Leamington come from behind to overcome lively Worcester

Close-season signing Junior English makes a nuisance of himself on the edge of the Worcester City box. Picture: Tim Nunan
Close-season signing Junior English makes a nuisance of himself on the edge of the Worcester City box. Picture: Tim Nunan
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Brakes notched up their second victory in successive pre-season games, beating a lively Worcester City side 3-1 at a rain-soaked Phillips 66 Community Stadium, writes Paul Edwards.

Paul Holleran worked with the same squad he had named against Daventry with the exception of Liam Canavan, who was unavailable.

Dave Reynolds, scorer of 53 goals in 46 games for Malvern Town in the West Midlands League last season, was quickly looking for his first in a Worcester shirt but a low curling shot was saved comfortably by Tony Breeden.

Stefan Moore fired just wide for Brakes before a vicious first-time drive from just inside the box by Brad Birch which was met by a flying one-handed save from Breeden.

City player-manager Lee Hughes then dragged a shot wide before Reynolds saw his snap-shot on the turn parried by the body of Breeden, James Mace clearing the loose ball away from goal.

Reynolds had another effort fly wide before Leamington began to come into the game a little, Junior English heading Kurtis Revan’s right-wing cross over the bar.

The former Worcester man then lashed a first-time drive wide of the post before a Joe Clarke shot was saved by Matt Gwynne.

The visitors deservedly moved in front in the 38th minute, taking full advantage of a somewhat contentious free-kick 20 yards out, Matt Birley curling a beautiful effort inside the post, with Breeden only able to help it on its way.

Both sides had early second-half shots on target but it was Leamington, with more of their regular starters on the field, who began to look threatening.

Substitute Courtney Baker-Richardson laced a powerful drive just over the bar and should really have scored when a great Leamington move ended with him meeting Connor Gudger’s pinpoint left-wing centre three yards out, only for last season’s top scorer to balloon his effort over the bar.

Another former Worcester man, Colby Bishop, headed Richard Taundry’s cross straight at Gwynne before having a big hand in the equalising goal.

Turning his marker inside on the left side of the penalty area, he crashed a low drive against the base of the post before picking up possession and flighting a cross to the far post for English to stoop and power home from close range.

Brakes went in front soon after, Rob Thompson-Brown converting from the spot after Baker-Richardson had been clipped by Nathan Hayward.

Trialist Tom Rankin bagged the third, reacting quickest when his initial shot was blocked to thread a second effort through a crowd into the bottom corner.

Brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Clarke (Tom Rankin, 67), Jamie Hood (Joe Magunda, 58), James Mace, Kurtis Revan (Callum Gittings, 46), Junior English (Shay Nicholson, 85), Colby Bishop (Charlie Marsh, 83) , Stefan Moore (Rob Thompson-Brown, 46), Ahmed Obeng (Courtney Baker-Richardson, 58).