Brakes produced an accomplished away performance to come away with the points from a tricky trip to old friends Merthyr Town, hoisting themselves right back into contention in the top five in the process, writes Paul Edwards.
A goal in each half sealed the deal for Paul Holleran’s side, who have accelerated up the table in the three weeks since the disappointing home defeat to Hitchin Town courtesy of five wins and a draw.
The hosts were in good spirits themselves having beaten second-placed Chippenham in their previous match but found themselves behind early on in this contest.
Ben Mackey had already tested Martyrs keeper Glyn Garner with a low drive from the edge of the box which the experienced keeper claimed at the second attempt.
However, Garner was powerless to prevent Jack Edwards from opening the scoring in the 13th minute, the midfielder rising in front of Rhys Baggridge to thump home a close-range header from Sam Austin’s corner for his ninth goal of the season.
The home side had put pressure on the Leamington rearguard prior to the goal, Ashley Evans seeing a shot travel wide with the aid of a deflection, while after the concession, Jarrad Wright’s driving run through the centre ended with a shot that was comfortably held by Tony Breeden.
The hosts did come close early in the second half when Ian Traylor’s free-kick froms wide on the left struck the near post with nobody in a white shirt able to get a telling touch in the ensuing goalmouth scramble and Breeden bravely throwing himself into the melee to retrieve the ball.
Adam Davies later struck the upright with a shot from the edge of the box that took a slight deflection, but this was as close as the home side came to scoring.
Austin and Courtney Baker-Richardson were involved in many of Leamington’s best moves and the two combined for the striker to hit a shot from the edge of the box that was blocked.
His next effort, a well-struck volley from Richard Taundry’s right-wing free-kick, drew a smart save from Garner at his near post.
Edwards headed over the bar from Lee Moore’s right-wing corner and Baker-Richardson’s shot was held by Garner at his near post.
The in-form frontman finally got the better of the former Welsh international with 18 minutes remaining, latching on to a defence-splitting pass over the top of the Merthyr defence from substitute James Fry to coolly lob a delightful effort over the stranded custodian - his fourth goal for the club in little under a month since joining from Kettering Town.
Merthyr Town: Glyn Garner, Adam Davies, Scott Tancock, Ashley Evans, Gethin Jones, Rhys Baggridge, Corey Jenkins, Jarrad Wright, Kayne McLaggon (Ryan Prosser, 73), Keyon Reffell, Ian Traylor. Subs not used: James Bloom, Chris Hugh, Jaye Bowen, Jon Brown.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Magunda, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Lee Moore, Jack Edwards, Ben Mackey (James Fry, 65), Courtney Baker-Richardson (Ben George, 86), Sam Austin (Ross Oulton, 88). Subs not used: Jamie Tank, Eddie Caviezel-Cox.