Brakes 2 Worcester City 2: Leamington are penned back by City and pay penalty as they are pegged back

Matt Dodd puts away the second of Brakes' two penalties against Worcester City. Pictures: Morris Troughton
Matt Dodd puts away the second of Brakes' two penalties against Worcester City. Pictures: Morris Troughton

After Matt Dodd’s penalty double had put them in control, a limp second-half display left Brakes lucky to escape with a point at the New Windmill, writes Paul Okey.

With two FA Cup meetings still fresh in the mind, the two sides served up a first-half short on entertainment and goalmouth action which somehow yielded three goals.

Penalty One: Stefan Moore is sent tumbling by Nathan Vaughan.

Penalty One: Stefan Moore is sent tumbling by Nathan Vaughan.

It took 35 minutes for either side to fashion a strike on goal but by that time Leamington were already 2-0 up.

Smart pressing on the right flank forced Tyler Weir to sell Nathan Vaughan short with a hurried backpass, allowing Stefan Moore to nip in. The striker pushed the ball around the former Brakes keeper but was sent crashing as Vaughan went to ground.

A penalty was the obvious conclusion with the only debate being as to whether it was a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Referee Andy Hendley took into account the covering defenders and the acute angle and deemed it a yellow, leaving Dodd to mete out further punishment by sending the reprieved keeper the wrong way from the spot.

In the 25th minute it was Dodd’s turn to hit the turf after being sandwiched in the box by two defenders.

This time, Vaughan dived the right way, but was still unable to lay a hand on Dodd’s spot-kick.

James Mace and Stuart Pierpoint had been under little pressure at the back, but sloppy play in midfield from the hosts allowed Worcester to mount their first period of sustained pressure.

Jacob Rowe glanced a header from a corner just wide when well placed, while Tristan Dunkley’s shot was parried away by Mats Morch before his defence tidied up the loose ball.

Patient build-up play from Brakes ended with Jack Edwards putting a header well wide of the target before Worcester gave themselves a lifeline in the 39th minute.

There seemed little danger when an aimless ball was lifted over the Brakes backline, but Jordan Murphy got in ahead of Morch to lob the keeper. The ball bounced up and hit the crossbar before bouncing out, but despite two defenders in close attendance, Murphy was the quickest to the rebound to poke home.

Lee Chilton came close to restoring the two-goal cushion after a superb first touch set up a shooting chance, but despite a fine connection, the shot was always rising over the bar.

Worcester emerged from the half-time break a much sharper outfit, with Daniel Nti forcing Morch into two relatively comfortable saves in quick succession.

Substitute Sean Geddes also tested Morch with a free-kick, but despite Brakes being penned back in their own half, chances were few and far between for the visitors.

Worcester manager Carl Heeley threw on the third of his substitutes, Nick Wright, with 20 minutes left, while Paul Holleran turned to Danny Newton in an attempt to provide support for the increasingly isolated Moore.

With the game petering out, the three points looked to be Brakes. However, they were struggling to look after the ball and a frenetic final eight minutes almost saw all the points escape from their grasp.

Stuart Pierpoint produced a goalsaving challenge to deny Mike Symons, while Joe Magunda took one for the team, bringing down Wright with Brakes outnumbered at the back as Worcester poured forward in search of an equaliser.

However, the resistance was broken in the 89th minute when Symons headed home George Williams’ excellent right-wing cross at the back post.

Jordan Goddard forced Vaughan into his first save of the game after threading a free-kick through the City wall, but the momentum was with the visitors.

It needed a superb clearing header from Stephan Morley to prevent Leamington falling behind from Jordan Murphy’s cross-shot and there was to be a further let-off from the corner when Nti’s header bounced over the bar with Morch beaten.

Brakes: Mats Morch, James Fry, Stephan Morley, Joe Magunda, Stuart Pierpoint, James Mace, Matt Dodd (Lee Moore, 89), Jordan Goddard, Stefan Moore, Jack Edwards (Danny Newton, 74), Lee Chilton. Subs not used: Aron Wint, David McNamee, Liam Maher.

Worcester City: Nathan Vaughan, George Williams, Tyler Weir, Graham Hutchinson, Jacob Rowe, Danny Jackman (Sean Geddes, 66), Tristan Dunkley (Mike Symons, 57), Ellis Deeney, Daniel Nti, Jordan Murphy, Connor Gater (Nick Wright, 71). Subs not used: Wayne Thomas, Michael Taylor.