Defeat for Brakes in their final warm-up

Nick Draper acrobatically stops Tom James (out of picture) opening the scoring for Brakes. Pictures: Morris Troughton

Nick Draper acrobatically stops Tom James (out of picture) opening the scoring for Brakes. Pictures: Morris Troughton

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There was little to take from Leamington’s final pre-season friendly with several absentees meaning the side looked a great deal different from the one which will kick off against Cirencester, writes Paul Okey.

Manager Paul Holleran was also missing due to a holiday, with Martyn Naylor taking charge of a Brakes starting XI which featured former Coventry City Academy player Ryan Quinn and an unnamed trialist.

Ryan Rowe's first-half effort is deflected just wide of the post.

Ryan Rowe's first-half effort is deflected just wide of the post.

Leamington-based midfielder Tomek Jaworowski and youth team players Charlie Fitzmaurice and George Robbins were part of a youthful-looking bench, while at the opposite end of the scale, 40-year-old former West Brom striker Lee Hughes was named among the Worcester City substitutes.

The hosts made a bright start, with City keeper Nick Draper’s flap at Rob Thompson-Brown’s cross almost presenting Ahmed Obeng with a chance at the far post, but the ball was bundled behind for a corner.

A miscued Tom James cross then nearly caught out Draper, with the keeper having to desperately backpedal to claw the ball out before it crossed the line.

Checkaine Steele was way off target for the visitors after Brakes had been caught short-handed at the back but play was mostly confined to the middle third as both sides struggled to find a cutting edge.

The deadlock was broken, however, in the 25th minute and it followed a promising spell for the home side.

Leamington were appealing in vain for a free-kick after Jack Edwards went down on the edge of the City box and a swift counter saw the ball eventually reach Nathan Olukanmi on the angle of Brakes’ penalty area. An assured first touch set up a shooting chance and despite Tony Breeden getting both hands on the ball, it continued goalwards and Colby Bishop was there to make sure on the line.

Bishop had a great chance to double the visitors’ lead in the 37th minute after Joe Fitzpatrick had sprung the offisde trap but his first-time effort from the pull-back was straight into the body of Breeden.

Two minutes before the break Ryan Rowe got a rare sight of goal after Edwards had shown good tenacity to win back possession in midfield. But despite an excellent first touch and shot, the ball was deflected past the post by a defender.

Having come so close to restoring parity, it was therefore harsh on the home side to go in at the break two goals down.

However, there could be no arguing about the quality of the goal, with Olukanmi producing an unerring finish into the top corner after the ball had been laid back to him in the box by Bishop.

It was almost back to a single-goal deficit soon after the interval with Brakes’ trialist nipping in to steal possession following indecision between Tom Sharpe and keeper Ethan Ross, a half-time replacement for Draper. But, with angle against him, he flashed his shot across the face of goal.

Rowe was then next to threaten as Leamington built up a head of steam but he got his connection all wrong and the ball skewed away from the goal.

Quinn showed good composure in the middle of the park and had a shot deflected wide after patient build-up from the home side, who gained their reward just short of the hour-mark.

Courtney Baker-Richardson first involvement after coming on was to unselfishly pick out Rowe at the far post, and the former City striker had the simple finish of lifting the ball over the scrambling Ross and into the net.

Obeng was crowded out as Brakes looked for a second and then showed good close control in the box to cut inside his marker and fire in a shot which scraped the bar.

A spate of further substitutions saw Ross Oulton among those introduced for Leamington.

However, his opportunity to impress was cut short after a reckless challenge on Ebby Nelson-Addy earned him a yellow card and saw both players removed from the action by their respective managers as an earlier bout of handbags continued to rankle.

Brakes: Tony Breeden, Ben George, Tom James, Ryan Quinn (Ross Oulton, 76 (George Robbins, 88), Rob Elvins, James Mace, Trialist (Courtney Baker-Richardson, 52), Jack Edwards, Ryan Rowe (Tomek Jaworowski, 64), Rob Thompson-Brown, Ahmed Obeng. Sub not used: Charlie Fitzmaurice.

Worcester City: Nick Draper (Ethan Ross, 46), Tyler Weir (Graeme Hutchison, 46), Kieron Keane, Sam Oji (Andy Gallinagh, 46), Tom Sharpe, Joe Fitzpatrick (Danny Jackman, 76), Nathan Olukanmi, Junior English, Colby Bishop (Lee Hughes, 70), Ebby Nelson-Addy (Joe Bates, 88), Checkaine Steele (Elijah Chilekwa). Substitutes: Kyle Perry, Steve Craig.

Attendance: 244