Brakes picked up another useful point on the road against a Cambridge City side battling to escape the bottom four, writes Paul Edwards.
The hosts will be disappointed not to have come away with all three points and while Leamington defended stoutly they were indebted to skipper Tony Breeden for some vital saves to keep them level.
The game was played out on a difficult surface at St Ives Town’s ProEdge stadium that bore the scars of having so many matches played on it, and as a result the ball spent plenty of time in the air.
Invigorated after picking up ten points from their last six games the home side were the first to threaten, a smart stop from Breeden required to keep out Matt Foy after he had latched onto a lofted pass into the penalty area from Ollie Snaith.
The Brakes keeper was powerless to prevent a stunning opening goal for the Lilywhites on 22 minutes, however. Foy’s wayward header from a left-wing cross may have provided a somewhat fortunate set-up but there was nothing lucky about the strike from Snaith, who executed a superb first-time volley with perfect technique, the ball rocketing into the roof of the net from just outside the box.
The visitors were struggling to gain a foothold in the game and but for the width of a post could have found themselves further behind three minutes later. Snaith’s ball in from the left found Foy, who beat Breeden with his shot only for the ball to strike the outside of the post before it was cleared to safety.
Brakes dragged themselves level with something of a gift on the half-hour. A high ball into the Cambridge penalty area somehow bounced over tall centre-back Jordan Williams and deceived goalkeeper Dean Snedker, with neither spotting Jack Edwards stealing in at the far post, who stooped to head home one of the easiest goals of his career from a couple of yards out.
The goal acted as a wake-up call to Leamington and they pushed forward regularly for the remainder of the half, Connor Gudger driving a shot wide, while Courtney Baker-Richardson clattered the bar with a header from Richard Taundry’s free-kick, only to find he had been flagged offside.
The hosts looked to use the pace of the lively Goldy Capela to try and hurt Leamington, for whom Jamie Hood was his usual imperious self in central defence until he was withdrawn in the second half having been suffering from sickness and diarrhoea during the week.
Baker-Richardson was played in on the right by Edwards after Gudger had won the ball back well, but blazed wildly over the bar, while Joe Magunda came very close to breaking his goal duck with a looping header from another Taundry free-kick which dropped on to the roof of the net.
Capela engineered a golden opportunity to fire his side in front when he muscled his way past Gudger to crash in a powerful effort that was met by a fantastic stop from Breeden, who scrambled to his feet to keep out a fierce first-time drive from right back Ben Robinson with an even better save.
Baker-Richardson had a penalty shout waved away after he was clearly prevented from shooting by Paul Cooper, but Cambridge had further opportunities to snatch a late win.
Charlie Woolfe should have scored as a poor defensive header from Taundry set him up for a clear strike at goal, but the City substitute sliced his volley wide of the target. Then, after an almighty scramble in the Leamington box ended with the ball only half-cleared, Buster Harradine’s swirling wind-assisted cross landed on the roof of the net with Breeden furiously backpedaling.
Cambridge City: Dean Snedker, Ben Robinson, Paul Cooper, Buster Harradine, Jordan Gent, Jordan Williams, Ollie Snaith, Ross Paterson, Goldy Capela (Charlie Woolfe, 77), Matt Foy (Manny Osei, 80), Darren Foxley. Subs not used: Harry Norman, Ryan Sherman, Dave Theobald.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Darren Pond, Jamie Hood (Callum Gittings, 73), Joe Magunda, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Jordan Goddard (Rob Thompson-Brown, 80), Ahmed Obeng, Jack Edwards, Callum Powell (Richard Gregory, 69). Subs not used: Ben George, Tom James.