Brakes provide the perfect response to tame Trophy exit

Following on from the tame FA Trophy exit at the hands of Stourbridge, this was as impressive a performance as Brakes have turned in all season, writes Paul Edwards.

Sunday, 24th December 2017, 8:29 am
Updated Sunday, 24th December 2017, 8:32 am
Junior English is in the thick of the action as Brakes take on Tamworth. Picture: Sally Ellis

Colby Bishop rocked Tamworth back on their heels with a stunning strike and, in a clinical spell either side of half-time, Callum Gittings added a second before Bishop effectively sealed the points with a third.

Brakes made a confident start on the artificial surface, with Kieran Dunbar’s inviting right-wing centre plucked off the head of Jack Edwards by Lambs keeper Shaun Rowley. Former Leamington skipper Stephan Morley was then well placed to block a shot from Gittings inside the penalty area.

Ex-Gloucester City striker Zack Kotwica was searching for a first goal in Tamworth colours and fired his first shot into the arms of Tony Breeden, who was returning to one of his former clubs along with Joe Clarke, Connor Gudger and physio Pete Denham.

Kotwica had an even better chance when an exchange of passes with Darryl Knights sent him through on goal but once again he was denied by Breeden who made a smart stop. Connor Taylor’s shot was then deflected, leaving Knights offside as he tried to steer the ball home.

Gittings drove a shot well over the bar as Leamington looked to push forward themselves. They suffered a setback when Kaine Felix was withdrawn injured but his replacement Ahmed Obeng was to play a big part in the eventual result.

The opening goal arrived on the half-hour and was a special strike from Bishop.

The striker let fly from 25 yards with a rocket of shot that gave Rowley no chance as it thundered into the top corner, the striker celebrating in front of a sizeable travelling support that grew louder as the game wore on.

There was a let-off for Brakes as Taylor looked to have been fouled in the Leamington penalty area, but the assistant referee on the far side was already signalling an offside decision.

It was from a Tamworth free-kick that Brakes extended their lead two minutes before the break, Obeng receiving the ball in space down the left and advancing towards the penalty area before cutting inside and delivering a perfect cross into the centre for the arriving Gittings to slam into the net from six yards.

The away supporters were in dreamland seven minutes after the restart, Bishop dispossessing Andy Burns in the Lambs’ penalty area before waltzing past Rowley and walking the ball into an empty net from a tight angle.

The third goal gave Brakes the security they needed, and although Tamworth continued to press in search of a way back into the game they came up against an impenetrable wall in a defence that was not about to relinquish only a fourth league clean sheet of the season.

A neat passing move ended with Obeng shooting straight at Rowley as he cut in from the left once more, while Taylor came as close as anyone for Tamworth, driving shot across goal and just past the post on the far side.

Kieran Dunbar drove a shot just wide before Obeng skipped over a challenge in the area, finding Bishop on the edge of the box who saw his first shot blocked, with the follow-up straight at Rowley.

He did not have to wait long for his next opportunity; shielding the ball and turning to fire a shot across goal and wide.

A fourth goal did not arrive but that did not worry the travelling Brakes fans who thoroughly enjoyed an early Christmas present of three welcome points and a very good team performance.

Tamworth: Shaun Rowley, Andy Burns, Stephan Morley, Ellis Deeney, Luke Jones, Joel Kettle, Zack Kotwica (Dexter Walters, 64), Aman Verma, Connor Taylor, Bradley Reid (Theo Wharton, 71), Darryl Knights. Subs not used: Drew Ricketts, Charlie Shaw, Sam Aldhouse.

Brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Clarke, Jamie Hood, Junior English, Kieran Dunbar, Callum Gittings (Joe Magunda, 89), Colby Bishop, Jack Edwards (Liam Canavan, 60), Kaine Felix (Ahmed Obeng, 28). Subs not used: James Mace, Kurtis Revan.