Chippenham are almost out of sight as the play-offs loom into view for Leamington

Ahmed Obeng ghosts in at the far post, only to see his shot saved by Xavi Comas. Pictures: Morris Troughton
Ahmed Obeng ghosts in at the far post, only to see his shot saved by Xavi Comas. Pictures: Morris Troughton
  • Southern League Premier Division
  • Leamington 0 Kings Langley 0

Leamington drew a blank for a second successive Saturday to virtually extinguish their Southern Premier Division title hopes, writes Paul Okey.

Lying just a place above the drop zone, visitors Kings Langley were in desperate need of points too and were clearly happy with the one they had at kick-off, slowing the game down at every opportunity.

That said, they deserve credit for the way they put their bodies on the line, with Xavi Comas in unbeatable form and Ryan Plowright twice clearing off the line in a resolute backs-to-the-wall display.

Brakes, for their part, were again wasteful in front of goal, with a string of presentable chances going begging.

However, the one crumb of comfort to come from a balmy afternoon, the weather apart, was that the point gained guaranteed the hosts a play-off spot and leaves them just three short of a home tie in the semi-final.

Comas was into the action in the 14th minute, diving full length to parry away a half-volley from Courtney Baker-Richardson, who had won the initial header from a Tony Breeden free-kick.

Courtney Baker-Richardson is unable to find a way through for Brakes.

Courtney Baker-Richardson is unable to find a way through for Brakes.

Four minutes later he spread himself to deny Ahmed Obeng who had ghosted in at the far post to latch on to Richard Taundry’s cross from the right.

Connor Gudger cleared Sam Tring’s back-heel from in front of Breeden before Lewis Toomey’s header’s tamely bounced up into the hands of the Leamington captain in a rare spell of pressure from the visitors.

The home side, for all their possession, were struggling for cohesion in the final third but almost took the lead from a swift counter-attack, Obeng’s deflected shot drawing an excellent one-handed save from Comas.

Callum Gittings shot into the side netting while Kings Langley were temporarily reduced to ten men following an injury to Tring, Kieran Turner eventually replacing the stricken defender.

Xavi Comas clears a corner from the head of Jack Edwards.

Xavi Comas clears a corner from the head of Jack Edwards.

Taundry then came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock on the stroke of half-time, rattling the crossbar with a free-kick from the edge of the box with Comas beaten.

Brakes remained on the front foot after the restart with Plowright blocking Gudger’s shot on the line, Moore firing into the side netting and Jack Edwards seeing a header beaten away by Comas in the early stages.

A mistake from Darren Pond almost let the visitors in on the hour-mark but Breeden was out bravely to block from Toomey after parrying the initial effort from Ollie Cox.

Rob Thompson-Brown replaced a sullen Baker-Richardson and the substitute’s cross almost produced an assist for Moore but his neat headed deflection was clawed away by the inspired Comas.

Frustration was building for the hosts, with Taundry battling his way to the byeline only to balloon the ball out of play and Jamie Hood picking up a booking for dissent after being pulled up for a foul.

Brakes almost fell to a sucker punch when they switched off at a free-kick and allowed Turner to get in a shot which drew a smart save from Breeden at his near post.

However, the pattern of Brakes pressing and Kings Langley defending deep was quickly restored.

Edwards was sacrificed as Holleran brought on another attacking option in Kurtis Revan but the precision was still lacking, with Thompson-Brown firing wide with his right foot when his left might have been a better option and Obeng dragging a shot off target after a bout of head tennis inside the box.

As play ticked into the final minute of normal time and with Chippenham disappearing into the sunset, Brakes built up a head of steam which seemed destined to produce a winner.

However, Hood, James Mace and Obeng were all unable to hit the target with good chances, while Obeng also seemed to clear one effort off the line himself.

Taundry did force another sprawling save from Comas and even when the keeper was beaten from an Obeng strike, that man Plowright was there on the line again to bail his keeper out again.

When the final whistle blew five minutes into injury time it was hard to begrudge the visitors their wild celebrations for a job well done.

For Brakes, meanwhile, there is a still work to be done, the most important task of which is rediscovering their potency in front of goal before the play-offs come calling.

brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Darren Pond, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson (Rob Thompson-Brown, 64), Callum Gittings, Stefan Moore, Jack Edwards (Kurtis Revan, 78), Ahmed Obeng. Subs not used: Richard Gregory, Tom James, Joe Magunda.

Kings Langley: Xavi Comas, Gary Connolly, Ryan Plowright, Jorrell Johnson, Sam Tring (Kieran Turner, 43), Josh Coldicott-Stevens, Lee Stobbs, Dean Hitchcock, Lewis Toomey, Ollie Cox, Matt Bateman. Subs not used: Steve Ward, Mayo Balogun, Chris Gosling.