Brackley 2 Leamington 1: Struggling Brakes are lacking the Will to win

James Fry takes a painful foot to the groin after tangling with Brackley's Ryan Lowe. Pictures: Steven Prouse
James Fry takes a painful foot to the groin after tangling with Brackley's Ryan Lowe. Pictures: Steven Prouse

Former Brakes striker Will Green came back to haunt his former club as Brackley won the battle of the Conference North strugglers, writes Paul Okey.

Green was used sparingly in his time at the New Windmill, but has responded to being given a starting role by Jon Brady, with his 22nd-minute opener taking his tally to four goals in five games.

New Brakes signing Delroy Gordon gets up to beat Will Green in the air.

New Brakes signing Delroy Gordon gets up to beat Will Green in the air.

His excellently executed header was one of the few pieces of quality in a first-half which showed just why these sides find themselves at the wrong end of the table.

With little invention in midfield, hopeful long balls were the order of the day, with strikers having to rely on scraps.

A mistake from Lee Chilton allowed Brackley the first sight of goal in the eighth minute, but debutant keeper Ross Atkins dealt comfortably with David Moyo’s scuffed shot.

At the other end, good strength from Moore allowed him to lay the ball off for an onrushing Danny Newton to slide a shot wide of the near post.

Newton then narrowly failed to connect with an enticing ball into the box from Moore before the hosts opened the scoring.

Brakes cleared the initial danger but Eddie Odhiambo was allowed too much time to pick out his cross and Green guided his header perfectly beyond the dive of Atkins.

A Ryan Rowe air-shot prevented Brackley doubling their lead after a well-worked free-kick from the byline had caught out the visiting defence, while keeper Dean Snedker made the first of a catalogue of fumbles from a Chilton 25-yard pot-shot.

The right wing looked Brakes’ best attacking avenue and Moore beat Tom Sharpe and sent over a cross which saw Dwayne Samuels get in a challenge to deny Newton. From the resulting corner, Jack Edwards bulleted his header over the bar.

A Moore effort brought about optimistic shouts for handball but Brakes’ vocal following were mostly reliant on making their own entertainment following a lacklustre opening 45 minutes from their side.

There was plenty more for them to cheer after the interval, with neat build-up play down the left almost creating a shooting chance for Newton.

Green charged down a James Fry clearance and fired the loose ball over the bar, while Stephan Morley’s header reached Moore in a promising position, but his shot lacked the precision to beat Snedker.

Mayo fired narrowly wide of the target just past the hour-mark, but his next involvement was much more clinical.

This time it was Samuels who was allowed too much time on the right flank to pick out his cross and Mayo rose to power his header past Atkins via the underside of the crossbar.

Moore drew an acrobatic one-handed save from Snedker, while Atkins produced a sprawling save from another Mayo effort to keep the visitors in the game.

Snedker had looked uncomfortable with anything from distance and a fumble from an Edwards shot was almost pounced on by Moore, with the ball eventually going out for a goal kick.

Newton showed good persistence on the right to make room for a cross, with Chilton wastefully volleying the centre over the bar.

The lively Newton then drove a dangerous cross along the six-yard box, but there was no one to apply the finishing touch.

Brakes were working up a head of steam and got the goal their pressing deserved when Lee Moore applied the finishing touch after Morley’s piledriver had been diverted into his path.

Snedker was lucky to gain a free-kick after minimum contact in the box produced another fumble, Mace lashing the loose ball home only after the referee’s whistle had spared the keeper’s blushes.

Edwards then had Brakes’ final chance to snatch a point but, arriving late at the far post, he could only guide his volley back to corner-takerJordan Goddard.

The defeat dropped Leamington to 18th in the Conference North and boss Paul Holleran admits he faces his “biggest challenge in 15 years” as he looks to arrest his side’s slide down the table.

Without a win in the league since October 4, Brakes face a tricky sequence of fixtures as Christmas approaches.

However, Holleran says he is still up for the fight.

“I’m bitterly disappointed,” he said. “It’s the first time this season they really let me and the supporters down.

“We didn’t get a grip and the performance wasn’t where it needs to be.

“There’s a lack of confidence but I said to the players that it’s me who takes the flak and responsibility.

“Three of four players felt a little sorry for themselves.

“But when the fans travel like they do, I’m not going to stand for that.

“It’s my biggest challenge in 15 years. But I’ve certainly got the appetite and I still feel that we are better than what the league table shows.”

Brackley Town: Dean Snedker, Dwayne Samuels, Chris Carruthers, Eddie Odhiambo, Tom Sharpe, Ryan Austin, Eric Odhiambo, Sam Whittall (Greg Kaziboni, 88), Ryan Rowe, Will Green, David Moyo. Subs not used: Michael Built, Joe Curtis, Billy Turley, Connor Waldon.

BRAKES: Ross Atkins, James Fry, Stephan Morley, Joe Magunda (Jordan Goddard, 58), Delroy Gordon, James Mace, Lee Moore, Jack Edwards, Stefan Moore, Danny Newton, Lee Chilton (Aron Wint, 79). Subs not used: Matt Dodd, Luke Connolly, Connal Trueman.