Breeden elevates play-off final save to number one

Tony Breeden is congratulated by Ahmed Obeng after the final whistle. Pictures: Morris Troughton
Tony Breeden is congratulated by Ahmed Obeng after the final whistle. Pictures: Morris Troughton

Leamington keeper Tony Breeden was in no doubt his save from Lucas Kirkpatrick in the final minute of extra-time was the best of his career.

Kirkpatrick’s firm header seemed destined for the back of the net until Breeden flung himself to his right to get a hand to the ball. Dan Webb then sent the rebound high and wide to confirm Brakes’ victory and the Leamington captain said the magnitude of the match elevated the save to the top of the pile.

Breeden is in the thick of the action as Paul Holleran is sent tumbling.

Breeden is in the thick of the action as Paul Holleran is sent tumbling.

“For the situation it has to be,” said Breeden whose croaky voice betrayed a night of celebration at the club. “To be fair, I’d been terrible all game so I had to do something right. I only had one save to make yesterday and one save to make on Wednesday (in the semi-final) and I’m happy with that.”

Brakes trailed for almost 80 minutes to Matt Lench’s opener but Breeden said the home side always confident they would prevail.

“You have to be. With five minutes left Hoody came over a Macey came over and said we’re still going to do it.

“It just shows the strength and character we’ve got at the club and I think the best two teams went up.”

With the likes of Stockport County, York City and at least one of Kidderminster and Salford City awaiting in the Conference North next season, pre-season cannot come soon enough for Breeden.

“I’ve had a little look (at the Conference North line-up) and I can’t wait.

“For everyone at the club it means so much after last year.

“Not being disrespectful but we’ve had to go to places like Kings Langley and Cirencester and play in front of 100 people there.

“Next season it will be crowds of 1500. It makes a massive difference.”

And after playing in front of a record Phillips 66 Community Stadium crowd of 2,102 on Bank Holiday Monday, Breeden says the appetite for football in the town was clear to see.

“It shows the potential of the club if we do well in the Conference, playing at home to the likes of Stockport and Salford City.”