Depleted Leamington display their strength in depth at Rugby
Brakes managed to contain a lively Rugby Town side and run out comfortable winners despite missing several key players at Butlin Road, writes Paul Edwards.
With Richard Batchelor, Martyn Naylor and Lee Chilton injured, Joe Magunda and Alex Taylor on holiday, Paul McCone recovering from an appendix operation and Lee Moore ill, Paul Holleran again called on Joe Halsall and included trialists Adam Daly and Henry Todo on the bench.
Rugby’s three front players have all turned out in gold and black and one of them, David Kolodynski, spurned the first clear-cut chance when he headed a left-wing cross wide.
The hosts were playing the same quick passing football that saw them so nearly clinch promotion last season and a smart move ended with Justin Marsden driving just over.
Kolodynski also cleared the bar before Brakes moved in front.
Stefan Moore picked up possession on the left edge of the penalty area and got the better of Ellis Myles before crashing a powerful drive off the underside of the bar which left Jamie Towers with a simple nod-in.
Matt Dodd, Ricky Johnson and Halsall all failed to test Ross Etheridge, while Tony Breeden had to be alert to turn Greg Kaziboni’s volley on to the post.
The home side levelled just past the half-hour when Richard Blythe’s cross was headed home by Kolodynski but Brakes were back in front in the 40th minute, Liam Daly again showing his free-kick prowess.
Brakes extended their lead four minutes into the second half when Craig Kelly’s att-empted clearance fell to Moore, who took a touch and slammed a low shot into the net.
A long ball upfield led to a fourth Leamington goal just past the hour-mark, with Moore lashing in a shot that Etheridge got a touch to, but was unable to keep out.
The hosts came back into the game in the closing stages with Breeden producing one outstanding save before Rugby substitute Sheldon Dodd turned in a late second to give the scoreline a more balanced look.
Rugby Town: Ross Etheridge, Ellis Myles, Craig Kelly, Mason Rowley, Alex Gudger, Aaron Forde, Greg Kaziboni, Richard Blythe, David Kolodynski, Seb Lake-Gaskin, Justin Marsden.Subs used: McBride, Youngs, Williams, Palmer, Dodd, Bishop.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, James Mace, Stephan Morley (Adam Daly, 64), Craig Owen, Liam Daly (Sam Adkins, 71), Josh Green, Matt Dodd, Joe Halsall, Stefan Moore (Henry Todo, 70), Ricky Johnson, Jamie Towers. Sub not used: Lewis Fenney.