Danny Newton continued his return to goalscoring form with a well-taken second-half equaliser as Leamington returned from their long trip to fellow spa town Harrogate with a share of the spoils, writes Paul Edwards.
Paul Holleran made an enforced change to his starting line-up with Connor Gudger coming in at left-back following Stephan Morley’s move to Corby Town.
The youngster, signed from Worcester City, put in a generally solid performance, linking up well with his new team mates as they built on the previous weeks win over Solihull Moors.
Ross Atkins came off his line to save well with his legs as Louie Swain threatened to fire Harrogate in front early on, while Dave McGurk probably should have done better when the ball arrived with him at close range but could only direct it straight at the Brakes keeper.
Lee Chilton was heavily involved in Leamington’s forward movement during the first half and it was his low driven ball across goal that the onrushing Newton missed by a whisker.
Paul Clayton was presented with a shooting chance on the edge of the box from a fortunate ricochet, but again the ball was comfortable for Atkins.
Brakes almost profited from some sloppy defensive play when Chilton picked up a clearance and exchanged passes with Jordan Goddard, firing across goal and forcing Peter Crook to push the ball out of play for a corner.
Newton then deflected Lee Moore’s shot towards goal, the Town keeper holding the ball under his crossbar.
Play continued to switch from end to end despite the sticky pitch. Clayton’s glancing header from a good right-wing cross flashed just wide, while Andy Gascoigne’s free-kick from a central position was always rising and cleared the bar.
It was the same player whose dangerous free-kick, whipped in from the right, found the far corner of the net a minute before half-time, the ball appearing to take a nick off a Leamington head on its way in.
Clayton’s attempts to win his side a penalty early in the second half were waved away by the referee, Goddard responding for Leamington with a well-struck free-kick that Crook pushed behind.
Brakes were level within ten minutes of the restart, however, courtesy of a well-worked goal.
Moore’s mazy run into the Harrogate box ended with a fine lay-off for Newton, who, in his first game since taking over the captaincy rolw, lashed the ball first time high into the top corner of the net.
The home side inevitably did the majority of the pressing in the closing stages but Brakes tried to move the ball around well when they had chance to, and came close to snatching a late second goal when Delroy Gordon clattered the bar with a powerful header from Goddard’s left-wing free-kick.
Harrogate Town: Peter Crook, Lewis Turner, Louie Swain, Leigh Franks, Cecil Nyoni, Dave McGurk , Ryan Fallowfield (James Walshaw, 79), Andy Gascoigne, Paul Clayton, Jordan Thewlis (Dom Rowe, 62), Jack Emmett. Subs not used: Craig Nelthorpe, Adam Nowakowski, Jamie Milligan.
Brakes: Ross Atkins, James Mace, Connor Gudger, Jordan Goddard (Jack Edwards, 85), Delroy Gordon, Jamie Tank, Lee Moore, James Fry, Lee Chilton, Nathan Hicks (Joe Magunda, 74), Danny Newton . Subs not used: Lewis Fenney, Matt Dodd, Aron Wint.