New loans are a poor investment for Town
Brakes negotiated a tricky away trip to a Cirencester side much changed from their opening-day clash, writes Paul Edwards.
New Centurions manager Charlie Griffin has recruited several loan signings from professional clubs in a bid to improve results and the hosts began the game brightly.
Striker Jamie Chamberlain was one of the new faces at the Corinium Stadium and he fired in an early shot that was saved by Tony Breeden.
Ahmed Obeng spurned the first opportunity of the afternoon for Leamington, firing Richard Taundry’s long throw over the bar after the ball had bounced through to him on the far side.
A slick move up the right then saw Taundry do well to cut the ball back for Courtney Baker-Richardson, who side-footed just past the post.
The opening exchanges had been fairly even, but Leamington accelerated ahead with two goals in as many minutes.
Jack Edwards evaded his markers in the six-yard box to powerfully head home Rob Thompson-Brown’s free-kick in the 24th minute for his seventh goal of the season.
In their next attack Leamington left the hosts reeling as they extended their advantage, Baker-Richardson expertly steering home a low shot after a fine move through the middle involving Obeng and Taundry saw the ball threaded in from the right once more.
Thompson-Brown’s dead-ball delivery was causing havoc for the opposition and another one from the right wing saw Ryan Rowe inches away from connecting. Edwards did, however, but could only balloon his first-time effort over the bar.
Jack Challis headed wide for the home side as they began to recover from the shock of going behind, while Brakes came close to fashioning what would have been a superb goal, Obeng and Rowe moving the ball across the box for Darren Pond to hook in an acrobatic effort that flew over.
With half-time approaching, the hosts dragged themselves back into proceedings with a penalty. Jamie Hood received a yellow card for clipping Aidan Bennett as he ran clear on goal and Will Hancox stepped up to send Breeden the wrong way from the spot.
There was further concern for the visitors as Taundry limped off with a hamstring problem to be replaced by Ben George.
Thompson-Brown had to have on-pitch treatment for a dislocated finger during the first half, but Leamington regrouped and emerged with more purpose in the second period.
Raajan Gill kept his side in touch with a string of saves, the first coming from Baker-Richardson as Obeng and Rowe linked up once more to set up the chance.
Hood was then inches from a goal when he glanced a header just wide of the far post, while Baker-Richardson sent in a low cross which Rowe stabbed just wide.
Obeng so nearly created a third goal for his side when he capitalised on a slip from Ben Brown, firing a dangerous ball in from the left that looked certain to be smashed home by Rowe, only for Sindri Scheving to get there first and clear for a corner.
Gill saved with his legs as Baker-Richardson set up Rowe, while right-back Kieran Diaz-Benitez’s attempted clearance looped off Rowe and dropped just past the post with Gill scrambling across his goal.
Obeng had the measure of Diaz-Benitez and got away from his marker to set up Rowe once more, but this time Brown was in well to block the shot.
Diaz-Benitez was then tied in knots by Obeng as he advanced towards the box but he was unable to provide the finishing touch, shooting over the bar.
More neat play saw Thompson-Brown wriggling between defenders to make space for a shot just inside the box, Gill pulling off another great save. The keeper recovered quickly to make an equally good one as Obeng headed the loose ball back towards goal, but the offside flag had been raised.
The home side began to sense there may still be something in the game for them and rallied late on. Ross Langworthy won the ball in his own half and set off on a lung-bursting run that ended with a shot blocked in the Leamington box, while the follow-up from the loose ball was well saved by Breeden.
A slip from Diaz-Benitez allowed Baker-Richardson to run clear down the left in injury time but his attempted centre to Obeng was superbly cut out.
Gill was to deny Brakes one more time, with another superb save denying Baker-Richardson as he attempted to curl a shot into the far corner.
Cirencester Town: Raajan Gill, Kieran Diaz-Benitez, Sindri Scheving (Ross Langworthy, 64), Henry Spalding, Jack Challis, Ben Brown, James Mortimer-Jones, Adam Connolly, Aidan Bennett, Jamie Chamberlain (Kalum Youngsam, 29), Will Hancox. Subs not used: Max Lloyd, Robbie James, Charlie Griffin.
brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry (Ben George, 43), Connor Gudger, Darren Pond, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Jack Edwards, Ryan Rowe (Callum Gittings, 69), Rob Thompson-Brown (Tom James, 90), Ahmed Obeng. Subs not used: Joe Magunda, Nathan Olukanmi.