Brakes negotiated a tricky hurdle in the shape of in-form Redditch United to make further progress in the Birmingham Senior Cup, writes Paul Edwards.
With the awful weather and Champions League football on television, it was not surprising that only 171 were in attendance for this game, but those who chose to stay indoors missed an entertaining encounter.
Paul Holleran handed Liam Maher his debut and the night got off to a mixed start for the youngster, who was picking the ball out of the net with three minutes played.
Jermaine Hylton charged towards the penalty area unopposed and, although Maher made a fine stop to prevent the initial shot from going in, he was powerless to prevent Hylton poking home the rebound to give the visitors the lead.
To his credit, the former Walsall keeper did not let this affect him and made a fine stop to prevent former Brake Dior Angus from doubling the advantage.
With Lee Chilton and Matt Dodd operating on opposite sides of the pitch to normal, the hosts began to generate some forward momentum of their own and Chilton played the ball in from the right to enable Danny Newton to neatly sidestep a challenge and fire past Sam Hornby to level things up in the 11th minute.
Maher made another good save down low to his left to keep Redditch out as they looked for an immediate response, but he was indebted to a team-mate on the line as Simeon Maye’s downward header from a corner looked destined for the net.
Instead, it was Leamington who moved in front in the 25th minute, referee Grant Taylor awarding a somewhat dubious penalty after Jordan Liburd sent Matt Dodd stumbling as the two tore after a pass up the left. Dodd stayed on his feet but the spot-kick was awarded and he calmly slotted home his fifth goal of the season.
A superbly timed challenge from Stuart Pierpoint halted a dangerous run in from the left by Hylton as the game continued to flow from end to end.
However, Redditch were level in the 38th minute when Ashley Sammons fired a free-kick through a gap in the wall.
Newton tested Hornby with a skidding 30-yard drive that the goalkeeper pushed away, but he was powerless to prevent Leamington from going in front in first-half injury time, Brakes skipper Stephan Morley stepping up to curl a fantastic free-kick into the top corner from distance.
Newton forced Hornby into another save early in the second half, while Maher pushed an effort around the post as Redditch searched for an equaliser.
The final word was Newton’s, though, as he charged in from the left to thrash a shot past Hornby that the keeper could only help into the net off the underside of the bar.
With a two-goal cushion Brakes began to play with far more freedom. Dodd’s run and shot forced Hornby into another stop at his near post and the Reds goalkeeper made a very good save to deny Newton his hat-trick.
With progress assured, James Husband entered proceedings to rapturous applause with little over ten minutes left to move just two games away from the 300-appearance milestone.
Brakes: Liam Maher, Luke Connolly, Stephan Morley , Joe Magunda (Lee Moore, 73), Stuart Pierpoint, Jamie Tank, Aron Wint, Jack Edwards, Danny Newton (James Husband, 79), Lee Chilton (Matt Warner, 88), Matt Dodd. Subs not used: 16 Martyn Naylor, Matthew Hill
Redditch United: Sam Hornby, Jordan Liburd, Calum Flanagan, Liam Spink (Cameron Young, 88), Jamie Mutton, Daniel Scarr, Dior Angus, Simeon Maye, Jermaine Hylton, Ashley Sammons, George Carline. Subs not used: Joel Caines, Leavi Oshungbure, Jordan Jones, David Bridgewater.