Thursday, 11 May 2017

'Give this a good write up'

Tony Breeden's penalty save. His penalty goal was something as well.

That was the instruction a fan gave me on the coach after last night's victory for Leamington in the Birmingham Senior Cup final over Wolves at Molineux. I didn't need any encouragement. This was a fitting finale to what has been an excellent season for the Brakes. As someone else said 'Leamington 1, Charlton 0', compensating for a poor season at The Valley.

We had a magical mystery tour on the coach on the way there. If I had wanted to get to the vicinity of Birmingham Airport, I could have got there more quickly via Kenilworth and Balsall Common.

Before the game a presentation was made to Paul Holleran for his 400th managerial appearance. I have been critical of his formations on occasion, but last night we look very well organised. We were fluent and passed the ball along the ground to each well, showing good anticipation of positioning.

After 15 minutes the lively Obeng (later named man of the match) was brought down in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Thompson-Brown gave the keeper no chance to make it 1-0 to the Brakes.

Meanwhile, I had to put up with the Irish branch of the Wolves supporters club behind me, the height of their wit being to advise that Tony Breeden should be sent to weight watchers. A much better quip was that of the Brakes supporter who bellowed, 'You're worse than Cinderford.'

After the break Wolves became more energetic and determined and exerted some real pressure. Tony Breeden made a good save with his leg, but eventually Sealy equalised from eight yards out.

Leamington remained in the game, although they were starting to tire, but some judicious substitutions reinvigorated them. It was a good thing, however, that there was no provision for extra time.

There was an outbreak of handbags on 90 minutes after substitute Richard Batchelor was shoved and Tony Breeden came up to join in.

Tony Breeden, who reminds me of Charlton's legendary Sam Bartram, stepped up to take the first penalty and scored decisively. At 5-4, he saved from Sealy to give Brakes the trophy.

Attendance was 920 (no dogs), not sure there were 800 Leamington as the Express & Star says in its report (Wolves have won the BSC seven times): Local report

Good to see Barry Reeve to get a volunteer trophy at the end of the game for everything he does for the club (not least making the tea and coffee for the vice-presidents).

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

When we won the BSC in 1951

Around 3,000 spectators turned up to the replayed final of the Birmingham Senior Cup at the Windmill Ground in May 1951. They were not to be disappointed. Lockheed Leamington beat Hereford United to bring the Senior Cup to the area for the first time with a 3-1 victory. ‘At one time Lockheed Leamington held a three goal lead, after Hugh Morrow had been pushed from behind while in front of an open goal and Freddie Keeble scored from a penalty.’

‘It was a surprising state of affairs for Hereford United never deserved to be losing by such a margin. However, within minutes of conceding their third goal, they attacked with renewed vigour, and scored through Bowen. Following their success, Hereford attacked strongly, but their attempts to put the ball into the home net proved fruitless. Latham and his team were quicker on the ball and tackled well. Four minutes from time Dobbs saved a certain goal, when, with Spencer beaten, he managed in some miraculous manner to head the ball over the bar as he was falling backwards into the net.’

‘The game opened with Lockheed Leamington on the attack but clever, cool defensive work held them at bay. In the 14th minute Soden surprised everyone, including the Hereford United goalkeeper, with a looping left-foot shot, and the ball hit an upright and ran across the goalmouth. Although the Lockheed attacks were less frequent than that of the visitors, they always appeared the more dangerous.’

‘A grand move with the ball passing from Gardner on to Soden, Morrow and French, provided the latter with a good scoring opportunity, but he delayed his shot. In the 35th minute French made amends. Hereford were on the attack and their right winger Bowen missed an easy chance to place the visitors ahead. A tame shot was cleared and Morrow chased the loose ball, and forced a corner which was taken by Gardner. The ball passed over the heads of a crowd of players to French, who hesitated slightly before lobbing the ball under the Hereford United bar. The goalkeeper would undoubtedly have flicked the ball away had Soden not harassed him. The Brakes held the lead until the interval, and they did not rest on their laurels. Although cornered by the flag post, Frank Gardner tricked his man and with a superb left foot centre dropped the ball precariously in the Hereford goalmouth, but the chance was not accepted.’

‘In the 58th minute Hugh Morrow, Lockheed Leamington’s best forward, scored with a hard shot. Accepting the ball from Soden, without the delay that characterised the Hereford team, he kicked the ball hard and low from 20 yards out, without giving the goalkeeper any chances to save. Frank Keeble was the best Leamington defender. He always tried to use the ball, especially in heading, and did remarkably good work in breaking up many right flank moves. The visiting centre forward Thompson, who formerly played for Sheffield United, displayed some clever footwork. In one dazzling 30 yard run he made a fine opening, but Williams missed an easy chance.’

‘Hereford United were more scientific, but their skill and artistry was too elaborate, and Lockheed adopted more direct methods which produced goals.’

This originally appeared in the programme for the semi-final against Walsall, but that had a fairly low attendance, so many may not have seen it.

Monday, 1 May 2017

We are going up

Chairman and manager with the trophy

Leamington beat Hitchin Town to win promotion to tier two of the non-league pyramid in front of a record ground crowd of 2,108 and two dogs this afternoon.

Hitchin went ahead after ten minutes with a soft goal when a free kick was scrambled in at the far post. The Leamington players looked nervous and their efforts were somewhat disjointed, while the antics of charm merchant Brett Donnelly provided a constant and intended distraction. The Hitchin keeper was not really tested.

Brakes looked more invigorated after the break, but it was still difficult to work out where a goal was going to come from and the couple beside me left a few minutes before the end of normal time. Then, in the 90th minute Brakes won a penalty and Hitchin had a player sent off for a second yellow card. Rob Thompson-Brown stepped up to put the ball decisively in the back of the net.

The concern then was that the game might go to penalties but Courtney Baker-Richardson scored in the 114th minute, an excellent goal that looped into the top corner of the net.

It still required a great save from Tony Breeden and a Hitchin failure to take advantage of an open goal before the celebrations could begin.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Pilgrimage in vain

A large number of Banbury supporters came up the M40 this afternoon to see their team play at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium, boosting the crowd to over 800, but the Pilgrims went down 1-0.

In the first phase of the game attempts from Brakes were either off target or did not trouble the keeper. However, one shot come down off the crossbar and could well have gone in. Then, following a free kick, Jamie Hood found the back of the net for Leamington. He had an excellent game in defence as well.

A second goal eluded the Brakes, although they kept pressing. Banbury won two corners at the end of the game and could have scored from the second one.

At the end of the game the visiting support chanted 'You're going nowhere, we'll see you next year.' We shall see.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Well done Brakes!

Leamington went through to the final of the Birmingham Senior Cup, beating a strong Walsall side 2-1 at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium tonight. It was an excellent match with some good flowing football from both sides.

Brakes went down 0-1 in the first half with Tony Breeden stranded outside his goal. That remained the score with five minutes to go, although Brakes had been fighting hard, having seen the ball come off the woodwork and cleared off the line. Then we equalised through Obeng who had been tormenting the Saddlers throughout the game and Jack Edwards made it 2-1 in the dying minutes.

Attendance 268 plus two dogs.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The old five

Leamington completed a clinical 5-0 demolition of Dunstable Town at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium this afternoon. Unfortunately, Chippenham beat Merthyr 3-1 to maintain their lead at the top of the table.

An early stinging shot from the visitors tested Tony Breeden who made a good save at the expense of a corner. The antics of young visiting keeper Jack Smith drew shouts of 'Tony Breeden' from the crowd as he played outside of his area.

Courtney Baker-Richardson opened the scoring with a shot that looked as it might have been a cross, but it found the back of the net. Brakes were then awarded a penalty calmly dispatched by Rob Thompson-Brown. An own goal by hapless Dunstable No. 3 Gedeon Okito then made it 3-0 before the break.

An error by the keeper allowed Jack Edwards to make it 4-0 into an empty net. A shot from distance by Richard Taundry from distance that scythed along the ground then made it 5-0.

Jamie Hood put in some excellent defensive work and new signing Kurtis Revan put in some excellent passes when he came on as a substitute.

When Dunstable's Harry Bean had to go off after a coughing fit his replacement did not look at all keen to come on. Dunstable had only brought three substitutes and it was joked that it was the coach driver.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Job done

Leamington consolidated their hold on second place in the Southern Premier League with a workmanlike 2-0 victory over St. Neots Town at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium this afternoon. Merthyr Tydfil are three points behind the Brakes and have played two more games. Chippenham maintained their seven point lead with a 1-0 win.

Leamington dominated the opening phase of the first half and created a number of chances, but they were all off target, although the strong wind didn't help. Obeng was particularly wasteful when one on one with the Tango keeper, putting the ball well wide. The visitors came into the game more towards the end of the half and there were fears of them taking the lead.

Nerves were settled early in the second half when a good cross from Connnor Gudger allowed Jack Edwards to head the ball into the net. A great strike from distance by Gregory provided the second goal.

Brakes remained in control of the game, but did not come that close to scoring a third. Credit to the referee for booking Fortnam-Tomlinson for simulation.

Attendance was 582 and one dog.