good chance went begging when the ball was played right across the goalmouth to substitute Joe Harris, who blazed his shot over, although in his defence, the angle was tight. These missed opportunities would cost the home side dearly though, as on 82 minutes, some brilliant hold up play by substitute Luke Corbett saw Mark Bellingham race clear, and despite the attentions of two defenders he place his shot between the legs of Matt Bulman for the second time in the game, and put Brakes in front.

Going in front seemed to galvanise Leamington, and they looked the stronger side in the final minutes. Bellingham set up Luke Corbett for a low strike at goal which was saved, but the closing minutes were not without some nail biting moments for the travelling support, as Griffin blazed wildly over from a good pass. There were further half chances for Husband and Broadhurst, and Bulman came racing out of his goal to deny Bellingham a fourth goal, before the final whistle sounded, to the delight of the Brakes support.

This performance was a world away from the previous Saturday. Desire and commitment was in evidence in all wearing the Gold and Black today, and although goals are still being conceded, the belief is back that these problems will be ironed out as the squad become more accustomed to this level of football.

Swindon Supermarine: Matt Bulman, Kyle Lapham (Seamus Kellaher, 84), Danny Allen, Sean Wood, Leigh Henry, Matthew Robinson [C], Ashley Edenborough, Sam Morris (Mark Barnes, 67), Alan Griffin, Chris Taylor, Nick Stanley (Joe Harris, 55).

Subs not used: Luke Hopper, Gary Horgan.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Guy Sanders [C], Adam Cooper, Andy Gregory (Chris Murphy, 59), Dan Pirvu, Stuart Herlihy (Marcus Jackson, 82), Leon Broadhurst, Mykel Beckley (Luke Corbett, 69), Mark Bellingham, James Husband.

Subs not used: Ryan Parisi, Richard Anstiss.

Attendance: 281. MotM Dan Pirvu .

2009-09-22 @ The New Windmill Ground Birmingham Senior Cup vs Bromsgrove Rovers 5-1
Leamington knocked Bromsgrove Rovers out of the Birmingham Senior cup.
Report by Paul Vanes

Leamington knocked Bromsgrove Rovers out of the Birmingham Senior cup with an “Old Five” in a hugely entertaining game played in front of a sparse crowd and gained some revenge for last season’s home defeat in the same competition. Manager Jason Cadden made several changes including giving the captain’s arm band to Adam Cooper in the absence of Guy Sanders who turned his ankle last Saturday.

Bromsgrove kicked off aided by the wind and an early free kick was over hit by J. Street and on 6 minutes Leamington took the lead when Mykel Beckley, in acres of space, picked up a through ball and placed it well wide of debutant keeper Steve Grogan with the Harbury Lane end fans cheering long before it hit the net. Within three minutes Luke Corbett doubled the lead curling a free kick into the top corner of the net giving Grogan no chance of saving. Rovers hit back and Gary Ray saw his shot deflected out of a corner and Chris Kiely held the header from Dan Hicks and that was followed on 15 minutes with a great free kick out on the right when an inswinging effort was hit with pace leaving the defender turned striker Jermiah Richards to get a faint touch that was enough to place the ball into the near corner of the net to reduce the arrears.

Grogan was the busier of the keepers as the game flowed from end to end saving low down then watching the ball whiz harmlessly across his six yard box. Brakes netted their third goal on 34 minutes when Corbett headed a free kick against the post and continued his run to slam home the rebound then came the pass of the match as Chris Murphy hit a long diagonal ball that Jimmy Husband brought under immediate control, out paced Street and his shot left Grogan with the task of getting the ball out of the net for the fourth time. Another cross from the right was only centimetres away from Corbett’s boot as he lunged for the ball. Bromsgrove came close when Ray hit a drive narrowly wide in the last action of the first half.

Kiely was beaten to the ball by Josh McKenzie but the keeper saved the shot with his legs and on 58 minutes, the marauding Marcus Jackson cut in along the right hand bye line before releasing the ball at head height which cut out the Rovers defence leaving Corbett to firmly plant his header back across goal and into the net obtaining his first Brakes hat trick. Leon Broadhurst was narrowly wide with a header from a cross on the left by Husband, at the other end Richards hit a shot that only just cleared the angle of post and bar before being substituted. Reis Ashraf replaced Corbett and Dan Pirvu came on for Stuart Herlihy as the game continued to flow.

Rovers almost had the last word on 88 minutes when Cameron Jones fired in a shot that was deflected high into the air and was dropping dangerously under the bar when Kiely back pedalled and got a firm hand to the ball to hoist it high over the bar for a fruitless corner.

Leamington – Chris Kiely; Chris Murphy; Simon Travis (46 Ryan Parisi); Adam Cooper; Andy Gregory; Marcus Jackson; Stuart Herlihy (75 Dan Pirvu); Leon Broadhurst; Mykel Beckley; Luke Corbett (63 Reis Ashraf); James Husband.
Unused subs – Mark Bellingham; Arthur Byrne.

Bromsgrove Rovers – Sam Grogan; J. Street; Rapinder Gill; Matt Gardiner; Dan Hicks; Marlon Walters (57 Cameron Jones); Paul Lloyd; Gary Ray (63 Danny Campbell); Jemiah Richards (69 Omar Spence); Josh McKenzie; Kevin Banner.
Unused subs – John Snape; Karl Lewis

Attendance 282

Reporters Man of the Match – so many good performances, the Mighty Atoms Jacko and Chris Murphy; Andy Gregory playing his first full 90 minutes of the season, Stuart Herlihy, hat trick Luke who will have to settle for the match ball instead. It has to be acting skipper Adam Cooper who stood up to a physical battering most of the night and appeared harshly booked for his pains.      MotM Adam Cooper.

2009-09-26 @ Keys Park, Hednesford. Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Hednesford Town 2-4

The positive vibes from the last two performances were blown away inside the first ten minutes of this fixture at the impressive Keys Park. It turned out to be another afternoon of defensive disappointment for Brakes, while Hednesford, coming off the back of a poor run of results, and the departure of manager Dean Edwards, handed caretaker manager Bernard McNally a massive boost in his first match in charge. This was a match littered with mistakes from both sides, but spoilt by some incredibly poor decision making from the match officials.

Leamington found themselves behind before they had chance to settle into the match. On 3 minutes a free kick was given away close to the right touch line in midfield. The ball was floated in to the near post by Elliott Durrell, and Ben Bailey had almost a free header, nodding the ball wide of Chris Kiely and into the far corner.

Things went from bad to worse on 7 minutes, as a hopeful ball played forward for Tyrone Barnett saw the striker somehow reach the ball unchallenged by the pursuing Guy Sanders and Andy Gregory, and he steered a weak looking effort wide of Kiely and into the same corner to double the Pitmen's lead. The home side were dragging Brakes all over the park every time they went forward, and Barnett headed a glorious chance wide when it looked easier to score.

Some meaty early exchanges bought the crowd to life, as Brakes tried to find a way back into the game. Leon Broadhurst received the ball inside the area, but could not find space to shoot. However, Mykel Beckley managed to fire in an effort which was deflected, and headed away from the line. No doubt buoyed by his first goal of the season against Bromsgrove on Tuesday, the striker went on a promising run down the left, but was forced wide.

Just past the half hour, Justin Nisbett was allowed to ghost in on the left unchallenged to bend a low drive into the far corner, to seemingly give the home side an unassailable advantage. Leamington had failed to seriously test home keeper Gavin Ward during the first half, despite a few efforts going off target. Mark Bellingham was doing well from the scraps he was being fed, and trying his best to bring team mates into play. He set up Michael Tuohy to put a good ball into the box on the right, but the cross was straight at Ward.

Elliott Durrell put another inviting ball right across the goalmouth which was missed by both Hednesford attackers, to spare Brakes from further misery before the break. Instead, the final goal of the half went in at the other end. Marcus Jackson won a free kick on the right edge of the Hednesford penalty area. Leon Broadhurst flighted the dead ball into a crowded six yard box, and Mark Bellingham rose highest to head home, and give Leamington a glimmer of hope going into the half time interval.

Simon Travis replaced Andy Gregory at the break, as Brakes looked to start the second half in a more determined fashion, but it was Kiely who made the first save, dropping low at his near post to save a low drive from Durrell.

There was certainly more to be seen of Leamington as an attacking force during this half, and on 58 minutes they were handed a lifeline when a Hednesford player handled inside the penalty area. Despite home skipper Richard Walker trying to unsettle the Brakes players by moving the ball off the spot, Leon Broadhurst stepped up to blast the ball past Gavin Ward and finally register his first goal for the club. The same player then tested Ward with a long range drive. Chris Kiely got down well to save a left wing free kick at his near post. The Brakes keeper then prevented an almost certain goal when he just got his fingertips to a right wing cross to prevent it reaching the head of Barnett at the back post.

James Husband tried his luck from distance, almost catching out Ward, who saw the shot late, and managed to punch the ball behind for a corner. Leamington were beginning to win some of the 50/50 balls in midfield, and Broadhurst did superbly to poke the ball out to Husband on the right as he fell to the ground, and the wing back drilled in a high ball towards the penalty area that was caught under his crossbar by Ward.

A right wing free kick to the far post provided Luke Corbett with an excellent chance, but the substitute was unable to direct his header at goal. Ross Dyer then looped a shot inches over the bar as he drifted in from the left. The Hednesford striker did not have to wait long for another chance though, and on 76 minutes he scored the goal the clinched the points. With the Brakes defence standing still, expecting an offside decision, Dyer took full advantage, and put the ball in from an acute angle on the left.

The closing minutes saw Brakes desparately trying to grab another goal which might have given them hope of snatching a draw, but it wasn't to be. Broadhurst saw another shot cleared away from the line, Bellingham glanced a back header wide, off the outside of a post, and then set up Corbett to head inches wide. Players from both sides were booked, as tempers frayed a little, but ultimately it was the first ten minutes of this game, and two well taken goals from the home side, that did for Brakes.

Hednesford Town: Gavin Ward, Sean Platt, Zak Martin, Richard Walker [C], Ben Bailey, Scott Lycett, Elliott Durrell, Sam Aiston, Tyrone Barnett, Ross Dyer (Aaron Gibson, 87), Justin Nisbett (Adam Overton, 65)

Subs not used: Nick Amos, Liam Flynn, Mark Bandurak.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Guy Sanders [C], Adam Cooper, Andy Gregory (Simon Travis, 46), Marcus Jackson (Chris Murphy, 73), Stuart Herlihy, Leon Broadhurst, Mykel Beckley (Luke Corbett, 60), Mark Bellingham, James Husband.

Richard Anstiss, Liam Reynolds.

Attendance: 475. MotM Mark Bellingham.

2009-10-03 @ The New Windmill Ground Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Clevedon Town 0-1

Brakes produced another poor showing at the New Windmill Ground against a Clevedon Town side who stopped them from playing, and with a bit more sharpness up front, may well have defeated them by more than a single goal. A strong wind whipped across the neighbouring fields, and howled around the ground all afternoon, making the conditions very difficult. The fact that the players continued to try and play high balls into the the wind, throughout the second half, was confusing to say the least.

Mark Bellingham placed an early header wide of the target, while Clevedon skipper Danny Wring was wide of the mark with a free kick. Chris Kiely was forced into the first real save of the game, diving low to his left to push a shot away, but the ball should never have been allowed to reach the attacking player in the first place, as the defence made a mess of clearing their lines.

Further hesitancy let in the visitors for two successive corners, but Brakes pushed up field from the second. Stuart Herlihy drove forward and cracked a good effort wide of the far post. Lee Molyneaux headed wide for Clevedon from another corner, before they went in front on 24 minutes. Not for the first time in the game, no Leamington player seemed able to get a foot to the ball and move it clear, and this resulted in the inevitable conclusion. Kiely was forced to come off his line to try and narrow the angles, but the ball was played past him by Aaron Blakemore, and Simon Travis, trying desparately to get back and clear, could only help it into the net.

Chris Murphy saw a low shot put behind for a corner, but Brakes were simply not testing visiting keeper Danny Greaves at all, and when Clevedon went forward, they looked far more likely to score. A shot flew inches over the bar from the left as yet again, the ball was not cleared when there were several opportunities to do so.

An almighty scramble on the Clevedon goal line, right on half time, did not bring any luck for Leamington, as the visitors eventually got the ball away from danger. Chris Kiely was forced to push an early second half cross away from his goal at the back post, with Tom Billing waiting to pounce on any slip up.

There was little action of any note until the final quarter of the game, when Brakes attempted to put some pressure on their visitors. James Husband was bought down on the left edge of the area. Mykel Beckley curled his free kick on target, but straight at Danny Greaves. Mark Bellingham looked to be in with half a chance when Chris Murphy curled a ball into his path that was missed by the Clevedon defence, but Greaves darted off his line to get to the ball first.

A late free kick into the area just about summed up Brakes' fortunes in the last couple of games, as the ball bounced off the backs of two gold and black shirted players, before being cleared.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Simon Travis, Adam Cooper, Guy Sanders [C], Liam Reynolds (Chris Murphy, 23), Stuart Herlihy (Marcus Jackson, 68), Leon Broadhurst, Mykel Beckley (Reis Ashraf, 72), Mark Bellingham, James Husband.

Subs not used: Andy Gregory, Richard Anstiss.

Clevedon Town: Danny Greaves, Callum Fisher (Pete Sheppard, 78), Matthew Walsh, Lee Molyneaux, Ben Evans, Ellis Wilmot, Aaron Blakemore (Joey Evans, 68), Craig Loxton, Tom Billing, Sean Seavill, Danny Wring [C] (Greg Coombes, 78).

Sub not used: Sam Main.

Attendance: 564. MotM Marcus Jackson looked bright in the short time he was on the pitch. .

2009-10-10 @ The Grove, Halesowen, West Midlands Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Halesowen Town 0-3

A promising first half showing ultimately counted for nothing, as Brakes poor recent run continued. There was much to be optimistic about during the half time break, after an entertaining first half which saw both sides evenly matched. However, the introduction of former Nuneaton Town striker David Blenkinsopp swung the game in favour of the Yeltz, as he opened his account for them with two goals.

An early free kick given away by Henry Eze on the right presented Brakes with an opportunity from a free kick, which Luke Corbett was inches away from heading in at the back post. Eze headed his side's first chance well over the bar from a corner kick. Leamington certainly started the brighter of the two sides, but Halesowen looked to their front two to provide their main threat, and former Aston Villa striker Stefan Moore tested Chris Kiely with a stinging low drive when the ball was played through to him, but although the ball got past the Brakes keeper, he got a strong hand to it to prevent it from reaching goal.

Although much of the early part of the game was played out in midfield, it eventually began to open up, with some absorbing battles being played out all over the pitch. Both defences were holding firm until the final quarter of the half. Former Brakes winger Tom Bates moved to Halesowen during the summer, and he set up his captain Scott Rickards, but Kiely was behind his low drive all the way. A curling effort from distance by Leon Broadhurst lacked the power to trouble Nick Bussey in the Yeltz goal, and Chris Kiely was certainly the busier of the two keepers, as he stretched to push a deflected cross away from danger. Simon Johnson cut in dangerously from the right, but shot straight at the Brakes keeper. Luke Corbett did well to control the ball before sending a dipping volley towards goal, but again it lacked power, and Bussey saved easily.

Despite this, Brakes had performed well, and looked far more solid than the previous Saturday. Wayne Blossom slotted into the defence well, and played the ball about with confidence. Andy Gregory had a fine first half, along with Michael Tuohy, who showed a willingness to get forward and try and support the strikers. Marcus Jackson was putting in his usual tenacious shift, and Chris Kiely was dealing calmly with anything that was thrown at him.

There was an early scare in the second half, as Kiely was forced to push a dangerous free kick from Bates around the post. Michael Tuohy joined the attack as Brakes pushed forward, and evaded a couple of challenges before firing in a well struck effort that was saved by Bussey. On 54 minutes, David Blenkinsopp was introduced for Halesowen, and it could be argued that this move turned the game in their favour. Johnson put a shot inches wide of the right hand post, and the home crowd suddenly upped the decibel levels a notch. Stefan Moore stretched to head a cross over from Rickards, and Tom Breward also headed over the bar.

Ten minutes after coming on, Blenkinsopp scored his first of the game, and his first for Halesowen, when he just beat Blossom to a low left wing cross, nicking the ball past Kiely to put his side in front. Leamington forced a corner, and Wayne Blossom launched himself into a header at goal, which was just deflected over. Mark Bellingham, who had little joy in front of goal all afternoon, shot wide, before Blenkinsopp doubled Halesowen's advantage with little over 15 minutes to play. There were claims of offside as the striker drifted in past two defenders from the left before placing his shot wide of Kiely.

The home side were buoyant now as Brakes began to tire, and Blenkinsopp played a good pass through for Simon Johnson, who skipped past one challenge and fired in a shot, but Chris Kiely was equal to it and saved well. Michael Tuohy had another good effort for Leamington, but unfortunately it was straight at Bussey.

Tom Bates no doubt enjoyed turning the screw on his former club when he scored the third and final goal with 9 minutes left. He was afforded acres of space on the left, and slotted a low shot under Kiely to seal the three points. Leamington's best effort of the game came with minutes left on the clock, Stuart Herlihy pouncing on a loose ball to curl in a fine effort that forced Nick Bussey to push the ball over his crossbar. A disappointing second half to a performance which had looked promising, at half time.

Halesowen Town: Nick Bussey, Craig Connor(Jamie Smith, 79), Dennis Pearce (David Blenkinsopp, 54), Henry Eze, Jamie Hood, Tom Breward (Paul O'Brien, 85), Tom Bates, Scott Rickards [C], Stefan Moore, Simon Johnson, Aaron Griffiths.

Subs not used: Michael Teji, Roland Agbor.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Guy Sanders, Andy Gregory (Josh Blake, 79), Wayne Blossom, Marcus Jackson, Stuart Herlihy, Leon Broadhurst, Luke Corbett (Darren Middleton, 63), Mark Bellingham, James Husband (Chris Murphy, 88)

Subs not used: Liam Reynolds, Richard Anstiss.

Attendance: 606. MotM Michael Tuohy..

2009-10-18 @ The New Windmill Ground FA Trophy vs Stourbridge 1-2
Glassboys shatter Brakes Trophy ambitions
Saturday October 17th, 2009

On an emotional afternoon when Morton Titterton, Paul Eden, Keith Orme, Natalie Wilson and Richard Anstiss all said farewell to the club, it was unfortunate that Brakes had to be facing the side they just cannot seem to beat. Seven times now, Stourbridge have emerged from various clashes victorious, since we first faced them again, back in 2005, and all by the same scoreline, bar one. In past games, Leamington have been unfortunate not to take anything from the game, and this one could be included in that bracket, as the players strived to give their best for Morton, in his one and only game in charge.

Mark Bellingham lined up against his previous club for the first time, and he was at the centre of the early Brakes attacks, firstly having an early shot at goal from a very tight angle, and then crossing for Luke Corbett to direct a header straight into the hands of the grateful Stuart Brock in the visitors goal.

Aaron Drake stretched to direct a header at goal from a left wing cross for the Glassboys, which Chris Kiely was able to claim with ease. Sean Evans was then bought down in an advanced position just outside the penalty area, but Drew Canavan blasted the resulting free kick high and wide. Leamington continued to create the better openings, and Bellingham looked to be in with a real chance as he wriggled clear inside the area, but he delayed with his shot and the opportunity was lost.

On 11 minutes the visitors went in front. Aaron Drake was afforded acres of space on the right, and he advanced into the penalty area unchallenged, and took his time before shooting past Chris Kiely. Undeterred by this, Leamington continued to ask questions of the Stourbridge defence, but were unable to really test Stuart Brock. Bellingham saw a cross-shot deflected onto the top of the crossbar, and Luke Corbett screamed at the assistant referee in frustration when he failed to raise his flag to a possible handball by Nathan Bennett as the two players fought for the ball inside the penalty area. This was the first of several decisions that enraged the crowd during the afternoon.

James Husband played Mark Bellingham in at the near post on the left, and despite the angle again being very acute, the striker got his shot away, and Brock just managed to keep hold of the ball. An excellent turn by the same player came to nothing, as Bellingham miscued his shot. Brakes continued to keep the pressure on, forcing a couple of corners which came to nothing.

Chris Kiely was almost caught out as he waited for the ball to reach him on the edge of his penalty area. He failed to get a shout from a team mate, and Sean Evans nipped in to steal the ball away from him, but the young keeper recovered well to block the shot, and then claim the resulting ball back into the area. However, he was helpless minutes later to prevent the same player from scoring, as Evans broke clear, rode a tackle from Adam Cooper, and slipped the ball into the net to double his side's advantage. Drake could have made things even worse for Leamington as he was played in by Evans on the right, but Kiely saved well.

Brakes started the second half with more purpose, Marcus Jackson shooting over. Mark Bellingham put a tame shot wide from a good looking position, but he was far more clinical with his next attempt at goal, as Andy Gregory slung over a fine right wing centre for him to glance a header past Brock and halve the deficit.

This bought a spark to Leamington's performance, and Bellingham held the ball up intelligently in the next attack, laying it back to James Husband on the edge of the area, whose first time effort was grabbed at the second attempt by Brock. Marcus Jackson turned away from two markers in midfield and showed a fine turn of pace, but Brock saved his low drive at the near post.

Brakes should have been level when Luke Corbett headed Liam Reynolds' cross agonisingly the wrong side of the post. Bellingham tried to play a dangerous pass into a crowded penalty area, but it was behind all those in Gold and Black, and Stourbridge were able to clear. The visitors threatened little during the second half, but rode the brief storm to see out the tie, and their passage to the next round. Stuart Herlihy was captain for the game, and was harshly booked, as was Michael Tuohy.

Morton Titterton was philosophical, saying, 'Today was typical. I admire the character of the side, and the second half performance was good, but ultimately, we're too easy to beat, and that was demonstrated by the two goals we conceded in the first half. Teams don't have to work hard enough to score goals against us. When we concede bad goals, week in week out, we're going to struggle until we can solve that problem.' Gary Hackett was understandably happy that his side had gone through, saying 'It was a very open game, and I was pleased with the way we performed in the first half, but fair play to Leamington, they were bold with their formation in the second half, and we were hanging on, but we've come away from home in the FA Trophy, to a big club, and we're through, so I'm delighted, but in some ways I felt that we should have played better.'

Brakes will be up against a familiar face next Saturday, as Richard Morris returns to the New Windmill Ground with Brackley Town, who also have our former top scorer Ben Mackey in their ranks.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Wayne Blossom (Chris Murphy, 60), Stuart Herlihy [C], Adam Cooper, Andy Gregory (Mykel Beckley, 86), Marcus Jackson (Darren Middleton, 75), Liam Reynolds, Luke Corbett, Mark Bellingham, James Husband.

Subs not used: Josh Blake, Richard Anstiss.

Stourbridge: Stuart Brock, Aaron Drake Linden Dovey, 64), Alex Cowley, Sam Smith, Drew Canavan, Nathan Bennett, Craig Slater [C], James Dyson, Ryan Rowe (Damion Jarrett, 76), Ben Billingham, Sean Evans.

Subs not used: Ross Collins, Nathan Broadhurst, Jon Ford.

Attendance: 615. MotM Liam Reynolds.

2009-10-25 @ The New Windmill Ground Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Brackley Town 2-1
Welsh Dragons help breath fire into Brakes
Saturday October 24th, 2009.

Wayne Powell's first game of his spell as Caretaker Manager produced the kind of performance that we know our team is capable of. After 4 straight defeats, the confidence oozed back into the side, as they built on a promising opening spell with two quick goals which ultimately won the game.

The return of Richard Morris and Ben Mackey to the New Windmill with an in form Brackley side was a daunting prospect, but it was Leamington who made the brighter start to the game, kicking towards the North Bank with the strong wind and late afternoon sun at their backs. Wayne Blossom, facing the club he recently left for Brakes, crossed from the left for Luke Corbett, who turned well but could not get any power behind his effort, and Morris was able to claim with ease. The visitors sent a shot high over the Harbury Lane End goal as they struggled to make any impression in the opening quarter of an hour.

The first goal came about thanks to a defensive slip and impressive perseverance from Luke Corbett, who had chased the ball into the box, and was able to take advantage, steering his shot inside the near post past his former team mate to put Leamington in front. The goal lifted the team and the fans, and there was more to come. Within two minutes, the lead had doubled. Mark Bellingham, out in the wide left position, attempted to send a cross into the middle for Chris Murphy, only for the ball to take a wicked deflection off a Brackley defender, sending it looping over the head of Richard Morris and into the far corner of the net.

Luck was something that seemed to have deserted Brakes in recent weeks, and while the nature of the second goal was fortunate, it gave the team fresh impetus to go on and dominate the rest of the half. Corbett was close to a second goal when he twisted and turned in the box to make room for a shot, and sent it agonisingly wide of the far post, with Bellingham almost getting a touch to divert it in. The front two then combined again, Bellingham sending in an excellent cross from the left wing which Corbett controlled superbly, but he was forced to volley a first time effort on goal, and it dropped inches wide of the far post again.

It was clear that having a new face in the side who had not experienced the past few weeks, was helping enormously, and Nathan Davies was having a storming debut, challenging for every ball and galvanising his new team mates into action. The gap between midfield and defence that had to led to so many goals being conceded was also missing, and the players were all battling for each other, boosted by the new found confidence that the goals had given. Brackley were being limited to hopeful attacks, and even the strikers were back in defence helping out.

Stuart Herlihy put in his usual powerhouse performance, and was bought down on the left side of the area, presenting Brakes with a free kick opportunity that Luke Corbett curled just over the bar. However, although the visitors had had few sights of goal, the quality of the front players in their side meant that one slip could be punished, and Ben Mackey showed exactly the kind of prowess that Brakes fans were used to during his two seasons with us, when he pounced on a high ball into the box and controlled it before firing past Chris Kiely, four minutes before the break. Things almost went from bad to worse for Leamington, as Michael Tuohy sold Chris Kiely short with a back pass, and gave away a corner, from which Chris Wilmott rose superbly at the back post, but headed just wide. There was still time for Mark Bellingham to have an effort deflected wide before the half time whistle.

Nathan Davies was forced off the pitch for treatment early in the second half after a blow to the nose, but quickly returned to show his commitment to the cause. The Referee appeared to have rather a one eyed view of the game with regard to bad challenges, as he kept his cards in his pocket after several challenges that left Brakes players on the deck, but then booked Luke Corbett for throwing the ball back to Richard Morris for a free kick to be taken in the correct position, and also Michael Tuohy later in the game, for a challenge that was no worse than some that had gone unpunished earlier on.

Corbett sent an inviting ball across the six yard box that was played to safety, before Chris Kiely was almost left red faced as he failed to win possession way out of position on the left, and Ben Mackey advanced menacingly before flashing his shot wide of the far post. The visitors mounted some early second half pressure, but it was Leamington who came closest to adding to the scoring, when some excellent battling play by Nathan Davies led to him lifting in a good cross for Mark Bellingham, who saw his header bounce off the top of the crossbar.

Brackley then tested Chris Kiely, and after his earlier error, the young keeper grew in stature, with two fine saves. First he sprang across his goal to save a header from Mark Rawle, and then when Jamie Gould fired in a low effort from distance, despite seeing it late, Kiely flung himself across goal to push the ball behind. Elliott Sandy then curled a good effort over the bar for Brackley.

There were late chances for Brakes to extend their lead, Chris Murphy almost wrong footing Richard Morris with a low shot that was saved with a leg, and the left winger then played Mark Bellingham in, and the striker looked to be in with a chance but was dispossessed. Leamington battled well to see out the final minutes, and the relief around the ground, from players to supporters, was evident at the final whistle. On and off the pitch, everyone had upped their game to produce a positive result.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Wayne Blossom, Andy Gregory, Adam Cooper, Stuart Herlihy, Marcus Jackson, Nathan Davies, Luke Corbett, Mark Bellingham [C], Chris Murphy.

Subs not used: Liam Reynolds, Simon Travis, Mykel Beckley, Ryan Parisi, Arthur Byrne.

Brackley Town: Richard Morris, Josh Green Jamie Gould, 46), Calum Burgess, Jon Brady (Elliott Sandy, 72), Craig McIlwain, Chris Wilmott, Jerome Anderson (Ollie Burgess, 75), David Joyce, Mark Rawle, Ben Mackey, Tom Winters.

Subs not used: Ross Oulton, Jack Goode.

Attendance: 651. MotM Nathan Davies - A fine debut performance. .

2009-10-28 @ Keys Park, Hednesford, Staffordshire Red Insure Cup Round 1 vs Hednesford Town 3-4
Pitmen edge out Brakes after extra time

Tuesday October 27th, 2009.

Brakes produced a performance that, in spells, matched that of Saturday, but were ultimately undone by a Hednesford side who grabbed two well constructed goals in extra time, to end our interest in another cup competition at the first hurdle. Wayne Powell was forced to make two changes to the side that had defeated Brackley Town. Nathan Davies had picked up a ankle knock during that game, and wasn't risked, while Stuart Herlihy was delayed getting to Keys Park, which saw Liam Reynolds step up from the bench, Wayne Blossom move into midfield, Simon Travis filling the defensive slot.

Brakes were unfortunate not to be in front inside the opening minutes. Mark Bellingham got the better of two defenders on the edge of the area to roll a low shot past the diving Gavin Ward, who was no doubt mightily relieved to see the ball bounce off the post and into his hands. The home side then had several half chances, but were simply not being afforded the time and space that they had been in the league encounter here. Leamington defended stoutly, giving the Pitmen little time to settle on the ball, in a competitive opening half.

Towards the end of the half, Leamington enjoyed a good spell of pressure on the home defence. Chris Murphy shot over from distance, and Liam Reynolds saw two headers from Simon Travis corner kicks cleared away from the goal line. As half time loomed, Gavin Ward made an excellent stop with his face from Mark Bellingham , but Brakes kept possession, the ball was played back in from the left, and this time Bellingham made no mistake, heading past Ward to give Brakes a deserved lead.

Hednesford began the second half on the front foot, and equalised after 50 minutes, Luke Chapman firing in a shot from an acute angle on the left that appeared to take a deflection as it ended up in the far corner of the net. Chris Kiely then made a cracking save from Zak Martin's powerful drive from outside the area. Fellow defender Steve Jagielka then pushed up field and had a shot of his own, but Kiely was equal to it, dropping down quickly to save. Hednesford moved in front just after the hour. With Brakes expecting an offside flag as Tyrone Barnett was played through, the striker slotted his shot past Kiely.

Brakes responded, and Bellingham saw a fierce first time drive pushed behind by Ward, before the keeper had a somewhat easier save to make, as Bellingham headed a Marcus Jackson cross straight at him. The next cross from the terrier like midfielder almost dropped into the net at the far post, Ward stretching to push the ball over his crossbar. Another cross into the danger area struck Bellingham, before being cleared. Leamington continued to work hard for an opening that might get them back into the game, and it arrived with 9 minutes to play. Some excellent skill inside the area on the left by Luke Corbett saw him send a high ball to the far post that was nodded back across goal by Liam Reynolds, and Mark Bellingham was there to help it over the line from close range, with the home side claiming a handball. Substitute Mykel Beckley saw a deflected effort saved, but with neither side able to snatch a winner, the tie moved into extra time.

Hednesford moved in front two minutes in, the first of two goals that would ultimately win them the game. Ross Dyer was played through, and although Chris Kiely tried to narrow the angles, he was beaten by the shot. Liam Reynolds saw a shot deflected inches over the bar at the other end, and Tyrone Barnett was almost gifted his second goal of the game when he took advantage of a misunderstanding between Chris Kiely and Simon Travis to nip in and steal the ball, but fortunately for the duo Andy Gregory was on hand to put the ball out of play.

Kiely then stretched to save a header from Ross Dyer, and Gavin Ward was back in action at the opposite end, saving first from Wayne Blossom inside the area, and blocking the follow up drive from Marcus Jackson. However, Brakes were punished for failing to get the ball clear as Hednesford attacked down the left, and it was cut back for Elliott Durrell to find the corner, prompting an unnecessary celebration in front of the noisy band of away followers in the terrace.

In the second period of extra time, Leamington were handed a lifeline when they were a awarded a dubious penalty for handball, and despite Gavin Ward using all his experience of the professional game to delay the spot kick for as long as possible, he was picking the ball out of the net, as an unruffled Luke Corbett hammered the ball past him.

The game continued to flow from end to end, which was credit to both sides, but Brakes failed to unduly trouble Gavin Ward again, save for an overhead effort from Blossom that was deflected behind, and despite putting in a spirited display, they were left to rue another disappointing night in terms of the goals conceded.

Hednesford Town: Gavin Ward, Sean Platt, Zak Martin, Steve Jagielka, Ben Bailey, Luke Chapman, Elliott Durrell, Sam Aiston, Tyrone Barnett, Ross Dyer [C], Luke Horrocks.

Substitutes: Scott Lycett, Liam Flynn, Aaron Gibson, Adam Overton, Richard Walker.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Simon Travis, Andrew Gregory, Adam Cooper, Wayne Blossom, Marcus Jackson, Liam Reynolds, Luke Corbett, Mark Bellingham [C], Chris Murphy (Mykel Beckley,70).

Substitutes: Nathan Davies, Arthur Byrne, Stuart Herlihy, Ryan Parisi.

Attendance: 265. MotM Wayne Blossom..

2009-10-31 @ The New Windmill Ground Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Didcot Town 3-5
Halloween horror show for Brakes

There can be no denying that most of the games we have witnessed at the New Windmill Ground this season have been eventful, and this one was no exception. The disappointment was that it was the visiting fans who travelled home happy, while Brakes fans were left to mull over another 5 goals conceded, and with a tough month of fixtures ahead, wondering where the next points will come from.

With the squad decimated further by injuries to Andy Gregory and Chris Murphy in midweek, defender Dale Peckham was drafted in from Clevedon Town on an emergency loan deal as cover. Stuart Herlihy and Nathan Davies returned to the starting line up.

Ian Sampson flicked an early header just wide for the visitors, and then thrashed a shot wildly over the bar after having the ball rolled out to him in a great position just outside the box. Simon Travis fired over the bar for Leamington after winning possession on the edge of the box. Mark Bellingham was in the thick of the attack as usual, and fired a shot just wide. He did not have to wait long for his goal, as some fine work by strike partner Luke Corbett on the right saw the ball pulled back from the touchline for Bellingham to head home from close range.

Corbett himself was unfortunate not to score moments later, as Nathan Davies surged forward from midfield, playing a pass through on the right, and the shot struck the outside of the post. Brakes were on top in the opening quarter, and were denied again when a clearing header by keeper Matt Trott landed at the feet of Simon Travis, who sent a first time effort towards goal, only to see it cleared off the line. Travis had the ball in the net shortly after this, but had already been flagged offside.

Jordan Tabor struck the top of the bar with a free kick for the visitors before they stunned Brakes with 3 goals before half time. First, Mark Draycott appeared to wrong foot Chris Kiely to score with ease on 25 minutes. Two minutes later, his strike partner Michael Bartley was on hand to stab home after Chris Kiely could only parry a long range shot into his path.

Brakes' front two were still taking up good positions and working hard to create chances. Luke Corbett shot just wide after some good pressure, but Didcot moved further in front on 39 minutes, Bartley was played clean through with the defence static, and finished past Kiely. There was some confusion at first as to whether or not the goal stood, as the assistant had his flag raised, but the Referee overruled him, to the fury of the home support.

Leamington emerged from the dressing room fired up for the second half, and Trott pushed a stinging drive from Marcus Jackson over his crossbar early on. On 52 minutes, Stuart Herlihy was impeded 25 yards out on the right, and Mark Bellingham bent a powerful low free kick around the wall and into the corner of the net, to drag his side back into the game.

Brakes were denied several times by borderline offside decisions as they poured forward in search of the equaliser, which only served to fire up the home crowd. Just past the hour, they were back on level terms. Simon Travis played the ball into space up the left, and Mark Bellingham did the rest, sprinting into the area and slotting past the advancing keeper.

Leamington clearly held the initiative at this point, but any hopes they had of building on it were shattered, when Dale Peckham was shown a straight red card for preventing Michael Bartley from getting away from him as he bore down on goal. The striker fell under Chris Kiely's attempted challenge, but the initial misdemeanour had taken place outside the box, for which debutant Peckham paid the price. The free kick struck the defensive wall, but it was not long before the 10 men fell behind, with Bartley taking advantage of the defensive confusion to strike home a hat trick goal of his own.

Leamington still looked capable of getting back into the game, Luke Corbett firing a quick shot on the turn just wide from a free kick, but with time running out, Didcot sealed their victory with the goal of the game, Ian Sampson curling a shot beyond the reach of Kiely into the far corner. The frustration became too much for Marcus Jackson, who became the second player to see red, for apparently raising his arm to Sampson as they tussled for the ball on the left.

To highlight the topsy turvy nature of this contest, with a little more luck Brakes could perhaps have salvaged a draw from this desperate defeat. Either side of Jackson's dismissal, substitute Josh Blake hit the post twice, first from a header which he really should have scored, the second from a shot inside the area. However, a point would not have masked the obvious problems that exist in defence. With injuries and now suspensions set to rob the team of key players still further, it is difficult to see what can be done to stem the tide. There are some huge challenges on the horizon, and the team will need all the support they can get.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, Wayne Blossom, Dale Peckham, Adam Cooper, Stuart Herlihy (Liam Reynolds, 87), Marcus Jackson, Nathan Davies, Luke Corbett (Josh Blake, 81) Mark Bellingham, Simon Travis.

Subs not used: Mykel Beckley, Ryan Parisi, Arthur Byrne.

Didcot Town Matt Trott, Jamie Heapy [C], Matty Jack (Michael Hopkins, 64), Alex Stockinger (James Mortimer-Jones, 59), Martin Brown, Alex Stanley, Ian Sampson, Jordan Tabor (Jason Costello, 59), Michael Bartley, Mark Draycott, Phillip John.

Subs not used: Michael Hopkins, Morgan Williams, Chris Harper.

Referee: Mr A Barney.

Assistant Referees: Mr D Bullen & Mr D Styles.

Attendance: 551. MotM Simon Travis .

2009-11-07 @ The New Windmill Ground Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Truro City 1-3

With the announcement of a new manager imminent, this was widely expected to be Wayne Powell's final game in caretaker charge of Leamington, and it ended with a third defeat in four games.

Truro City's rise up the divisions over the last few seasons has mirrored that of our own, and it was easy to see why they are up there with the front runners, as they put in a thoroughly professional performance, and had the answers to virtually anything that Brakes threw at them.

Goalkeeper Ryan Northmore was drafted in late on to replace Chris Kiely, and the lack of an understanding with his new team mates was evident, as a simple ball across the penalty area was not cut out, leaving Andy Taylor with the simple task of finding the net on 2 minutes. Ryan Parisi put in a superb challenge to prevent Les Afful from crossing from a dangerous position inside the area, but it was not long before the defence was exposed again, and Taylor was able to find Afful with a simple cut back from the right, and the striker found the far corner.

Leamington began to show signs of recovery after their shaky start to the game, but despite some promising forward movement, and hard working displays from the likes of Michael Tuohy, Luke Corbett and Chris Murphy, they simply could not find a way past a very organised and well drilled Truro side. Corbett won a free kick on the left edge of the penalty area which he took himself, but it was straight at keeper Martin Rice. This was the only real shot on target during the first half, as the visitors defended in depth whenever they did not have possession, which made life very difficult for Brakes.

Josh Blake headed a dangerous cross away from goal early in the second half, as Truro forced a couple of early corners, but it was Leamington who made the early breakthrough, halving the deficit through top scorer Mark Bellingham. Chris Murphy picked up possession deep inside the Leamington half from a Truro attack and surged forward, finding Michael Tuohy on the right. Arran Pugh slipped as he won the ball, allowing Tuohy to continue his run, and find Bellingham inside the area, and he showed excellent close control before slotting the ball past Rice.

Luke Corbett scored what looked like a perfectly legitimate equalising goal some minutes later, as he slid in with a defender and the keeper to meet Bellingham's low cross, the ball rolling slowly over the goal line, but as is usually the case, the officials blew for a foul on the goalkeeper, even though Corbett made no contact with him at all.

Stuart Herlihy shot wide as a revitalised Leamington pushed forward in their best spell of the game. They applied more pressure on the Truro defence, but were just unable to find the finishing touch, as the visitors stood firm. However, on 64 minutes, Truro won a penalty, which was confidently dispatched by Barry McConnell to restore their two goal advantage.

Michael Tuohy continued to push forward, and lashed a half clearance just wide. Truro substitute Joe Broad went even closer with a first time effort after a corner kick was headed out to him. The visitors were able to see out the remainder of the game without any real problems, as Brakes slipped to another home defeat. The seven days between this game and the next fixture at Cambridge City, will be vitally important, as the supporters await news of the appointment that will hopefully ensure stability and an upturn in results.

Leamington: Ryan Northmore, Michael Tuohy, Ryan Parisi, Andrew Gregory, Adam Cooper, Stuart Herlihy (Liam Reynolds, 77), Chris Murphy, Nathan Davies, Luke Corbett, Mark Bellingham, Josh Blake (Mykel Beckley, 74).

Subs not used: Dale Peckham, Reis Ashraf, Arthur Byrne.

Truro City: Martin Rice, Barry McConnell, Lee Hodges, Arran Pugh, Santos Gaia, Steve Adams, Andy Taylor, Marcus Martin [C], Stewart Yetton (Andy Watkins, 69), Les Afful (Joe Broad, 69), Scott Walker.

Subs not used: Shane White, Graeme Power, Tom Brooks.

Referee: Mr C Husband.

Assistant Referees: Mr R Thomas & Mr P Tyler.

Attendance: 640. MotM Michael Tuohy.

2009-11-14 @ The City Ground, Milton Road, Cambridge. Zamareto League Premier Division vs Cambridge City 2-2
Brakes boss bags point in first game in charge

Paul Holleran's first match in charge saw Brakes earn a point from an entertaining contest at Milton Road against unbeaten Cambridge City. Having gone in front twice, Leamington were pegged back, but recovered in the second half to earn a share of the spoils.

The opening period was end to end, with neither side creating any clear cut goal scoring chances, but Brakes were first to go close when Luke Corbett's shot was not collected by keeper Zac Barrett, with his defence also failing to clear. Mark Bellingham nipped in and saw his shot blocked out for a corner. Stuart Herlihy and Corbett both saw headers travel wide of goal, and Herlihy also had a shot saved.

The home side came close to breaking the deadlock when a cross from the left was headed back into the goalmouth by Steve Gentle, and a combination of John Frendo and Guy Sanders attempting to clear, saw the ball cannon back off the angle of bar and post. Tom Pepper shot well over the bar, before Brakes moved in front in somewhat fortunate circumstances with a little over half an hour played. Credit to Mark Bellingham for his perseverance in chasing a through ball that he did not look likely to win, but the mark of an expert goalscorer is being able to capitalise on the slightest mistake. Zac Barrett completely missed his clearing kick, leaving Bellingham to find an empty net from the edge of the area.

Cambridge thought they had levelled soon afterwards, but were thwarted by an offside decision which took a while to be made clear. However, they were only behind for six minutes, as Steve Gentle showed similar instincts to those of Bellingham, pouncing to smash the ball in from close range as the Brakes defence failed to clear their lines.

Leamington provided the perfect response to the new team in the dugout, regaining the advantage within two minutes. Bellingham turned provider, feeding Luke Corbett with a precise through pass to give his strike partner a run at goal. Despite having two defenders for company, Corbett held on to the ball and slipped his shot past the advancing Barrett.

Cambridge came out all guns blazing after the interval, and wasted little time getting back on level terms. Tony Burke played in Steve Gentle on the right, and his cross found John Frendo, who had time to place his shot, which was well saved by debutant keeper Tony Breeden, the loose ball being hacked clear. Gentle then rose high above the Brakes defence to head home his side's equaliser from a left wing cross.

Frendo was unfortunate to see his diving header zip the wrong side of the post, as the Lilywhites continued to put Leamington under pressure. However, Brakes rode the storm, and gradually eased their way back into the game. Luke Corbett saw a shot deflected wide from Mark Bellingham's header, and Stuart Herlihy saw another effort travel wide.

Tony Breeden demonstrated why he has been bought to the club when he made a superb reaction save from a close range effort to prevent an almost certain third goal for Cambridge, having parried the initial shot from outside the area. The home side continued to break well down both wings, and a great ball in from the left evaded everyone in a crowded penalty area.

Brakes had possibly the best chance to win the game, when the returning James Husband crossed from the left for Luke Corbett to clatter the crossbar with a header. The ball dropped back towards goal, and was desparately headed behind by a defender.

Half hearted appeals for a penalty from the home side were waved away by the Referee, before Laurie Stewart headed over from a good position. A late corner for Leamington saw new player/coach Richard Beale have two shots blocked, but both sides deserved to take something from this game.

Cambridge City: Zac Barrett, Tom Pepper, James Krause, Laurie Stewart, Dave Theobold, Robbie Nightingale, Tony Burke (Pat Bexfield, 77), John Frendo (Matt Batt, 87), Steve Gentle (Chris Arthur, 68), Neil Midgley [C], Ashley Fuller.

Subs not used: Craig Radcliffe, Matt Mitchell.

Leamington: Tony Breeden, Adam Cooper, James Husband (Richard Beale, 85), Andy Gregory, Guy Sanders [C], Gary Knight, Chris Murphy, Stuart Herlihy, Luke Corbett, Mark Bellingham (Josh Blake, 88), Liam Reynolds.

Subs not used: Ryan Parisi, Reis Ashraf, Chris Kiely.

Referee: Sean Feerick.

Assistant Referees: Helen Fulcher, Alistair Wilson.

Attendance: 378. MotM Luke Corbett.

2009-11-17 @ The New Windmill Ground Birmingham County FA Senior Cup vs Birmingham City 3-2
Luke Corbett scored a last gasp winner to earn Brakes a deserved victory over Birmingham City in Paul Holleran's first home game in charge. Mark Bellingham and Chris Murphy had fired Leamington in front, but Omar Bogle and Brice Mtambwe scored well taken goals to bring their side level, only for Corbett to snatch the win at the death.

Full report to follow......

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, James Husband, Adam Cooper (Richard Beale, 81), Andy Gregory, Gary Knight, Chris Murphy, Liam Reynolds, Luke Corbett, Mark Bellingham [C], Stuart Herlihy.

Subs not used: Ryan Parisi, Mykel Beckley, Reis Ashraf, Arthur Byrne.

Birmingham City: Jack Butland, Jarad Wilson [C], Mitch Hancox, Mitch McPike (Brice Mtambwe, 46), Jacob Rowe, Stefan Metcalfe, Luke Hubbins, Lee Carsley, Julius Gombola, Omar Bogle, Robin Shroot.

Subs not used: Reece Fleet, Glen Daniels.

Attendance: 810. MotM ..

2009-11-18 @ The New Windmill Ground Birmingham County FA Senior Cup vs Birmingham City 3-2

Tuesday November 17th, 2009

*Apologies for the lateness of this report.

Leamington produced one of their best performances for some time, under the glare of the New Windmill Ground floodlights in Paul Holleran's first home game in charge, as they took on a youthful Birmingham City side in the Second Round of the Senior Cup. A god number of Blues fans turned out, presumably hoping to see a few first teamers in their side, but they were to be disappointed, as Lee Carsley was the only recognised player from the Senior squad.

The movement and quality on the ball of the Premiership side's youngsters was evident early on, as they stroked the ball around well, but Leamington were clearly up for this battle. Chris Kiely saved a low effort, and Mark Bellingham fired the first shot for Brakes, when he was unable to beat the last defender for pace, but beat him with the quality of his shot, testing goalkeeper Jack Butland. Luke Corbett struck a very ambitious first time effort from distance that went wide, before the visitors spurned the first real opening of the game. Carsley played a delightful ball forward to Luke Hubbins inside the area, and he went past Chris Kiely, looking odds on to open the scoring, but somehow managed to shoot wide of an open goal from close range.

Butland was then called into action at the other end, cutting out a good right wing cross from Michael Tuohy, and Stefan Metcalfe intervened to take a cross from the opposite wing off the head of Luke Corbett. The striker then cracked a powerful low effort just wide. Leamington were beginning to crank up the pressure on their opponents, to the delight of the home crowd, and a fine piece of link up play between Bellingham and Tuohy saw the defender ghost past a couple of challenges inside the area, and although his shot lacked power, Butland still needed two attempts to claim the ball.

Adam Cooper was also pushing forward from the back, and a ball over the top saw him race down the right and hit a low cross straight into the path of Bellingham in the six yard box, but Butland pulled off a superb save to deny the striker. Chris Murphy then saw his cross blocked, but the ball ran loose to Bellingham, who was denied again, his curling effort producing another top drawer save from the goalkeeper.

The continued onslaught on the Birmingham goal finally paid dividends on 36 minutes. Another well worked move saw Mark Bellingham claim the goal that his performance deserved, as he smashed in a shot from a tight angle on the right that Butland could only parry into the net. Leamington were well on top at this stage, and Bellingham struck another shot from distance that flew wide. He almost added a second as Brakes surged forward again, beating Buckland to the ball on the edge of the area, but the ball was hacked away from the goal by young defender Mitch Hancox.

There was always a danger that the defence could be caught cold by the Birmingham front men, and this proved to be the case just before half time, as they drew level somewhat against the run of play with a fine strike from Omar Bogle. The pacy forward weaved a path through the Leamington back line before placing a shot just out of Chris Kiely's reach into the corner of the net.

The half time interval did not dampen the appetite of the home side, and they almost regained the lead early in the second half, Butland springing to his left to push Luke Corbett's curling drive behind for a corner, from which home debutant Gary Knight had a header saved. Bogle picked up the ball again for Blues, and went on another mazy run, but this time he was halted by a solid defensive block.

More excellent build up play led to Leamington moving back in front on 58 minutes. Luke Corbett shielded the ball and let it roll across him for Chris Murphy to place his shot around Butland into the corner. Liam Reynolds, a former Blues trainee, was no doubt desperate to impress, and he sent a shot inches over the bar soon after the second goal. Blues substitute Will Packwood hacked another effort from Murphy out of the six yard box, as Brakes hunted down more goals.

Omar Bogle was proving to be the main threat for the visitors, and he broke clear again, only to be denied by Chris Kiely, who saved with his legs. Jack Butland was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers though, and he denied Bellingham yet again at the last, smothering a close range effort. Bogle saw another shot clear the bar, but in their next attack, Birmingham drew level, Brice Mtambwe striking a firm shot from the edge of the area.

Losing a lead again after playing so well could have seen Brakes unravel after recent results, but not in this game. They pushed forward again straight from the kick off, and almost went back in front immediately. Mark Bellingham raced into the area, with a defender in pursuit and keeper Butland bearing down on him, yet somehow he still managed to stick out a leg and direct a shot agonisingly over the bar. The young central defenders of Birmingham suffered a torrid time at the hands of Bellingham, who ran them ragged all evening, and he was denied for the umpteenth time when wriggling free on the left inside the area.

Michael Tuohy continued to raid down the right, and his fine run and cross saw Jacob Rowe dive to head the ball behind for corner. Gary Knight headed down for Bellingham to strike, but he was blocked from close range. Chris Kiely was booked for time wasting, as the minutes ticked by, and it looked like Brakes may be caught out late on, but Kiely saved a shot from Mitch Hancox from outside the area.

With some of the crowd inexplicably leaving the ground, and those inside preparing for the prospect of extra time, a sweeping move from defence involving James Husband and Liam Reynolds suddenly saw Luke Corbett racing clear on the right. The Harbury Lane End held their breath as a challenge came in on the right edge of the penalty area, but Corbett kept his composure, and rammed his shot into the roof of the net to win the tie for Leamington in the most dramatic of circumstances. The Blues keeper Butland was distraught at the final whistle, and was consoled by Bellingham, but every single one of the Leamington side worked their socks off for this victory, and it was fully deserved. The game clearly meant something to the Blues youngsters, which was clear by the way they celebrated their goals, but they were matched, and bettered in most departmentsm by a fully committed display from Brakes which must have delighted the new management team.

Leamington: Chris Kiely, Michael Tuohy, James Husband, Adam Cooper (Richard Beale, 81), Andy Gregory, Gary Knight, Chris Murphy, Liam Reynolds, Luke Corbett, Mark Bellingham [C], Stuart Herlihy.

Subs not used: Ryan Parisi, Mykel Beckley, Reis Ashraf, Arthur Byrne.

Birmingham City: Jack Butland, Jarad Wilson [C], Mitch Hancox, Mitch McPike (Brice Mtambwe, 46), Jacob Rowe, Stefan Metcalfe (Will Packwood, 60), Luke Hubbins, Lee Carsley, Julius Gombola, Omar Bogle, Robin Shroot.

Subs not used: Reece Fleet, Glen Daniels.

Attendance: 810. MotM Mark Bellingham, awesome performance for his 3rd game in 4 days! .

2009-11-29 @ The New Windmill Ground Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Bashley 0-1

Saturday November 28th, 2009.

Brakes put up a good show against another of the division's front runners, but were beaten by a highly unfortunate goal on the stroke of half time. There were several changes to the side from the last fixture, with Marcus Jackson, Michael Tuohy and Adam Cooper all still suspended after last weeks' postponement at Merthyr Tydfil, and Andy Gregory unavailable. Loanee Scott Lycett started at the back, and Richard Batchelor made his debut in midfield.

Luke Corbett saw an early free kick palmed into the air by goalkeeper David Elm, and Batchelor almost made the perfect start to his Leamington career when he moved forward menacingly following a pass from Stuart Herlihy in midfield, and struck a low drive that whistled past the upright. Tony Breeden was forced into his first save when he blocked a shot from Adam Kelly with his legs, after the Bashley midfielder had found his way into the Leamington penalty area on the right.

Corbett's header from a right wing cross was cleared away from the goal line, before Mark Bellingham tried his luck from a high ball up field, shooting across goal and wide. Paul Holleran was forced to shuffle his pack with 20 minutes played, when Gary Knight was forced off injured, to be replaced by Richard Beale. If anything, the players upped their game after this, with Beale heavily involved.

The first half was entertaining, with both sides probing for openings. Bashley forced a corner, from which Joe Maxwell struck the stanchion behind the goal with a header. A misplaced pass 30 yards from goal let the visitors in again, but the first time shot was struck well over. Bashley continued to press in the last five minutes of the half, but Leamington were resolute in defence.

Luke Corbett played in Chris Murphy, who shot wide from a good position, but moments before the interval Brakes fell behind to a bizarre goal. The ball was played back to Tony Breeden, who saw his attempted clearance smash into the face of of visiting striker Mark Gamble, and the ball rolled into an unguarded net.

Brakes pressed for long periods in the second half, as they tried to get back on level terms, but were kept at bay by a Bashley defence who put themselves on the line to preserve their lead, in particular the goalkeeper. David Elm was somewhat fortunate to see the ball strike the post and bounce straight into his hands from Chris Murphy's well placed effort, but there was nothing lucky about most of the saves he made to help his team win the game. His size bought the inevitable good natured taunts from the home support, but he had earned the respect of the Harbury Lane End by full time.

Mark Bellingham looked to have a strong claim for a penalty as he was hauled down in the box by Bashley skipper Paul Gazzard, and Luke Corbett turned well from a pass by Richard Beale to strike a shot across goal and wide. Elm then pushed a stinging drive from Richard Batchelor away from his goal. It was a ball into the box by the debutant that led to Peter Castle being penalised for handling James Husband's cross back in on 72 minutes, but Elm came to the rescue of his team mate, diving to his left to save.

Scott Lycett had a solid game, in what will probably be his only appearance for the club, and was on hand to clear away from goal after a shot beat Guy Sanders and Tony Breeden on the right. Leamington again came agonisingly close to levelling the scores when a free kick from half way was cleared as far as Stuart Herlihy on the left of the area, and his cross was headed towards goal by Mark Bellingham, only for David Elm to tip the ball onto the bar. The burly stopper then somehow denied Bellingham again as he looked to have flicked a header past him inside the 6 yard box.

Brakes piled on the pressure in the final few minutes, but ultimately the final ball was lacking, and Bashley threw themselves in the way of everything to return home with the three points. Despite the narrow defeat, there will be plenty of positives for Paul Holleran and his coaching staff to take from the game, and the effort put in by both teams was appreciated by the supporters.

Leamington: Tony Breeden, Scott Lycett, James Husband (Josh Blake, 76), Guy Sanders, Gary Knight (Richard Beale, 20), Stuart Herlihy, Chris Murphy, Richard Batchelor, Luke Corbett, Mark Bellingham, Liam Reynolds (Mykel Beckley, 76).

Subs not used: Ryan Parisi, Chris Kiely.

Bashley: David Elm, Peter Castle, Christopher Ferrett, Gary Middleton, Paul Gazzard, Christopher Knowles, Adam Kelly, Christopher Mason, Joe Maxwell (David Allen, 57), Mark Gamble, Charles Knight.

Subs not used: Joseph Prodomo, Justin Keeler, Stephen Riley.

Referee: Mr C Dunn

Assistant Referees: Mr A Sarginson & Mr P Hill.

Attendance: 527. MotM Stuart Herlihy .

2009-12-06 @ Ladysmead, Tiverton, Devon. Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Tiverton Town 3-2

Saturday 5th December, 2009.

A welcome first league win in five games, and the first three points on the board for the new management team were the reward for the hardy souls who made the long trip down to Tiverton for this fixture. However, as has usually been the case throughout the season so far, the game was won the hard way.

Marcus Jackson, Michael Tuohy and Adam Cooper all returned from suspension to take their places in the starting XI, along with new signing Peter Faulds. Leamington started the game brightly, and Jackson curled a shot in from the edge of the area which Tivvy keeper Steve Book grabbed at the second attempt.

Richard Batchelor attempted to beat the keeper at his near post with a neat back header from a corner, which was blocked, and he shot over from the loose ball. Both he and Mark Bellingham then had miscued shots that eventually saw the ball deflected behind. The home side then came to life, and saw a shot go wide, before a low driven cross to the near post saw Tony Breeden save well. Joe Bushin then saw his downward header pushed behind by Breeden. From the resulting corner kick, the ball was headed into the far corner by Josh Ford to open the scoring for Tiverton.

Richard Batchelor put in an all action shift in midfield, and surged forward before trying to set up Bellingham on the edge of the area, the ball running loose to Marcus Jackson, who blasted a shot into the Brakes fans behind the goal. Guy Sanders cracked in a super volley from a free kick which looked to be heading towards goal until a defender sent it looping into the air and back into the hands of goalkeeper Steve Book.

Joe Bushin had the chance to put his side two goals up when he found himself one on one with Tony Breeden, but the keeper made himself big, and Bushin screwed his shot wide. Michael Tuohy was booked for a late challenge, as Brakes lost their way a bit towards the end of the first half. They enjoyed plenty of possession, but the final ball was lacking, and nobody appeared to want to take a strike at goal.

This was suddenly rectified in first half stoppage time, with the majority of the crowd having left their viewing point in search of refreshments. Richard Batchelor launched into a crunching challenge to win the ball midway through the Tiverton half, and the ball was played over the top into the penalty area, dropping over the head of the last defender to the feet of Luke Corbett, who steadied himself, sidestepped a challenge, and lashed the ball into the roof of the net to bring Leamington level.

The team reappeared for the second half with Paul Holleran's team talk ringing in their ears, and it showed, as they put in a much improved performance. Colin Marshall went into the Referees notebook for a late challenge on Marcus Jackson, as he threatened to burst clear from the middle of the park. Steve Book was at full stretch to prevent Peter Faulds from registering a debut goal with a well placed header, and Michael Tuohy went on a darting run which took him past three challenges before he shot wide. Mike Booth was forced to clear a dangerous cut back into the six yard box from Faulds, as Brakes continued to threaten the Tiverton goal. Their pressure paid dividends on the hour, as Mark Bellingham was hauled to the ground by Booth as he tried to connect with a cross from Luke Corbett. A penalty was signalled, and Corbett atoned for last week's miss against Bashley by dispatching this one into the net to put his side in front.

Tony Breeden had a busy afternoon, racing out of his goal on several ocassions to beat the Tiverton attackers to the ball, and he required treatment after one such block. Brakes continued to press, and James Husband turned Colin Marshall inside out on the left before delivering a cross into the area that was headed back across by Luke Corbett. Peter Faulds just cleared the bar with an overhead kick, but the offside flag had already been raised.

Adam Cooper was also booked on his return from suspension, and it was from this foul just outside the area that Tiverton drew level. Colin Marshall curled a perfect dead ball kick over the wall and into the far corner before Tony Breeden had chance to move. However, Leamington are nothing if not resilient, and they are fast learning to respond to such setbacks. Within three minutes, they were back in front, Mark Bellingham swivelling in the area to plant a shot across Book and into the far corner, to the delight of the travelling fans behind the goal.

Bellingham turned well again and lashed a shot over the bar, before Luke Corbett was booked for dissent, fuming at his treatment from the home defenders. Brakes were starting to find more space as Tiverton pushed forward in search of the equaliser, and were playing some good stuff on the greasy pitch, as the rain continued to fall. Corbett played in Bellingham, who duly netted, but the offside flag prevented a goal which would have made the remaining minutes more comfortable. Tony Breeden rose well to claim a cross as the home side rallied, but Brakes held out to earn a much needed victory which keeps them clear of the sides towards the bottom of the table.

Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Colin Marshall, Alex Faux, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge [C], Tom Gardner, Jamie Hatch (Mark Saunders, 90), Josh Ford, Adam Mortimer (Sam Malson, 69), Joe Bushin, Elliott Frear.

Subs not used: Matt Bye, Mike Humphreys, Jake Wannell.

Leamington: Tony Breeden, Michael Tuohy, James Husband, Adam Cooper, Guy Sanders, Marcus Jackson, Peter Faulds, Chris Murphy, Mark Bellingham [C], Luke Corbett (Richard Beale, 90), Richard Batchelor.

Subs not used: Andy Gregory, Liam Reynolds, Mykel Beckley, Lee Williams.

Referee: Mr L Morris.

Assistant Referees: Mr A Baker & Mr D Sallis.

Attendance: 345. MotM Richard Batchelor.

2009-12-12 @ Vauxhall Road, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire Zamaretto League Premier Division vs Hemel Hempstead Town 2-0

Brakes made their first visit to the Vauxhall Road home of Hemel Hempstead Town, and left with their second three point haul in succession under Paul Holleran, and a first clean sheet since the win by the same scoreline at Bedford Town towards the end of August. Mark Bellingham's two goal haul keeps his incredible scoring run going; he now has 70 in 69 games for the club.

There was a real winter chill in the air as this game kicked off, but the hearts of the visiting fans were soon warmed as their team moved in front. A quick move down the pitch from defence saw the ball played over the head of Jon Munday by Peter Faulds, and with Mark Bellingham lurking with intent, the striker hit his shot first time, under the dive of keeper Mike McEntegart.

There were a couple of questionable offside decisions in the early part of this game, the second of which saw Bellingham play in strike partner Luke Corbett after Yiadom Yeboah had misjudged the bounce of the ball, but he was stopped in his tracks by the raised flag on the far side. Bellingham then spread the ball wide for Michael Tuohy to take on and beat Leon Solomon, and his cross was headed against the bar by Bellingham.

Tony Breeden had little to do up until this point, but Hemel began to enjoy more of the possession, and he was forced to punch a cross out from under his bar. The Tudors then produced their best move of the half when they almost passed the ball into the net, but were denied by a last ditch block to put it behind for a corner.

There was a lengthy break in play around the half hour mark which unfortunately led to Hemel player Adam Martin leaving the pitch on a stretcher. Richard Batchelor was also substituted early in the second half, having been unwell at half time, but he almost gave himself the perfect pick me up when he broke into space on the right and attempted to find the far corner by curling in a shot with the outside of his boot, but the ball was deflected inches wide of the far post.

James Hatch appeared to be in with a chance of bringing Hemel level inside the six yard box, but slipped before he could get a shot in, but an even more bizarre passage of play at the opposite end saw Brakes spurn the chance to go two goals up shortly afterwards. Luke Corbett appeared to be felled just inside the penalty area, then Yeboah went down as he challenged for the ball with Mark Bellingham, who rammed it back into the six yard box, where two Brakes players couldn't find the back of the net, and keeper McEntegart dived on the ball as Bellingham tried to bundle it home.

This episode was quickly forgotten however, as Leamington did get a second goal two minutes before half time. Mark Bellingham played the ball out to Corbett on the right, and his cross was cleared into the air inside the six yard box, leaving Bellingham with the task of heading home.

Luke Corbett saw an early shot saved as the second half got underway, and was denied again when Mark Bellingham picked up a stray pass just inside the Hemel half and played him clear, only for McEntegart to sprint from his line to challenge. The home side then picked up their monopoly on possession once again, pinning Brakes back inside their own half for long periods, but they came up against a stubborn defence that refused to buckle, despite forcing several corners and going to close to forcing the ball in.

Bellingham and Corbett combined again, only for the offside flag to deny them once more, but Leamington ventured forward with more purpose in the last ten minutes or so, Peter Faulds shooting wide, Bellingham lifting a shot onto the roof of the net, and Faulds striking another effort wide of the target. Matt Lewis replaced Corbett to make his debut for the final few minutes, as Brakes saw out the game comfortably.

Hemel Hempstead Town: Mike McEntegart, Ben Long, Leon Solomon (Jamie Eames, 50), Yiadom Yeboah, Matthew McEntegart, Danny Granville, Jon Munday (Ryan Blake, 73), Clark Akers, James Hatch, Tommy Black, Adam Martin (Jake Gilbert, 31).

Subs not used: Rio Bryan-Edwards, Lewis Hillard.

Leamington: Tony Breeden, Michael Tuohy, James Husband, Adam Cooper, Guy Sanders, Scott Lycett, Peter Faulds, Marcus Jackson, Luke Corbett (Matt Lewis, 85), Mark Bellingham (Chris Murphy, 90), Richard Batchelor (Liam Reynolds, 54).

Subs not used: Mykel Beckley, Richard Beale.

Referee: Mr M Downey

Assistant Referees: Mr D Burns & M K Howick

Attendance: 345. MotM Peter Faulds.