Southern League rivals Chesham created all the headlines at the weekend but out of the media glare, Leamington quietly went about their business to return to the Southern Premier summit, writes Paul Okey.
With the smell of chickens wafting across the New Windmill, Saturday certainly lacked the romance of FA Cup first-round weekend but what the day lacked in glamour, Brakes more than made up for with graft as they ground out a valuable three points.
The home side’s doggedness was in evidence in the ninth minute when, following a miscue from Lee Chilton, Richard Taundry and then Jamie Hood were called on to clear off the line from Matt Liddiard and Ross Langworthy.
At the other end, Chilton was inches away from connecting with Taundry’s whipped in free-kick at the back post.
Playing into a strong wind, Leamington were struggling to get out of their half, with passes repeatedly going astray. However, for all the away side’s territorial advantage, they failed to unduly trouble Tony Breeden, with Ellis Dunton’s flashing drive the nearest they came.
Taundry was being given plenty of chances to find his range as the visitors conceded a succession of niggly free-kicks and from another just after the half-hour mark, Brakes almost produced a stunning opener. The initial dead ball was bundled out on the right flank and, from Taundry’s long throw, James Mace produced an acrobatic volley which looked destined for the corner of the net, only for Glyn Garner to produce a fabulous one-handed save to deny the defender.
Cirencester responded with a break down the right which ended with Breeden bundling Langworthy into touch.
Chilton was unable to direct a Ross Oulton cross on goal as Leamington began to ask more questions of their visitors.
And, in the 38th minute, Brakes found the all-important breakthrough.
A mistake from Shayne Anson allowed Lee Moore to take possession on half-way and he advanced down the left before laying the ball back to Taundry. The stand-in left-back then dinked a ball over the top of the defence where Joe Halsall - signed from Stratford Town the previous day - timed his run to perfection, chesting the ball down and stroking it past an exposed Garner in one movement.
With Moore finding space down the left, Leamington were now posing more of a threat and Mackey was just unable to take the midfielder’s ball in his stride as he advanced into the penalty area.
Mackey then rattled the base of the post, with Oulton’s follow-up blocked.
Despite the wind dying down after the break, both sides struggled to carve out chances, with Leamington starved of possession as Cirencester snapped up the second balls and the visitors lacking the creativity to unlock a resolute backline, again well-marshalled by Jamie Hood.
Edwards headed straight at Garner from a Taundry corner, while Breeden was at full stretch as Langworthy fired just past the post for the visitors.
Cirencester stepped up their efforts in the closing stages, with substitute Connor Thompson poking the ball just over the bar after a swift counter attack and Zak Kotwica driving in a shot which Breeden gathered comfortably.
Charlie Griffin’s header back across goal was claimed under his crossbar by the Brakes number one and as Cirencester continued to commit men forward, Brakes made them pay in injury time.
Substitutes Will Green and Rob Ogleby combined on half-way, with Ogleby committing the final defender before threading the ball across to the unmarked Chilton who calmly stroked the ball beyond Garner to make sure of the three points.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, James Fry, Richard Taundry, Joe Halsall, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Ross Outon, Jack Edwards, Ben Mackey (Will Green, 80), Lee Chilton, Lee Moore (Rob Ogleby, 84). Subs not used: Jamie Tank, Reece Mitchell, Martyn Naylor.
Cirencester Town: Glyn Garner, Shayne Anson, Ellis Dunton, Mark Pritchett, Brad Hooper, Leigh Henry , Matt Liddiard (Zak Kotwica, 79), Adam Connolly (Connor Thompson, 58), Charlie Griffin, Ollie Knight (Aiden Bennett 74), Ross Langworthy.