Leamington eased to a comfortable victory on Saturday, the margin of which seemed scarcely possible after a pulsating first half which had seen the visitors boast the better of the chances, writes Paul Okey.
Hyde hit the post as early as the third minute, with Josh Brizell allowed to advance unchecked after picking up a short corner and less than 60 seconds later it was the hosts’ turn to threaten with Lee Chilton flashing the ball across the face of goal after a clever switch of play from Danny Newton.
Stuart Pierpoint snuffed out an opening for Ten Bentham and in what was to become a feature of the opening 35 minutes, Leamington quickly countered with Lee Chilton once again involved. However, the move came to nothing.
Newton was denied a certain goal by a last-ditch challenge from a Tigers defender, while a terrible backpass at the other end from Stephan Morley left Neil Collett and Bentham challenging for a high ball on the edge of the box, with the striker’s header drifting narrowly past the post.
In a breathless opening, Matt Dodd worked his way to the byeline before driving the ball across goal for Stefan Moore at the back post. The striker had time to pick his spot, but with the angle against him, he rattled the post.
Jamie Tank put his body on the line to block a Connor Hughes shot after a bout of pinball in the Leamington box and Bentham once again got the better of Collett in an aerial challenge, only for the keeper to fling himself across goal and deny the striker from the loose ball.
Newton got his bearings wrong with a header when well placed, while Moore got the ball stuck under his feet after a clever piece of play from his strike partner looked to have released him on goal.
Newton then shot straight at keeper Billy O’Brien after neat interplay involving Chilton and Moore.
The pace slowed as half-time approached with the Tigers’ Luke Giverin among those to see yellow as the game turned from frantic to fractious, a misdemeanour which would have game-changing consequences later on.
Brakes were the first to show after the interval with Goddard shooting wildly off-target after working his way across the area and Dodd having an appeal for a penalty waved away after going down in the box.
They only had to wait until eight minutes into the half to get their opener, however, Moore calmly rounding the keeper and bisecting two defenders on the line with his shot after having been released by Newton.
Darcy O’Connor drew a sprawling save from Collett as Hyde targeted a quick response but their hopes of gaining anything from the fixture received a further setback when Giverin received a second yellow after a bodycheck on Dodd on the right flank.
It took little time for Brakes to make the extra man pay, with Newton ghosting in unmarked to send a textbook header past O’Brien from Goddard’s delivery.
Newton doubled his tally in the 68th minute, drilling in a shot from just inside the box which O’Brien could not keep out despite getting a strong hand to the ball.
Denied a chance to complete his hat-trick as manager Holleran took him off with the game against North Ferriby in mind, Newton then saw substitute Aron Wint complete the rout, heading home a Chilton cross.
BRAKES: Neil Collett, James Fry, Stephan Morley, Joe Magunda, Stuart Pierpoint, Jamie Tank, Matt Dodd (Aron Wint, 78), Jordan Goddard (Jack Edwards, 74), Stefan Moore, Danny Newton (Richard Batchelor, 75), Lee Chilton. Subs not used: James Mace, Lee Moore.
Hyde: Billy O’Brien, Josh Brizell , Adam Blakeman, Alex McQuade, Liam Chilvers, Luke Giverin, Connor Hughes, D’arcy O’Connor, Tom Bentham, Reece Gray (Steven Tames, 61), Louis Almond (Adam Thurston, 71). Subs not used: Ryan Masterton, George Riley, Kyle Brownhill.