Oxford City meted out swift payback for their Boxing Day hammering at the New Windmill to ensure that 2015 got off to a disappointing start for Leamington, writes Paul Edwards.
Brakes failed to build on an enterprising first-half performance and were carved open three times in little under ten minutes, with the hosts only denied further goals by several good saves from Lewis Fenney.
There was a blow for Brakes prior to kick-off with the unavailability of goalkeeper Ross Atkins, whose wife gave birth in the early hours of the morning, and Delroy Gordon due to illness, meaning Paul Holleran was forced to alter the starting 11 that had proved so effective in the reverse fixture just days earlier.
Despite this, Leamington made a bright start, Danny Newton heading wide early on while Fenney was forced to push Tom Winters’ dangerous cross away. Jack Edwards then set up Stephan Morley for a low 30-yard drive that was straight at keeper Salva De La Cruz.
Matt Dodd enjoyed the better of a running battle with City left-back Jose Lapoujade in the first half, getting past his man several times without quite being able to find the killer pass.
His first cross went into a dangerous area but was just behind Newton and, later, he found Lee Moore inside the six-yard box only for the offside flag to be raised.
Javi Rodriguez came close to giving Oxford the lead when his shot, aided by a challenge from Edwards, struck the outside of the post, while Anders Del Alamo shot straight at Fenney.
An intelligent slide-rule pass from Jordan Goddard cut out Lapoujade to put Dodd away down the right but the winger saw his shot bundled behind for a corner.
Darren Pond fired well wide from long range while Rodriguez shot over the bar after a good cross by Winters. His next effort was a little better, Fenney beating out his well-struck drive.
The Brakes keeper was in regular action in the second half, keeping out another shot low down at his near post early on but he should really have been guarding a lead just before the hour, only for Lee Moore to scoop his close-range shot horribly wide after being found in acres of space inside the area.
The fine margins on which games can turn in the Conference North were highlighted minutes later as Oxford took the lead after forcing several corners and another save from the overworked Fenney, Winters beating James Fry to centre for Adi Yussuf to steer home.
The same source set up Lewis Wilson to crash a volley into the net seven minutes later and, within two minutes, Oxford had extended their lead further as Leamington crumbled, Yussuf appearing to have all the time in the world as he picked up a half-cleared Winters cross and juggled the ball before firing past Fenney.
Fenney denied Winters a fourth for Oxford before Holleran’s late substitutions helped stem the tide, the returning Lee Chilton almost bagging a goal with a low drive through a crowd of players.
When a goal arrived for Leamington it was too late to save the game.
A free-kick was floated towards goal by Goddard and keeper De La Cruz could only help it into the net after completely misjudging the flight of the ball.
Oxford City: Salva De La Cruz, Declan Benjamin, Jose Lapoujade, Anders Del Alamo (Mamadou Fofana, 79), Lee Henderson, Alejandro Santiago, Lewis Wilson, Darren Pond, Adi Yussuf (Greg Pearson, 83), Javi Rodriguez (Felipe Barcelos 77), Tom Winters. Subs not used: Mark Scott, Paul Stonehouse.
Brakes: Lewis Fenney, James Fry (Lee Chilton, 74), Stephan Morley , Joe Magunda, Jamie Tank, James Mace, Matt Dodd (Aron Wint, 85) , Jack Edwards, Danny Newton, Lee Moore (Simon Forsdick, 74), Jordan Goddard. Subs not used: Luke Connolly, Matt Hill