Leaders are held as Gittings sees Red
Brakes claimed a useful point at pre-match table-toppers Redditch United, but picked up another red card which will see Callum Gittings join the list of injured and suspended absentees, writes Paul Edwards.
The match had not been a particularly bad-tempered affair during the first half but degenerated a little during the second, possibly due to what was at stake for both sides.
Jack Edwards blazed a first-time shot over the bar as he latched on to former Redditch striker Daniel Dubidat’s header on inside the opening couple of minutes.
The home side allowed Leamington plenty of time on the ball early on before they got into their stride.
Rob Thompson-Brown, another player to have turned out for both clubs, forced a corner from which the ball was played swiftly out of defence, Richard Taundry’s searching pass setting Edwards free. He in turn fed Sam Austin, whose dangerous cross flashed across the face of goal.
Redditch boast one of the best home records in the division having not tasted defeat at the Valley Stadium since the opening day of the season and they served notice of their attacking threat when skipper Ashley Sammons latched on to a half-clearance on the edge of the box, crashing a well-struck first-time volley wide of the target.
The same player found his range with his next shot but scuffed it straight at Tony Breeden from 20 yards.
Right-back Simeon Maye’s effort from a similar position proved more challenging for the Brakes skipper, who saw the ball late but got down well to his right to save.
Sammons then fired in a rising drive after a good turn, but again Breeden was well positioned to save.
Austin was enjoying a good battle with Maye down the left and won a free-kick which he fired low towards the near post, Jose Veiga doing well to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Joe Magunda was then required to make a vital interception at the other end with Luke Shearer lurking ready to take advantage of any slip.
Redditch began the second half with intent, Sammons’ skidding low drive bouncing just the wrong side of the post, while Maye should have at least hit the target when he blazed over after a right-wing corner was headed into the six-yard box.
Brakes tried to respond but efforts from Connor Gudger and Austin flew off target, Edwards striking another well wide after some neat build-up play.
He was quickly presented with another opportunity, driving low and just past the post under pressure from Will Richards.
George Carline hooked an acrobatic effort over from a dangerous position before Leamington were reduced to ten men when Gittings, who had picked up an earlier booking, received another for dissent after being pulled up for what the referee perceived to be a handball.
Breeden was forced to palm a cross out from under his crossbar as Redditch searched for a late winner but Leamington came very close to snatching all three points when substitute Ben Mackey saw his header from a left-wing free-kick strike the post.
Taundry was well placed to make another important interception in injury time before recent Redditch signing Sam Merson hooked the final shot of the game well wide as both sides had to settle for a point.
Redditch: Jose Veiga, Simeon Maye, Jordan Cullinane-Liburd, George Carline, Calum Flanagan, Will Richards, Robert Thompson-Brown, Eli Bako (Jack Hallahan, 81), Sam Merson, Ashley Sammons, Luke Shearer (Curvin Ellis, 73). Subs not used: Cameron Young, Max Loveridge, Jamie Molyneux.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Halsall (Ben Mackey, 71), Jamie Tank, Joe Magunda, Ben George (Lee Moore, 55), Jack Edwards, Daniel Dubidat (Rob Elvins, 81), Callum Gittings, Sam Austin. Subs not used: Courtney Baker-Richardson, Ross Oulton.