Brakes returned to the scene of their Southern League title win, making the long trip to North Devon to take on Bideford, writes Paul Edwards.
It was a slightly more low-key affair than that memorable April afternoon in 2013, but while a four-game losing run was brought to a timely end, Leamington will feel they should have been making the journey home with all three points after seeing a glorious late chance go begging.
Both sides showed plenty of attacking intent but the heavy pitch affected the quality of the game as a whole, which was perhaps to be expected given the recent poor weather.
After a quiet opening, Bideford took the lead on the quarter-hour.
Tony Breeden failed to properly connect with Connor Gudger’s backpass on the edge of the box and Angus Wilson took advantage, nipping in to slot into an empty net.
Brakes had a couple of half-chances prior to the goal but hauled themselves level in the 36th minute, Lee Chilton volleying in after Richard Taundry’s free-kick was only half cleared.
Taundry then curled a free-kick just over before Chilton was denied a second goal moments before half-time. Neat interplay saw the winger played in behind the home defence but his shot was parried by keeper Kyle Moore. The ball was cleared out as far as Gudger, whose cross-shot was somehow cleared off the line by a defender.
Taundry and Jack Edwards both had half-chances for Leamington early in the second half before Lee Moore headed over a Chilton cross from 12 yards.
The goalscorer was at the heart of many of the best moves from the visiting side, and drove into the box again after picking up a pass from Gudger. He found Edwards, whose close-range shot was blocked, with the rebound from Moore cleared off the line.
Bideford saw a great chance to regain the lead pass them by when Kevin Squire latched onto a high defensive clearance to go one on one with Breeden, but he placed his shot straight at the Brakes skipper.
Leamington had their own chance to snatch the points with three minutes remaining.
Bideford failed to clear their lines from a corner and Chilton’s volley was parried into the air by Moore. However, the unmarked Edwards could only crash the loose ball over the bar from close range.
Bideford: Kyle Moore, Ian Sampson, Stephen Reed, Jamie Chamberlain (16 Billy Tucker, 74), Chris McGrath, Danny Harrison (12 O’Neill Odufin, 32), Richard Groves (Nick Milton, 23), Matt Hockley, Kevin Squire, Matty Andrew, Angus Wilson. Subs not used: Joe Barker, Nick Barker.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, Ben George, Connor Gudger, Joe Magunda (Rob Ogleby, 69), Jamie Hood, Jamie Tank, Lee Moore (Ross Oulton, 75), Richard Taundry, Ben Mackey, Jack Edwards, Lee Chilton. Subs not used: James Fry, Will Green, Eddie Caviezel-Cox.