There was nothing negative about Leamington’s performance on Saturday, despite again playing out a home draw against their Lincolnshire visitors, writes Paul Okey.
Accused of a lack of ambition by Boston manager Dennis Greene in the corresponding fixture last season, Brakes could have been out of sight inside the first 15 minutes.
Only poor fortune and a lack of composure when it mattered prevented them from gaining their just rewards from a positive opening and despite Boston finishing a thoroughly entertaining game in the ascendancy, only the most one-eyed of observers would say the hosts did not deserve at least a draw for their early enterprise.
With Mats Morch ruled out with a dislocated shoulder, Paul Holleran handed a debut to 18-year-old Birmingham City keeper Connal Trueman.
Jordan Goddard was also ruled out, with Lee Moore and Joe Magunda returning to the line-up and Danny Newton partnering Stefan Moore in a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation.
Following on from their defeat at Worcester City, Brakes were clearly up for this game from the off, with Magunda and Moore giving the visitors’ midfield little time to settle.
Just 67 seconds in, Newton rattled the inside of the post from 25 yards, with the faintest of touches from keeper Joel Dixon preventing Leamington getting off to the most perfect of starts.
Jamie Tank powered in a header from a Moore corner which hit the underside of the bar and bounced to safety while Stuart Pierpoint shot wildly over from the edge of the box after a free-kick was only half-cleared.
A clever ball across the face of goal from Magunda deserved better, with Stefan Moore picking up the pieces, only to lash his shot wide from a promising position.
Having somehow weathered the storm, Boston were then just a fingertip away from breaking the deadlock in the 18th minute, with Trueman throwing out a right hand to prevent Scott Garner’s far-post header crossing the line.
As Boston built up a head of steam, Tank cleared off the line from Carl Piergianni who was holding his head in his hands seconds later as Trueman dived full length to keep out his close-range header.
Stephan Morley was then caught in possession on the byeline by the pacy Kaine Felix who teed up Garner, but his sidefoot effort was also rising over the bar.
Garner was seeing plenty of the ball in the home box, powering a first-time volley over the bar, while Trueman had to be at his best to beat away a vicious 30-yard effort from Zak Mills.
Pierpoint picked up a bizarre booking after referee Michael D’Aguilar spotted his undershorts were white and ordered him to take them off, showing the centre-half a yellow card after he dropped his shorts and discarded the offending item by the tunnel.
The ever-willing Newton then fashioned a half-chance for himself, charging down a clearance and then beating Dixon to the high ball, only to see Mills get back to calmly clear the ball from underneath his own crossbar.
Dayle Southwell’s header caused an anxious moment for Trueman shortly after the restart, with the youngster at full-stretch to tip it around the post.
The game then had its first lull before Jack Edwards conjured a goal out of nothing, latching on to his own miscued header from Morley’s free-kick and driving the dropping ball past Butler and into the bottom corner of the net.
Newton had a great chance to double the advantage but he failed to get the best connection on his header and the ball hit Dixon, with Edwards latching on to the partial clearance and sending his shot wide of the target.
Boston had claims for a penalty waved away after Felix was brought down in the box long after the ball was gone, but they did not have long to rue their misfortune.
A Mills long throw caused consternation in the box and the ball fell to Southwell who, after a deft first touch produced an even defter second to backheel the ball over the line.
With 20 minutes remaining, the visitors sensed there was plenty of time to claim all three points and were almost gifted a second when a corner was diverted goalwards by Tank, only to be deflected into the grateful arms of Trueman.
Felix shot narrowly over the angle under pressure from Morley while Boston substitute Zeph Thomas rattled the crossbar after a lucky ricochet had presented him with a shooting chance inside the box.
However, despite Greene’s post-match claims to the contrary, it would have been harsh on Brakes had they not taken anything from a pulsating match in which they more than played their part.