Brakes turned in a performance full of grit, determination and resilience to edge past King’s Lynn at The Walks Stadium, writes Paul Edwards.
Ben Mackey’s 44th-minute strike proved the difference between the two sides in an entertaining, open affair with plenty of talking points, but the hosts will be very disappointed not to have taken something from the game.
Jacek Zielonka headed a right-wing cross just wide as the Linnets made a strong start to the game.
The same player directed a shot straight at Tony Breeden while Lee Smith saw his header held by the Brakes skipper.
David Bridges looked to be in with a great chance to open the scoring when he skipped past Breeden on the right-hand side of the penalty area but the midfielder was only able to clip the ball across goal and wide with no team-mate in the vicinity.
Smith then blasted another effort over the bar.
However, as the half wore on Leamington began to assert themselves on the game and stem the flow of chances for the hosts.
Rob Ogleby, making his first start in the league for over a month after injury, forged the first clear-cut opportunity for Paul Holleran’s side.
A purposeful run down the right wing saw him beat left-back Jordan Yong for pace before cutting into the area and drawing a good save from Lynn keeper Alex Street.
Zielonka screwed an effort badly wide for the home side, while Lee Chilton helped create another opening for the visitors when he beat Ryan Fryatt on the left before finding Mackey on the far side, the striker sidestepping his marker and forcing another good stop from Street.
Liam Hurst then drew another save from Breeden as King’s Lynn pushed forward again.
The only goal arrived almost on half -time.
James Mace’s header from Richard Taundry’s free-kick deflected behind for a corner from which Jack Edwards provided the assist, nodding on for Mackey to slide the ball home from close range.
Galvanised by having gained the advantage, Brakes came out for the second half on the front foot, Taundry firing in a free-kick from a central position that was saved by Street.
This never looked like a game where a single goal would win it and Gary Setchell’s side continued to ask questions of the Leamington defence. However, they came up against an impenetrable wall that was superbly marshalled by Breeden and Jamie Hood, in particular.
They also benefitted from a little good fortune that all aspiring teams seem to get as a King’s Lynn shot struck the post, the loose ball then being directed straight at Breeden.
The Leamington skipper then produced the save of the game to instinctively keep out Bridges’ first-time shot, with Brakes appealing in vain for a shove on stand-in left-back Taundry in the build-up.
The game was becoming an end-to-end affair, with Ben George’s cross evading the in-rushing Chilton by inches as it flashed across the six-yard box and Mackey the victim of a very tight offside decision as he was played in on goal.
Another good run from Chilton forced a Leamington corner, from which Joe Magunda’s shot was deflected just wide, but some last-ditch defending was required at the other end as white shirts threw themselves into blocks to further frustrate the home side’s quest for an equaliser.
Magunda fluffed a great opportunity to make the closing stages more comfortable for his side when he snatched at his shot from substitute Ross Oulton’s cross, the ball bobbling harmlessly behind.
Mackey latched on to a great forward pass from Chilton on the left but the angle was against him as he tried to clip the ball past Street and the keeper saved easily.
Hurst’s skidding low drive from distance was saved as the hosts piled on late pressure and King’s Lynn penalty shouts were waved away after Lee Stevenson’s header hit the outstretched arm of Oulton.
A late Liam Hurst shot beat Breeden but looped over the bar to leave Leamington celebrating three very hard-earned points that keep them a whisker in front of Poole Town at the head of the table.
King’s Lynn Town: Alex Street, Ryan Fryatt, Jordan Yong, Kern Miller, Sam Gaughran, David Bridges (Jack Friend, 67), Michael Clunan, Liam Hurst, Lee Smith, Lee Stevenson, Jacek Zielonska (Dylan Edge, 67). Subs not used: Matthew Castellan, Liam Fryatt, Joe Simpson.
Brakes: Tony Breeden , Ben George, Richard Taundry, Joe Magunda, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Rob Ogleby (Ross Oulton, 75), Jack Edwards, Ben Mackey (Will Green, 83), Lee Chilton, Lee Moore. Subs not used: James Fry, Jamie Tank, Eddie Caviezel-Cox