Another hard-luck story for Leamington

For the third game running Leamington were left cursing missed opportunities as their opponents took all three points, writes Paul Edwards.

Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 3:09 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 3:15 pm
Junior English battles for possession with York's Adriano Moke. Pictures: Louise Smith

Despite a disjointed first-half display, Paul Holleran’s side made a far better fist of things after the interval without really working York keeper Adam Bartlett enough.

However, clear-cut chances did come to Jordan Murphy and Jamie Hood who will probably feel they could have done better.

The visitors came into the game on the back of three straight National League North victories and after an even opening spell took the lead 11 minutes in.

Brakes' Jordan Murphy picks up a booking.

Tony Breeden got down to block a low drive from Hamza Bencherif but was unable to hold on to the ball and Alex Kempster pounced to ram it into the roof of the net from close range.

Murphy latched on to Junior English’s low right-wing centre with a neat backheel that was held by Bartlett at his near post and James Mace then hooked in a shot on the turn from Jack Edwards’ nod-down that lacked the power to trouble the goalkeeper.

Daniel Sweeney’s first start since his loan move from Solihull Moors was curtailed by a thigh strain just after half-time. However, prior to that, his swerving right-wing cross forced a backpedaling Bartlett to push the ball over his crossbar.

Colby Bishop then volleyed just over the bar as Edwards let a long throw travel through to him on the edge of the box but the offside flag was already raised.

Jack Edwards battles for possession.

Goalscorer Kempster was allowed to cut in from the left and strike a powerful rising effort from distance that was straight at Breeden and the same player then sent a shot on the turn into the arms of the Brakes skipper following some neat build-up play.

David Ferguson also had a shot deflected into the arms of the Breeden as York comfortably held on to their slender advantage to half-time, with Leamington guilty of gifting their opponents possession and struggling to get out of their own half despite not being under any real pressure.

Bencherif was perhaps fortunate not to be entering the dressing room a few minutes before his team-mates after what Holleran described as a punch to the face of Edwards, who was left with a broken tooth.

The referee did not appear to have the same view of the incident and after plenty of input from players of both sides decided a yellow card was sufficient.

Things certainly improved in the second half for the home side but the end product was still missing, although Bartlett almost gave Leamington a huge helping hand when he fumbled Edwards’ header just the wrong side of the post early on.

Hood blazed a first-time effort over from another corner before the first gilt-edged opportunity, Murphy outpacing two York defenders to go through on goal, only to lift his shot over Bartlett and the crossbar.

A York free-kick was well blocked by the Leamington defensive wall, Paddy McLaughlin firing the loose ball high and wide.

Sweeney’s replacement Ahmed Obeng then did well to get the ball down to Bishop inside the box but the striker hesitated and was quickly dispossessed by the alert Sean Newton.

From the resulting corner, Hood rose completely unmarked to power in a bullet header which whistled just over the bar.

Connor Gudger’s good work on the left saw Newton almost turn his low cross past his own keeper.

The York centre-back was certainly earning his corn, deflecting Murphy’s header through to Bartlett as Bishop lifted the ball back into the box.

Edwards then saw his daisy-cutter fly just past the upright.

Obeng made a nuisance of himself throughout and good work on the left saw him take on defenders and send in a cross which was met by the head of Bishop, only for Bartlett to again push the ball over his crossbar.

Murphy tested the York keeper once more with a powerful strike as Leamington pushed hard in the final ten minutes.

Junior English was pushed up front and his physical presence gave the Minstermen defenders something different to contend with.

Their appeared to be one final opportunity when Edwards won a free-kick on the edge of the box but substitute Reece Flanagan curled it over the bar and into the North Bank.

Newton then secured York the three points when he got in a vital clearance to hook the ball away from English inside the box.

Brakes: Tony Breeden, Junior English, Connor Gudger (Jack Lane, 81), Joe Clarke, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Dan Sweeney (Ahmed Obeng, 49), Sam Wilding (Reece Flanagan, 73), Colby Bishop, Jack Edwards, Jordan Murphy. Subs not used: Ben Newey, Connor Taylor.

York City: Adam Bartlett, Kallum Griffiths, David Ferguson, Sean Newton, Hamza Bencherif, Adriano Moke, Wes York (Josh Law, 65), Paddy McLaughlin, Jordan Burrow, Scott Burgess, Alex Kempster. Subs not used: Nathan Dyer, Alex Harris, Ryan Whiteley, Jon Parkin.